Political Economy of China’s Development Working Group


  • Sam-Kee Cheng (214533@soas.ac.uk)
    • Coordinator of the Working Group
    • PhD Student, SOAS
  • Niels Hahn (nsc.hahn@gmail.com)
    • Coordinator General for establishing the Working Group
  • Heiko Khoo (heikokhoo@gmail.com)
    • PhD Student, King’s College London
  • Jonathan Clyne (bretorp@gmail.com)
    • PhD Student, SOAS
  • LIU Lirong (liulirong@fudan.edu.cn)
    • Ph.D, Associate Professor
    • European Studies, Institute of International Studies, Fudan University
  • LIANG Xuehoug;
    • Chinese development model and International Socialism (xhliang916@hotmail.com)
  • MENG Jie (mengjie99@mail.tsinghua.edu.cn)
    • Professor, Institute of Economics, Tsinghua University
  • REN Xiao
    • Director, Center for the Study of Chinese Foreign Policy
    • Institute of International Studies, Shanghai. Director, Center for the Study of Chinese Foreign Policy
  • WANG Yong (Yowang@pku.edu.cn)
    • Professor, School of International Studies
    • Director, Center for International Political Economy, Peking University
  • WANG Duanyong (Alexander)
    • PhD, Associate Professor
    • Center for China’s Overseas Interests Studies
    • School of International Relations and Public Affairs
    • Shanghai International Studies University

Description of group:

China’s development has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, and increased its national and international power to such an extent that the Communist Party of China (CPC) is now challenging US hegemony. The spectacular achievement is accompanied with increasing wealth polarisation, social contradictions and an emergence of a capitalist class which was not seen before the Market Reforms from 1978.

According to the Constitution of the CPC, revised and adopted at the eighteenth National Congress of the CPC, “China is in the primary stage of socialism”. This is considered as a “historical stage which cannot be skipped in socialist modernization in China” and it will last for more than a century. Based on previous experiences of building socialism elsewhere in the world, the constitution of the CPC that “the Party must proceed from China’s specific conditions and take the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics”. But critics argued that China’s economic success is built on restoring capitalism and integration into the world capitalist system. Hence no real alternative, let alone “building socialism”.

The significance of China’s rise is one of the greatest and most complex and challenging issues for our world. Some believe that China is on the cusp of a delayed crisis that will reveal that its system is essentially just a form of capitalism, with all its attendant crises. Others believe that China’s system has unique features that are outside the neoliberal framework and, more controversially, can be used to investigate questions of the nature of transition from capitalism to socialism.

The focus of this working group is to research and discuss the question of what type of socio-economic system exists in China and to assess the trajectory and dynamics of change and development, both as in a historical and contemporary sense. This will entail investigation and research that compares China to the theory and practice of both socialist and capitalist systems. The present focus of the researchers involved includes the following topics.

  • The study of China’s planning system and the relationship between public and private ownership.
  • The study of the role of the Chinese state in international economic relations with emphasis on Africa and West Asia: both in the comparative systemic sense and by comparison with the historically dominant imperialist countries.
  • A debate about the systemic nature of China’s with Janos Kornai, probably the world’s most eminent scholar of Socialist Political Economy.
  • China-EU relations with particular focus on Germany and France.
  • China-US relations with particular focus on the US containment policy of China.