Ideology and Social Movements in China

The state of ideology in China

The role of ideology has been taken in different ways in China. It has remained to be a long-lasting problem in the social aspect of revolution. There is diversity in how ideology is approached and this has concealed its fundamental effects. The social structural view sees ideology and culture as the primary fundamental origin of revolutionary controversy. There has also been researching on the previous research that revolution has studied the material and its structural conditions. This research states that to have the ability to inhibit opposition, there should be an analytically separate set of factors that have a direct relationship with ideology and social structure. This situation will involve issues to deal with absorption (Tang 55-60).

States and ideologically constitute social orders that give the possibility of giving constraints for conflict. This is achieved by a way of having channels that can give a collective action into non-revolutionary. The biggest challenge that comes with this is the existence of the absorptive capacities of regimes. These regimes are involved with the symbolic and cultural contradictions among social structures. There is also the presence of unorganized, interstitial social spaces that may give rise to the emergence of mobilization. This can also be caused by the practical consideration in the case of revolutionary contention. The first results, in the beginning, indicated that the absorptive capacity of regimes does match with the commencement and power of the revolution (Feng Chen 45).

Ideology and Social Change

According to Lynch (288), there has been a continuous improvement that took place in the social sector in China. The Chinese people took the responsibility to advocate for the increased political awareness of the population into a strengthened movement for change. There has been an existence of pressure in the progress of each sign of reform that required intervention and policy decisions from the people at the top. Here the top people in the parties concerned with the revolution needed innovations that would take a different direction for the change to take place. The existence of tension during decision-making times would lead to conventional responses. This form of the political process has taken the position of supporting slow change that can hinder the forward movement of the program reform. In addition, the Chinese people have been interrupted by the intervention of modernization in the reform process that has affected the social process. The party members were required to be clear with their functions to enable the success of the reform program in china to be assured.

Intellectual changes in China

In China, to ensure that ideological and social change has taken place in the country, the parties had to take into consideration first to instill intellectual changes into people’s minds. Here there are three principles that the people would consider in the process. White (147) argued that the three principles were taken to deal with programs in the broad political, social and economic sectors that would save China. This is geared towards making more people be attracted to the innovatory group in addition to organizing for nation-wide re-construction following the revolutionary accomplishment which has taken position. The thought of expanding the ideology was put into consideration after this idea had achieved a greater result in the sectors. To expand the thinking, the people believed that a more complete ideology with set out national goals and laid down plans can be used. This ideology would help in achieving their targets in unifying the country.

Principles of achieving an expanded ideology

The three principles that were taken into consideration would contain several components. This includes; nationalism, democracy and socialism. Nationalism was used to represent the government of the people. Democracy was used to describe the government by the people and socialism to represent government for the people.

Nationalism as the government of the people

According to Tang (125), to achieve a government of the people, the objective of overthrowing the Ch’ing dynasty was to be employed as well as the creation of a modern Chinese nation. The final decision was followed by setting China free from foreign imperialism and unequal treaties. This was for the efforts of regaining China for the achievement of national independence and international equality. The restoration of racial spirit and pride that had been lost for many years in China was necessary for this achievement. Four ways were suggested for strengthening Chinese nationalism. These four ways involved the return to ancient Chinese morality and learning which acted as a check on the people who would admire western things blindly. The strengthening of the Chinese clan and family systems that existed would be taken into consideration to act as the smallest bonds of the national unity. The Chinese people also decided that refusing to buy foreign goods would act as a resistance to foreign economic imperialism. The fourth way of strengthening Chinese nationalism was by adopting western science and technology (Su Quian 19).

Democracy as a government by the people

With the availability of democracy in Chinese nationalism, the national rights will always belong to the people. The people are expected to give power to a few leaders with whom they have trust. The leaders could make good use of political power. The people decided that the structure of the government should consist of five sections. These include; the executive, the legislature, the judiciary, the civil service examination and control (Misra 717-720). The executive would be used to make sure that government measures are put into practice by the president and his cabinet. The legislature would be to make laws with the responsibility of representatives who are elected by the people. The accountability of undertaking legal actions as well as protection to the charter of the country from the breach was specified in the direction of the Judiciary. Effective government officials were selected through service examination. The control sector dealt with the responsibility of preventing and taking precautions against illegal practices that would have arisen in the government.

The Chinese nation was composed of both the modern government branches and traditional Chinese systems. This arrangement is necessary for better operation for the executive strongly and efficiently. The control section would make it easy to check the operation for effectiveness. To instill democracy in the Chinese nationality, the people were required to be given power. These powers included the power to suffrage which involves the issues concerned with the right to vote in political elections. The people were also given the power to recall which gave them the right to remove an official from office by a vote of the people. The power of having initiative was also taken into consideration where the people had the right of proposing a law for the government. The people needed to have the power of referendum whereby they will have the right to pass judgment on a political question that has not yet been decided by the government.

