The descendants of the elites destroyed by Mao have become much richer than ordinary Chinese

The children and families of leaders who were or were not purged during Mao’s period are better off than the average Chinese population.

The children and families of leaders who were or were not purged during Mao's period are better off than the average Chinese population.

©Greg Baker/AFP

Chinese Sociology

According to a study by an international group of researchers, the descendants of the elites destroyed by Mao are now much wealthier and have a better level of education than the average Chinese population and even than some members of the Chinese Communist Party.

Atlantico: The descendants of the elites who were victims of Mao’s purge or famine flourished. According to a study by an international group of researchers, the descendants of the elites destroyed by Mao are now much richer and have a better education level than the average Chinese population and even some members of the Chinese Communist Party. How can they distinguish this? What criteria did they use to conduct this study within the Chinese population?

Emmanuel Veron: It is structural in the Chinese party state system that children, and more broadly, families of leaders who have been purged or not, are better off than the average Chinese. Moreover, the system as created maintains this strong gap. Indeed, Chinese sociology has been turned on its head, reflecting the history of China from the end of empire to the present day, including Mao’s seizure of power and the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

If several forms of the Chinese bourgeoisie appeared between the end of the nineteenth century and 1949, then this form either left the country (in the direction of Hong Kong, Taiwan, North America or, to a lesser degree, Europe), was oppressed by the communist regime newly in power.

Since 1949, the regime has been precisely aimed at destroying the elites that existed before it. This is evidenced by the great shocks of the Maoist era: the land reform of 1950, the Hundred Flowers Campaign (1957), the Great Leap Forward (1958) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), of the major political, economic, and systemic temporalities. During these periods, the old elites as well as some elites (communists or not) were persecuted.

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The coming to power of Deng Xiaoping, after the Gang of Four (post-Cultural Revolution) cycle, will be accompanied by the decisions of the new leader, the rehabilitation of elites, leaders and others who have been purged or oppressed. The goal was to reconnect with the living forces of the country, but also to ensure a post-Maoist transition, and the goal was then to catch up with the delays in development accumulated between 1949 and 1976…

What is the main explanation for this phenomenon? Is it related to a better educational level? To a more appropriate economic context?

This process is primarily political. The system was born and lives continuously (still today) in structural and cyclical paranoia. In order to remain at the head of China, the Party fears every strong opposition, whatever its forms: ideological, economic, religious, etc.

Since 1949, it was the “red elites” who created order and thus shared wealth and power. More precisely, and to this day, it is the communist families of the first hour who make up the elites whose world is separated from the rest of the Chinese population (although educated and perhaps wealthy). These “red elites” since 1921, founded by the Chinese Communist Party, then families descended from the survivors of the Long March (October 1934 – October 1935) would retain power (and share it) until Xi Jinping. The descendants of the “Red Princes” are today at the head of the regime and China, the most famous of them and their sayings is none other than Xi Jinping, son of Shi Zhongxun, loyal to Mao, who will be purified during the periods. The above-mentioned.

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Are the descendants of the ancient elite bolder and do they work harder?

The generations of the seventies, eighties and nineties are those who will once again be able to get rich, do business, travel the world, accumulate goods and wealth… The path that gives the perfect luster is the path of Desmond Schum, written by “Chinese Roulette” published in English in 2021 and translated into French and published in 2022, it provides an understanding of these political and societal mechanisms. Elites should always be part of the Chinese Communist Party or have good relations with it. This is an indispensable condition for success. Whatever the level of the individual…the average would have been at the top of the pyramid, if, of course, they belonged to the Chinese Communist Party….

While the elite capital was destroyed 70 years ago, its social capital has held through this generation. What influence can they have within Chinese society? Could it have an impact on the government, the Beijing regime, or the Chinese Communist Party?

If these elites do not belong to the Chinese Communist Party, they are obligated to participate with the regime in collusion that serves the party. As mentioned above, CCP is very careful to contain, if not neutralize, all forms of influence that do not come from themselves. The 1990s and 2000s, with the enrichment of some non-communist elites, led to the belief (sometimes themselves, if not more so in the West) that China could eventually see some form of democratization, if not a loosening of politics at all. Economics, Society and International Politics. This time period is eloquent to properly decode CCP DNA. If this (past) period of enrichment has taken place, then this is just a partisan tactic to improve the development of the country, while controlling it. On the other hand, these years (from 1992 to 2012) were also years of intense debates and rivalries at the highest levels of the party and the state regarding the decisions to be taken to limit the enrichment of certain non-political elites. Communists and their growing influence. The rise to power of Xi Jinping (2012) marks the end of this unique and exhilarating time period, of enrichment and various forms of debate…all to regain control of all aspects of society and the economy that, in the eyes of the regime, have caught wind in its sails and in the long run risk being overthrown. In order…

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