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The Yellow Book Of Global Socialism

This article presents several aspects of the Yellow Book of Global Socialism. The book is produced by the Coordination Team of the Tracking Study of International Socialism and is an important publication of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. This article presents the background of the CCP’s renewed research on socialism around the world, the purpose, the major research topics, and the implications for the CCP today.

1, Background

The Yellow Book of Global Socialism is an annual publication of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), which is a key policy advising body of the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

According to the introduction published on its website, CASS “was commissioned by relevant government agencies to actively research important theoretical and pragmatic issues with overall significance for the country’s socioeconomic development.”

The Yellow Book was first published in 2006, under the title Year 2005: Tracking Study of Global Socialism – Listening to the new tides at a low ebb (vol 2).

Li Shenming, CASS’s Vice President and Director of the International Socialism Research Center, spoke about the background of the Yellow Book at the release ceremony on May 11, 2006:

After dramatic changes in the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries, the international socialist movement is at a low ebb. In 1994, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCCCP), looking into the distant future, pointed out that we must not give up studying the main topics of socialism. According to an important directive from the CCCCP, the CCCCP’s Publicity Department established the Coordination Team for the Tracking Study of Socialism Overseas, staffed by CASS and participated in by the CCCCP’s International Liaison Department, the CCCCP’s Central Compilation & Translation Bureau, Xinhua News Agency, the CCCCP’s Party School, and the State Education Commission.” [1]

The Yellow Book is an annual compilation of important findings from their research.

2, Purpose

Crises faced by the CCP in the early 1990s triggered research on socialism around the world. Domestically, the slaughter of students on June 4th in Tiananmen Square at the Student’s Democracy Movement in 1989 seriously undermined the CCP’s legitimacy as a ruling party. Internationally, the collapse of the Soviet Union as well as regime changes in former Eastern European countries made Beijing a lonely communist giant in a hostile environment. These studies of socialism aimed to provide a short-term and long-term domestic and international survival strategies, as Li makes clear in his speeches.

“Economic globalization and the new high-tech revolution can only create even better conditions and a foundation in society that will accelerate the pace of a different kind of globalization superseding the capitalist system. Thereby enabling the ideology of socialism, its theories, movements, and system to step out of the shadows on a global scale and upsurge, facilitating this historical process of capitalism being replaced with a higher-level social form. … We deeply understand that Socialism is so far the most profound social reform in human history. This final replacement with another type of globalization cannot be accomplished in a single stroke. Struggle – failure – renewed struggle; climax – ebb– and climax, this is a necessary process for the globalization of Socialism to replace that of capitalism. We are greatly determined and are convinced in the success of Communist ideology and Socialism with Chinese characteristic.” [2]

“The current unreasonable and unfair political and economic order can only temporarily sustain the ‘prosperous,’ ‘affluent,’ and extravagant means of production and style of living that is dominated by a few people and a few western powers. Yet it has further intensified the gap between rich in the North and poor in the South. We will coexist with the capitalist world for a relatively long period of time. We ought to firmly keep to our principles and at the same time keep our strategy flexible. Through our tracking study of socialism around the world, we ought to use vivid and effective data to reveal an objective law of historical development – the 21st century will see a renaissance of socialism.” [3]

The Chinese word weiji (危机) carries the meaning of both crisis and opportunity. Based on the speeches above, Li Shenming believes the CCP can turn the crisis into an opportunity for the global rise of Communism.

3, Main Topics under Study

According to news reports and the published Yellow Books, the tracking study of overseas Socialism concentrates on the following topics: crises faced by the capitalist world; lessons learned from the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries; the “China model” as a proof for Marxism and symbol of the rise of global Socialism; global communist/socialist movement; counter strategies to western societies’ tactics to democratize China.


A, Capitalism is Facing Serious Crises

The 2006 Yellow Book of Global Socialism points out that the fundamental conflict of capitalism has gradually intensified in the economic globalization and information technology revolution.

“In today’s world, with the U.S.-led information technology revolution, the number of laborers employed by capitalists grows less and less yet product price and quality grow more and more competitive. This has enabled international monopolies to continuously earn excess profits around the world.”

“On the other hand, with the widespread use of the Internet, international capital can be separated from the actual economy and production cycles. In financial markets, a few clicks of the mouse can result in an influx of capital from another country or third party individual and a corresponding geometric growth in their wealth.”

“The globalization of product markets and the high degree of monopolization in international financial markets have contributed to this basic phenomenon of the poor growing even poorer, and the rich growing ever richer.”

“The deepening of economic globalization and further development of the high-tech revolution may intensify the fundamental conflict of capitalism – the conflict between the socialization of production and private ownership of means of production in the global scope. It also triggers other conflicts: the conflict between production and consumption, between monopolistic capitalist class and working class, between Western developed countries and the vast majority of Third World countries, as well as conflicts among developed countries. These conflicts are combined with global issues such as deterioration of ecological environment.”

