Recently, a rare and heated public debate on the topic of “Communism” has been going on between the Chinese Communist Party’s official media and Chinese netizens (Internet users).
On September 21, 2015, the Chinese Communist Youth League Central Committee published an article titled “Confidently Hold High the Banner of Communism,” on its microblog and in its newspaper (China Youth Daily). The Youth League Central Committee (YLCC) also launched a microblog discussion on the topic, “We are the successors of communism.” Ren Zhiqiang, a well-known real estate developer in China, commented, “This slogan has deceived me for over ten years!” Many “50 Cents” began attacking Ren Zhiqiang verbally on the Internet ("50 Cents" are government hired Internet users who are paid to post pro-communist comments or pro-government comments; they are paid 50 Chinese cents for each post that is pro-communism).
On September 22, Ren Zhiqiang wrote a lengthy article elaborating on how ridiculous the concept of “a communist successor” is.
On September 23, the Chinese Communist Youth League Central Committee propaganda minister published another article on its official microblog, openly criticizing Mr. Ren for being against communist ideals. On the same day, Hu Xijin, the editor of Huanqiu (the Chinese edition of Global Times), posted a self-produced video program, “Communism Has Not Disappointed Our Nation.” On the night of September 23, Ren Zhiqiang once again published another lengthy microblog, “Do not let the Chinese Communist Youth League Central Committee use ignorance to deceive the younger generation. Do not let (China’s) reform and opening policy return to the pre-reform period. I do not care if other people criticize me, but the Youth League Central Committee must not use ignorance to deceive society.”
More people started to post comments supporting Mr. Ren and ridiculing the YLCC propaganda minister and Huanqiu editor Hu Xijin. A heated debate on communism developed online between the Chinese authorities and ordinary Chinese, which is very rare in the history of the People’s Republic of China.
Sources: China Digital Times, September 23, 2015; China Youth Daily, September 21, 2015; Sina, September 24, 2015’ and Guancha.cn, September 23, 2015