The clandestine grouping of a dozen young Chinese intellectuals this month a century ago in Shanghai has magnified into an event of world historical significance. Beaming with the spirit of “nationalism” never seen before in the preceding several decades of the struggle of the people of China against foreign imperialist domination and the corrupt, oppressive imperial rulers at home, the secret group with ten odd delegates representing fifty founding members has today evolved into the world’s largest ruling communist party with 95 million members. Scholars and observers both within mainland China and internationally, as also in the mainstream global press, have been debating the century-long journey of the CPC offering differing perspectives and varying interpretations. While Marxist debates have critically looked at the CPC journey through the ideological lens, and in the process highlighted several crucial and pertinent issues, namely a) within China, scholars have emphasized on the importance of holding on to Marxism-Leninism and never to lose the connect between the Party and the masses (drawing lessons from the collapse of the Soviet Union); b) ideological discourse within the ranks of diverse Marxian schools of thought has been in the range of contrasting the revolutionary founding principles at the party's opening congress in July 1921 with the “missing” Chinese people’s struggle against neoliberal finance capital-led class oppression globally and against (the US) imperialist domination; c) last but not least, there is the CPC invented so-called “socialism with Chinese characteristics” theoretical formulation which some dismiss as nothing but falsifying the ruling party’s socialist credentials as also witnessed during the grand fireworks as part of the centenary celebrations on July 1 with focus on “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” as the central element in Xi’s “Chinese Dream” campaign. At the same time, in the mainstream international press, including here in India, the CPC completing a hundred years is being analyzed in terms of the growing personality cult and larger-than-life authoritarian style of Xi Jinping, the “great leader” on one hand, and the People's Republic of China’s growing ambition to become "imperial" power, on the other.
About the Speakers
Shyam Saran is a former Foreign Secretary of India and has served as Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Nuclear Affairs and Climate Change. After leaving government service in 2010, he has headed the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, a prestigious think tank focusing on economic issues (2011-2017) and was Chairman of the National Security Advisory Board under the National Security Council (2013-15). He is currently Life Trustee of India International Centre, Member of the Governing Council/Board of the Institute of Chinese Studies and Centre for Policy Research, a Trustee at the World Wildlife Fund (India) and Member of the Executive Council of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). He has recently published a book, How India Sees the World. Shyam Saran was awarded the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award, in 2011 for his contributions to civil service. In May 2019, he was conferred the Spring Order Gold and Silver Star by the Emperor of Japan for promoting India-Japan relations.
Lance Gore is Senior Research Fellow at the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore. His research interests and publications span a wide range of topics on China and East Asia, such as the Chinese Communist Party, industrial relations, elite politics, the People’s Liberation Army, Chinese environmental politics, the metallurgic and energy industries, public and private entrepreneurship in mainland China, economic bureaucracies, cadre performance assessment, local state economic behaviour. He previously taught at Bowdoin College and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University in the United States. He is the author of Chinese Communist Party and China’s Capitalist Revolution: The Political Impact of Market (Routledge 2011) and published widely in international journals such as Polity, The New Political Economy, The China Journal, Problems of Post-Communism, Journal of Contemporary China, Chinese Journal of Comparative Law, East Asia: An International Quarterly etc. He is also associate editor of China: An International Journal.
Manoranjan Mohanty is a founding member of the Institute of Chinese Studies, its former Chairperson, and currently its Emeritus Fellow. A former Professor of Political Science, University of Delhi, he is a social scientist, China scholar and a peace and human rights activist with theoretical as well as empirical research interest in the study of China, India and global transformation. He has done extensive research on modern China including the Chinese Revolution and the political economy of the People’s Republic and has done a number of national and international research projects leading to several edited volumes. Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty’s publication, China’s Transformation: The Success Story and the Success Trap (Sage: 2018) is based on a thirty-year study of China’s reforms with focus on Wuxi. He has also edited China at a Turning Point: Perspectives after the Nineteenth Party Congress (Pentagon Press: 2019).
Rana Mitter OBE FBA is Professor of the History and Politics of Modern China, and a Fellow of St Cross College at the University of Oxford. His books include China’s War with Japan: The Struggle for Survival, 1937-1945 (2013), which won the 2014 RUSI/Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature, and China’s Good War: How World War II is Creating a New Nationalism (2020). He won the 2020 Medlicott Medal from the Historical Association for Service to History. He is a regular presenter for BBC Radio in the UK.
About the Co-Hosts
Hemant Adlakha is Associate Professor of Chinese, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. He is also Vice chairperson and Honorary Fellow with the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi. His areas of research include political discourse in the PRC and modern Chinese Literature and Culture. He is a member, International Editorial Committee, International Society for Lu Xun Studies, Seoul (ROK). His articles have appeared in China Report, The Diplomat, Japan Times, Encyclopaedia of Race and Racism, 2nd Edition, Washington etc. His co-translation of Lu Xun’s prose poetry collection from Chinese into Hindi has been published by the NBT in November 2019.
Bhim Subba (蘇斌) is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad, Telangana, India and a Visiting Associate Fellow at Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi. He holds a PhD from the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Delhi, and an MA in Political Science from Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is a recipient of the Institute of Chinese Studies-Harvard Yenching Institute (ICS-HYI) China-India Doctoral Studies Fellowship; a Ford Student Fellowship; and a Confucius Institute Scholarship awarded by the PRC. His research interests are China studies, comparative political systems and international politics. He can be reached at email@example.com
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