Class: the new dirty word


Chairman Mao urged the Chinese people to never forget class struggle. But they not only forgot, they stopped using the word at all. Louisa and Graeme talk to Wanning Sun from the University of Technology, Sydney and and Yingjie Guo from Sydney University about how class has become a dirty word in China. So much for the workers, peasants and soldiers; in today's China, everyone wants to be middle class, even the new rich. Class anxiety is rife as class mobility is ever harder as traditional routes of advancement shut down. And class is at the heart of one of the Communist party's biggest conundrums: how to square its official Marxist-Leninist ideology with the consumption-centered society that's emerging on the ground. Will President Xi Jinping, who often finds himself compared to Mao, ever be tempted to revisit this part of the Chairman's legacy?

Image credit: Dickson Phua, Flickr

Updated:  6 October 2016/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team