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Is China Repeating The Soviet Union’s Economic Mistakes?

China Falun Gong

Are China’s current economic policies a replay of what the Soviet Union attempted to do so many years ago, culminating in its collapse and break-up in 1991? A Falun Gong affiliated paper Vision Times, in an article titled “Communist Party Newspaper Devotes Full Page To Declaring Poverty; History Repeats Itself After Decades,” claims this is precisely the case.

Falun Gong is a spiritual group founded in China which was later banned by the Communist Party in 1999. Its leader Li Hongzhi now lives in the US.

The Vision Times article points to the shift towards Stalinist policies in the former USSR during the Brezhnev era. It says this parallels China’s recent leftward political shifts under Xi Jinping, which have raised concerns about a potential resurgence of Cultural Revolution-like policies.

These shifts often lead to tighter political control and increased ideological campaigns, affecting economic stability and growth.

Economic Challenges and Global Goals

The Soviet Union faced significant economic problems, such as widespread shortage of basic goods largely due to its focus on heavy industry, military spending and austerity. The article suggests that China is experiencing similar issues today, with the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily, promoting austerity measures as a solution to economic difficulties.

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Vision Times quoted two articles from The People’s Daily: one titled “Governments at all levels must get used to living a tight life”, and the other “Implementing multiple measures to tighten budgets”. Both articles reflected China’s broader economic challenges including a slowing economy, rising debt levels, and the need for fiscal discipline.

The first article discussed the Chinese government’s efforts to manage its finances more effectively. In said that in response to tight financial conditions, the government is focusing on careful spending. All government departments are being urged to reduce expenses and save money. This initiative is part of a long-term plan to ensure financial stability and economic growth.

The second article outlined specific strategies to enforce financial discipline. These include enhancing budget oversight, controlling regular expenditures such as official vehicle use and meeting costs, and improving the efficiency of government procurement processes.

By implementing these measures, the government hoped to prevent waste and ensure that public funds are used effectively. This aligns with broader fiscal reforms aimed at promoting high-quality economic development and better serving the needs of the people.

Vision Times argues that when the state-run media starts promoting austerity, it’s a sign that the economic situation is not good and likely to deteriorate. One waits to see if the push for austerity becomes a national campaign.