In Chinese nationalism, there are various stages that the government has to undergo to achieve democracy. The stages that took place for the achievement of democracy in china were as follows. Firstly, the period of the military unification of the country, during which the army would rule. Secondly, party guidance was necessary for educating the people on matters about democracy, as well as appointing trained men who would help in societys rules. The Last stage involved the period of having a constitutional democracy (Perry 121-133).

The people considered the argument given by Rosen (177), nationalism to be more important than democracy. The reason for this is that the Chinese people were seen to have much freedom which made them lack unity as well as nationalist feelings. There was the need of instilling discipline to the Chinese people to strengthen unity among them.

Socialism as the government for the people

The Chinese people needed motives that were intended to work out a social program. The social program was invented to attract young intellectuals as well as win popular support from peasants and workers. This program was also invented to keep the loyalty of the traditionally minded followers. The amalgamation of contemporary as well as Western monetary theories and early Chinese doctrines of economic integrity was a kind of array that privileged all the citizens of China (Guo et al 142).

There were social problems that were faced by the Chinese people. This involved problems related to social poverty and poor economic conditions. To solve the problems, the Chinese people took into consideration the equalization of land rights among the landowners. Here the estimation of land value with the fixed profits that come with it would be done by the landowners. If the value of the land would go up in the future, then the extra profits would be channeled to the government. The landlords would only own a limited size of land. In addition, the land rates that were to be imposed on the land were also controlled by the government. This enabled the government to have the right of buying land from private landowners at the estimated price then rent it at a lower rate or even grant it to the landless people.

The people of China decided to encourage investment through agriculture. This was easy after the provision of incentives such as machinery and chemical fertilizers. Hence the Chinese people were able to meet the objective of agricultural prosperity. The government also had a responsibility of controlling capital or the money flowing to the public. Controlling the stream of funds in the nation-state via the government tended to trim down the probability of existing collective fraudulent classes of prosperous capitalists who exploited the deprived citizens. The development of industry and railway was another way in which the government would resolve the problem of social problems. The government took the step to work through state planning to develop for the benefit of the people of China. The government also took the view that reform is better than revolution. Here the social measures were to be undertaken peacefully and gradually without violent class struggle. This would improve the standards of living of the Chinese people. Hence social reform was the main agenda here and not social reform (Guo et al 166).

The reasons for Intellectual Revolution in China

The growth of Chinese nationalism

An intellectual revolution was activated by the continued foreign imperialism and internal political instability that came after the patriotic feelings of many Chinese people in 1911. During the First World War that took place between 1914-1918, various factors contributed to the growth of this force of nationalism. This included the presentation of 21demands to Yuan Shih-kai by Japan. This promoted the unity that existed among the Chinese people. The principles of national self-determination stimulated the great enthusiasm for liberalism and nationalism among Chinese intellectuals. Other revolutions that had occurred in Russia, Finland, Germany and Austria during the war contributed highly to the revolution that occurred in china (Perry 130).

The rise of a politically conscious merchant class and labor force

The Chinese industry and commerce expanded greatly during the First World War due to various reasons that are internal as well external. Internal reasons consist of the fall of the Ch’ing dynasty that led to the removal of the traditional conservative rules against commerce and industry. Other rules that would encourage and protect economic activities in china were put into place. World War I resulted in a turndown in the European businesses along with trade activities among Asians. This was an advantage for China to have the opportunity for expanding its industries and commerce. Accordingly, there appeared new business and labor classes who were politically alert and ready to speak out against strange imperialism.

The rise of a new and modern intellectual class

The china government introduced modern Western education in China in late Ch’ing times. This led to the creation of a class of modern Chinese intellectuals who led to the failure in China. There was also the emergence of treaty ports and large cities in china that made it easy for obtaining modern foreign ideas. This led to the decision of having a ground on intellectual revolution had been laid (Bell 25). Western education had been introduced in Chinese schools and it spread very easily. There existed failure in the political revolution that strengthened china made many intellectuals. Hence the people of China would be able to understand the fact that changes are more fundamental than political revolution and are necessary to be imposed. Hence the need for intellectual revolution was fundamental. The warlord mess approached through a set of the sovereignty of intellectual groups since no solitary state ideologies were forced by a united government of china. This allowed the Chinese intellectuals to experiment using western education.

