Three Essays on the International Economics of Communist China

Three Essays on the International Economics of Communist China

Three Essays on the International Economics of Communist China

Three Essays on the International Economics of Communist China


C. F. Remer

The study of the international economics of Chinese Communism has been carried out with growing awareness of the grave problems of policy which are ultimately involved. The difficulties of contributing to the solution of these problems are in part the usual ones of finding and analyzing the facts and of honestly reporting the results. In the case of Communist China these difficulties are formidable; this is shown in practically every page of the essays.

There is, however, one difficulty in dealing with Communist China--and with Communism elsewhere--which is truly unusual. What is more, this difficulty goes to the very roots of the problem of policy. Since this difficulty is general, it has been thought best to deal with it in a general introduction.

This special difficulty is that of living up to the standards of fairness and justice which every student of the social sciences must accept if his conclusions are to be applicable to the real world and to be translatable into policy. Fairness and justice are terms which arouse the scorn of the Marxists. They are held to be bourgeois, social democratic, milk-and-water notions. At the same time the Chinese Communists hotly resent unfairness toward their own country. The evidence is to be found in any Communist account of the international relations of China during, say, the nineteenth century. But whatever Marxists may say or Chinese Communists assert, there is an obligation upon the student to be fair and just and reasonable even though the Chinese Communists make it difficult to live up to this obligation.

One reason for this difficulty lies in the attitude of the Chinese Communists toward the international relations of their country and the way they express themselves about those relations. In the first place they speak as from some moral or intellectual eminence. They reveal a loftiness and an assurance which would, in ordinary mortals, be regarded as self-righteousness. In the second place they speak as from an anti-"capitalist" camp or from a center of anti-"capitalist" strategy.

There is a third feature of the Chinese Communist attitude toward others which may be mentioned, though it is less general in importance than the other two, since it increases the difficulties here under consideration for the American student or for study carried on in this country. This is the continuous denunciation of the United States. This feature may be no more than Leninist bad manners adapted to the current international situation. In the 1920's, as anyone who remembers the May 30th incident or the Hong Kong strike can testify, the target of abuse was Great Britain as it was also in the early days of the Comintern. The damning of the United States, of Great Britain, or of any particular country, may be allowed for by the student without great difficulty. The piling up of unpleasant adjectives does not, of course, promote fairness and calmness of judgment on the part of those against whom the adjectives are directed, but it involves no more than a passing irritation or a temptation to reply with a sharp answer. After all the Chinese Communist regime is young and no doubt it has the energy and uncertainty of youth.

But the other features which have been pointed out, the assumption of superiority and the insistence upon hostility, must be taken more seriously. They run deeper than the . . .

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