The “economic miracle” of China began with a US President & the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) embracing each other in the early 1970’s for their own reasons. Richard Nixon in 1972 signed the Shanghai Communique, which set up Special Economic Zones (SEZ’s) in southern China– open to foreign investment & capitalist exploitation. In return, the US withdrew its troops from Taiwan in 1979, tacitly recognizing “One China,” while economically integrating the SEZ’s into US “sphere of influence.”
Partnering with China was seen in American politics as an open-minded & wise deterrent to the Soviet Union, and was well-received domestically. Richard Nixon’s meeting with Mao Tse Tung in February 1972 got him re-elected that November, by neutralizing the liberal Democrats– which was his overriding objective in all this. The global economic implications of Nixon’s signature trade agreement have lasted much longer, and reverberate with great force today. No one in bourgeois politics at the time anticipated this would start China on the road to becoming a 21st-century economic superpower.
From 1949 when Mao Tse Tung took power to 1972, mainland China did not exist in US diplomacy. Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan after the revolution, and was still recognized as the leader of China by the US until he died in 1975. In his 1972 trip, Nixon was also seeking leverage for ending the Vietnam War “victoriously & honorably,” by forging closer relations in order to create a rift between China & Vietnam, whom the CCP were supplying with matériel. This part of Nixon’s plan was completely misguided, and ended in 1973 with full US troop withdrawal from Indochina, then Watergate & resignation.
Chinese Communist leaders including Deng Xiaoping (below w/ Jimmy Carter) were eager to liquidate state ownership and re-introduce capitalism for themselves, as their Stalinist regime was in crisis and needed economic growth to stay in power. Those were the circumstances that led to US-Sino rapprochement in the 1970’s, which established China’s SEZ’s as “the world’s sweatshop.”
This “economic miracle” discarded the iron rice bowl social pact under Maoism, and condemned hundreds of millions of peasants to become super-exploited industrial workers. They and their families live a life of poverty & servitude. China’s SEZ’s have been turned into environmental wastelands– fouling land, air & water. Where’s the benefit, except for a few billionaires & a buffer-layer of bureaucrats?
The trade issues now being discussed by talking heads globally are all from the perspective of those in political power. For example, Huwawei and its monopoly of new 5G technology is the primary issue of importance to the US military-intelligence apparatus, meaning all of official American politics & the media. If the US no longer has its military advantage, due to outdated technology, then it loses its primary geo-political weapon– its military clout. The American workers & youth have no interest in CIA & Pentagon hegemony. In fact, we oppose the criminality of these institutions, and seek their exposure & dismantling.
In the same terms, the Chinese workers gain no benefit when their corrupt leaders & super-exploitative corporations become more powerful. In this “grand chessboard” of global politics, the workers of all nations are always the pawns who are sacrificed first, so the flag of royalty & nationality can live on through its glorious leaders. Occasionally, a lucky pawn can make it all the way to the other side and become something better, but usually not.
Strict censorship and ruthless police state measures are the rule-of-law in China. The Tiananmen Square massacre, 30 years earlier is a bloody historical reminder to the working class of the barbaric measures the ruling elite will impose, in order to stay in power. This reactionary filth must be met with fierce organized resistance from the working masses in overwhelming numbers. That is the only way the workers of China & America can prevent a trade war from become a world war.