“These conflicts and issues cannot be solved within the framework of the capitalist system. Strengthening hegemony and reinforcing unilateral methods only exacerbate the problems.” [4]

B, Lessons from Former Soviet Union and Eastern European Countries

According to Li, the tracking study of overseas Socialism should focus on “reforms, revolutionary attempts, and socialist construction by existing socialist countries and their ruling Communist Parties after the dramatic changes in the former Soviet Union and former Eastern European countries; theoretical probes, reconstruction and policy adjustments of Communist Parties in western developed countries, the former Soviet Union and former Eastern European countries, and Third World countries in response to the political impact.” [5]

Here is an incomplete list of article titles published in Yellow Books in 2006 and 2007:

From 2006 Yellow Book of Global Socialism:

On Maintaining the Advanced Nature of the CCP, Lessons Learned from the Loss of Ruling Status by Soviet Communists

“Stay Vigilant in Peace Time – Historic Lessons Learned from the Disintegration of Soviet Communism” –  Narration of    an 8-Episode Education Referential Documentary TV Series

“Stay Vigilant in Peace Time – Historic Lessons Learned from the Disintegration of Soviet Communism” is a good film;

Deeply Analyze the Historic Lessons Learned from the Soviet Union’s Disintegration, Further Strengthen the Construction of the Advanced Nature of the CCP – Excerpts of Discussions after Watching “Stay Vigilant in Peace Time – Historic Lessons Learned from the Disintegration of Soviet Communism” Education Reference Documentary by All Staffers of CASS International Socialism Research Center

Regret and Retrospect – New Understandings of the Reform Process by Witnesses of Soviet Disintegration

Putin’s Assessment of the History of the Soviet Union and its Disintegration

On the Determining Factor in the Disintegration of the Soviet Union

From 2007 Yellow Book of Global Socialism:

Painful Lessons from the Disintegration of the Former Soviet Union

Probing the Causes of the Disintegration of the Former Soviet Union

What’s the Fundamental Cause of the Disintegration of the Former Soviet Union – Recommending Five Symposium Articles on “Stay Vigilant in Peace Time – Historic Lessons Learned from the Disintegration of Soviet Communism”, an 8-Episode Education Reference Documentary TV Series

On the Disintegration of the Former Soviet Union and China’s “Reform and Opening up”

Disintegration is Not Failure of the Soviets, But the Result of Abandoning the Soviet Regime Founded by Lenin

Political Lessons from the Failure of Soviet Communism – an Analysis of the Bankruptcy of Gorbachev’s Democratic Socialism

Retrospective on the Disintegration of the Soviet Union – Interviews of Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kryuchkov, former Chairman of the KGB

Was the Disintegration of the Soviet Union Inevitable for the Soviet Model?

An Erroneous Historical View is the Ideological Root Cause of Soviet Communism’s Suicide

Decay of Ideology is the Most Important Cause of the Disintegration of the Soviet Union

C, Use “China Model” to Glorify Marxism and Symbolize the Rise of World Socialism

The tracking studies highlight China’s economic development as the symbol for the rise of an international socialist movement. The “China model” was repeatedly quoted by scholars at CASS as an application of Marxism and achievement of Socialism with “Chinese characteristics.”

“The experiences have also proved that fundamental principles of Marxism can show strong vitality only by adapting them into the specific situations of each country. The practice of Socialism with Chinese characteristics created by our 30 years of reform and opening is testament to this point. When the theory is correct, the Party will be determinant, the policy will be correct, the thoughts will be unitized, the economy will develop, and the society will be stabilized. We can only fulfill the sacred mission and lofty duties of the current generation of Communists by continuously liberating our thoughts, seeking truth from facts, and advancing with the times.”

– Li Shenming

“In today’s China, we can confidently say that we have created a miracle of socio-economic development that is significantly better than capitalism. China is a large country backward in economy and culture. However, by combining the fundamental principles of Marxism with our own situation, we’ve created a new society and new system, paving a wide path for liberating social productivity.”

                                                             – Zheng Keyang, former Director of Office of Central Policy Research and Advisor for the International Socialism Research Center(CASS)

“Since the dramatic changes in the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries in the 1990s, the Western world has formed a mindset: you must accept capitalism whether you like it or not. It has become a popular view and sentiment among the West that capitalism cannot be surpassed. However, modern China, guided by Marxism and marked by Socialism with Chinese characteristics, has changed the world’s view with the striking example of its rapid development.”

– Hou Huiqing, Vice Dean, School of Marxism Research (CASS)

“In the 21st century, the nation of China will achieve a renaissance on the path of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. The renaissance of Chinese Socialism will surely promote a renaissance of international Socialism.”

