Remko Tanis • 14 November 2018

Young activists in China, mostly students, have been rounded up this past week. The ruling Communist Party is known for reacting badly to student activism, as the world learned in 1989. The odd thing here is that the crack down is aimed at activists who regard themselves as fanatic communists, and who believe in the ideologies of Mao and Marx. Many of them rallied for the rights of laborers - the working class.

Tourists at the site of the First Congress of the Communist Party of China, in Shanghai. Photo: (C) Remko Tanis

You’d expect a Leninist-Marxist Party to embrace activists who fight for workers’ rights, not to kidnap, assault or disappear them. This has been happening at universities and in major cities as Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan and Shenzhen.

SupChina visited the Red Runners, a student group of Peking University Marxists. Two of their members are among the currently missing. It’s a great read.

This atmosphere seems totally opposite from what I heard from university students who were eager to join the Communist Party back in 2010, and embraced by that Party. As one of them said:

Everyone knows you need two things to make it in life: a diploma from a good university and a membership card of the Communist Party.

That’s probably still true. Just don’t mix up being a Communist Party member with activism to actually realize communist ideals, such as better treatment of factory workers.