Political Economy of China’s Development Working Group


  • Sam-Kee Cheng
    • Coordinator of the Working Group
    • PhD, SOAS
  • Niels Hahn
    • Coordinator General for establishing the Working Group
  • Elias Jabbour
    • Professor, School of Economics, State University of Rio de Janeiro (FCE-UERJ)
  • Alberto Gabriele
    • Independent Researcher, former UNCTAD economist
  • Michael Roberts
    • Independent Researcher, former economist in the City of London
  • Jie Meng
    • Professor, School of Economics, Fudan University
  • Jonathan Clyne
    • PhD Student, SOAS
  • Samuel Spellmann
    • PhD Candidate, International Relations, Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil
  • Otto Kolbl
    • PhD Student, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Contact email address: iippechina@gmail.com

IIPPE China WG YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCatFxFdETNSvEmHyU7vo-_w/videos

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.
  • 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.
  • China’s “two centennial goals”
  • Evolution of China’s Five-Year Plans
  • China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) and “dual circulation strategy”
  • China’s response to Covid-19
  • China’s industrial policy
  • The Belt and Road Initiative
  • The political economy of the development of national minority regions
  • Marxian perspectives on the nature of the PRC social formation
  • Implications of rising tensions between the West and the PRC

11th Annual IIPPE Conference China WG’s Call for Papers: http://iippe.org/cfp-conference-2021-china-working-group/

Previous Training Workshops

  1. The Political Economy of China’s Transformation (5 June 2018)
    • Dialogue with Chinese Marxist Scholars (Speakers: Michael Roberts & Andong Zhu)
    • China and Neoliberalism (Speaker: Dic Lo)
    • China and the Crisis of Capitalism (Speakers: Heiko Khoo & Jonathan Clyne)
    • China and Contemporary Imperialism (Speaker: Jude Woodward)
    • Podcast links for the first three sessions can be found here: http://iippe.org/podcasts/ Due to poor quality of recording, the audio record for the last session is not available.
    • Jude Woodward sadly passed away in April 2020 and here is the tribute to Jude from the PECD working group: http://iippe.org/tribute-to-jude-woodward/.
  2. The Systemic Dynamics of China’s Economic Development and the Systematic Implications for Contemporary Imperialism (2 July 2019)
    • China’s economic development and Market Reforms in the context of neoliberal globalisation (Speakers: Dic Lo & Sam-Kee Cheng)
    • The “Chinese worker”: Image and Reality (Speaker: Wang Hong)
    • From Lenin’s questions in his last years to a socialist political economy for China today (Speaker: Jie Meng)
  3. The Political Economy of Crisis Management of Covid-19: China and the US (22 Aug 2020; Speaker: Dic Lo)
  4. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Latin America and the Case of Brazil (5 Sept 2020; Speaker: Elias Jabbour)

2021/22 IIPPE Conference China Panels Presentations