How anti-China stories are concocted (updated)

The gossip-scoop formula of a few media outlets in a small number of former colonising countries seems to have developed a fondness for anti-China stories. We know well enough at a general level that they are based on selective misinformation, but recently two clear examples of how such a process functions came to light.

The first concerns a former employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong, who claimed to have been ‘tortured’ by ‘secret police’ (playing on an old anti-communist trope) while visiting Shenzhen. Actually, he was arrested for visiting a massage parlour and imprisoned for the standard period of time in China, before being released. You can find the story here and here, including video evidence.

The second concerns a convicted fraudster from China, who has already served time and is wanted for another fraud case. He skipped China on fake passports and turned up in Australia, where he is trying to pass himself off as a ‘spy’ who wants to ‘defect’, with inside information. Although I do not read Australian papers, you can bet that they are doing their best to tell another tall tale. You can find the whole story here, here and here.

Update: In regard to the bogus ‘spy’, who turned up in Australia recently, the spooks in that part of the world have decided that the man in question – Wang Liqiang – is at most ‘a bit player on the fringes of the espionage community’, and some have realised at last that the whole case is a ‘spy farce’.


A Forgotten History: East European Market Socialism

This article – ‘Socialism and the Market: The East European Experiment’ – is now in the final stages before publication in New Proposals, so I have removed the initial post and provide here the abstract:

This study reassesses a body of research that has largely been forgotten: Eastern European market socialism of the 1960s-1980s. It does with the objective of recovering important insights and also identifying problems that need to be addressed. Thus, the study begins with an overview of the practices of market socialism, which was pursued to varying degrees in the 1960s. While some (USSR, East Germany and Czechoslovakia) turned back to centrally planned economies in the 1970s, others (especially Yugoslavia and Hungary) pursued further reforms. This material provides the back for analysis of three theoretical breakthroughs and their attendant problems: the market as a neutral “economic mechanism,” as a crucial effort to detach a market economy from its assumed integral connection with a capitalist socio-economic system; the tensions between planning and market, where I seek a more dialectical formulation; and the ownership of the means of production, which risked ignoring the liberation of productive forces. Although there occasional references to Chinese practices and theory, a full study of a socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics is the subject of a follow-up article.

Keywords: market socialism; Eastern Europe; economic mechanism; planning and market; ownership of the means of production; liberation of productive forces.