– Wang Liqiang, Research Fellow, Scientific Research Bureau (CASS) [6]

D,Global Socialist/Communist Movement

According to Li, the tracking study of international Socialism should also focus on “the dissemination, debates, and development of Marxism and Scientific Socialism, the burgeoning of other left wing ideologies, and left wing movements of labors, farmers, and students in capitalist countries.” [7]

The tracking study has been following the Marxist and Socialist movement in Western societies. “Ever since the mid1990s, waves of ‘Marx zeal’ have quietly emerged in developed Western countries. Left wing scholars have organized multiple large scale international academic conferences, such as several Marx conferences held in Paris, an International Conference Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the Publication of The Communist Manifesto, several International Socialist Scholars conventions in New York, a Marxism Conference in 2000, and ‘96 London Marx Conference in the UK. The scale of each of the conferences is unprecedented with at least 1,000 attendees, and sometimes as many as 6,000. …. At the end of 1999, before the arrival of the new Millennium, polls by major Western media including the British Broadcasting Company show that Karl Marx is the greatest thinker of the millennium. Reuters once reported that the two books – The Communist Manifesto and Capital – have impacted the political and economic ideology of the capitalist world in a profound way.”

“Dramatic changes in the former Soviet Union and Eastern European countries have impacted the Communist parties in developing countries, though less than the Communist parties in developed countries. In some developing countries, the Communist Party becomes ever stronger. One example is the Party of India (CPI). … In 1988, CPI had 465,000 members. Currently the membership has grown to over 80,000, with CPI becoming the third largest party in the Congress. … Another example is the South African Communist Party (SACP). SACP was established in 1921. Ever since the end of apartheid in the early 1990s, it has changed from an illegal organization to a legal political party and from an opposition party to a ruling party. Today the membership of SACP has grown from 2,000 to more than 80,000. It has a good relationship with the African National Congress of South Africa (ANCSA) and with some party officials holding positions in the highest leadership of the ANCSA, SACP is playing bigger and bigger role in South Africa’s politics.” [8]

E, Counter Strategy to Western Societies’ Tactics to Democratize China

The 2006 Yellow Book of Global Socialism pointed out that the United States’ 21stcentury new national security strategy posed the biggest threat to China’s economic security.

“The Bush administration’s 21st century new national security strategy has made a goal of seeking global economic and military hegemony, by adopting the principle of pre-emptive containment of the rise of international rivals.”

“Under the complex international situation after the Iraq war, the U.S. will advance its new national security strategy by waging more ‘soft warfare’ in areas of politics, economy, finance, and diplomacy, so as to cooperate with its global military expansion.”

“China should pay special attention to the real threat of the U.S.’s ‘soft war’, because ‘it can circumvent the debates and approval from Congress and wage an undeclared war when rivals are totally unaware.’” [9]

At the same time, the tracking studies have paid great attention to the “color revolutions”, nonviolent revolutions that protested against corrupt and/or authoritarian governments and advocated democracy and national independence in Central and Eastern Europe. In particular, the CCP is wary of the influence of the United States. The 2006 Yellow Book of Global Socialism has a special section on the studies of “color revolutions.”

A list of the titles of the articles in this issue:

U.S. Hegemony and “Color Revolutions”

“Color Revolution” in the Commonwealth of Independent States and U.S.-Russian Strategies

The Role of the European Union in “Color Revolutions” and Two Modes of Promoting Democracy

The Essence of U.S. Transformational Diplomacy is to Contain Developing Countries and China in Particular – On Rice’s Transformational Diplomacy

How is Belarus Able to Resist “Color Revolution?”

4, Implications

Although the domestic and international environment is different from that of the early 1990s, the CCP is facing continued crises: imbalances in economic development, corruption of government officials, social unrest, international pressure before the Olympic Games, etc. These crises threaten its legitimacy to rule.

So the Chinese government relies on the CASS, which, according to its website:
“has provided a theoretical basis and policy advice for strategic decision making in the country’s reform, opening up, and economic construction. The research has offered philosophical guidance and implementation schemes for social development and construction of democracy and rule of law.” [10]

The tracking study of international Socialism and the publication of the Yellow Book of Global Socialism have become part of the CCP’s integrated strategy to handle the current waves of crises. They are theoretical foundations for Beijing’s operations to strengthen its hold on the government.

[1] Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, May 11, 2006
[2] Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, May 22, 2006
[3] Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, May 11, 2006
[4] China News Services, June 8, 2007
[5] Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, May 11, 2006
[6] Guangming Daily, March 21, 2008
[7] Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, May 11, 2006
[8] Qiushi, March 26, 2007
[9] China News Services, May 11, 2006
[10] Chinese Academy of Social Sciences