My views based on the analysis by Gordon White

In the analysis done by Gordon White on whether ideology still exists in China and if the Chinese people were able to rebuild a new legitimating as the normative authority is that leadership efficiency was an achievement. According to Gordon White’s opinion, when trying to re-establish their political authority, the CCP leadership in china was faced two major tasks to be accomplished. The first task was to redefine the official political ideology. This political ideology was to be put in such a way that it became an effective force for legitimating the CCP regime in the context of the socialist commodity economy. This was followed by the task of re-establishing the Party as a coherent and credible political nucleus of the nation in the new economic environment.

Gordon added that during the reform decade, the officials attempted to re-establish the credibility of Ideology by dividing it into two broad periods. The first phase was the early period of demolition of the Ideology of the Cultural Revolution. The second phase was a process of ideological reconstruction and adaptation. In this phase party, reformers were tackling three basic tasks. These tasks involved firstly repudiating the perceived ideological distortions and dogmatic excesses of the Maoist era. The second task was concerned with reviving a perceived strong ideological heritage from the pre-Maoist era of political routine. The third task would be adapting the existing ideological framework to the new economic environment of market socialism.

The first task was tackled through the reduction of the ideological influence of remnant Maoists by the reformers. However, this weakened the political credibility of ideological orthodoxy in general and Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. The second task was achieved by reviving the traditional kind of Stalinist political thought which had little significance in changing the socio-economic realities in China. It was difficult to achieve the third task because it was hindered by conflict among the leaders. This led to more and more dispersion and dilution frameworks of ideas that lacked clarity and vision. The result was ideological decay in a loss of political faith and direction among the general population and political leaders in the Communist Party.

My views based on the analysis by Feng Chen

In his opinion, Feng Chen argued that there existed an obstacle to ideological reintegration in china. This brought a dilemma when trying to balance material and spiritual development. The CCP made resolutions that the firm party leadership to advance Social spiritual civilization (SSC) to be the normative authority. There were major problems when building morals. These problems were reconciling collectivism and the idea of serving the people with the market economy. However, the SSC was faced with defects in the sense that the party relied on proven techniques. This is an indication that it is aimed at establishing the normative authority from the top.

At first, China was faced with a severe shortage of high normative principles. This gave difficulties to the CCP when trying to prevent a substantial part of its ideology from becoming interchangeable from its antithesis-capitalism. The CCP cannot provide a viable normative authority when there are vague ideologies that give party leaders latitude for policy maneuver and innovation. The SSC cannot be built on an ideology that has distorted the difference between communism and capitalism. The existence of the SSC has created a gap between what people believe and what they have experienced in their daily lives. Third, the use of CCP’S brings difficulty when enforcing its normative authority. This can be attributed largely to the growing ineffectiveness of the party’s primary organizations. The CCP’s effort to rebuild its normative authority is inhibited by the existence of an ideology that is not clear. This ideology has no power of influencing a socio-economic environment that can promote uniqueness and greediness as well as the party’s organizational decay.

My views based on the analysis by Dan Lynch

In the opinion of Daniel Lynch, to open up to global culture, China must sacrifice an important degree of internal control over the ongoing re-creation of Chinese culture. This will encourage the achievement of wealth and strength in the country. China has been affected by the failure in building a social spiritual civilization. In the early 1980s, reformist leaders decentralized administrative decision-making to devolve significant economic property rights to enterprises and promote technological advances across society. This helped in achieving the stimulation of transformative economic growth. However, the application to mass media and telecommunications sectors led to the evolvement of a central party state that can control the construction of the representative environment.


In conclusion, there existed a lack of determination, coordination and planning in the Chinese people when dealing with issues of ideology and social change. Many activities during the time were short-term hence not able to achieve the expected changes. This is evident by the fact that there were fewer efforts in the coordination of different anti-imperialist activities. The problems of the Chinese people were not well covered since most of the influence came from the city and not the countryside. The modern intellectuals destroyed the traditions of the people and replaced them with western culture. These intellectuals did not build the Chinese culture because western ideas were accepted without taking into consideration if they suit china or not. There were limited practical achievements of the china people since they failed to solve the problems faced by china politically.

References list

Lynch Daniel, Dilemmas of ‘Thought-Work’ in Fin-de-Siecle China, 1999, p. 288.

White Gordon, Economic Reform and Ideological Decay: The decline of Democracy, Stanford University Press, 1993, p. 147.

Feng Chen, Rebuilding the Party’s Normative Authority: China’s Socialist Spiritual Civilization Campaign, VS Verlag, 2006, p. 45.

Tang Wenfang, Public Opinion and Political Change in China, Stanford University Press, 2005, pp. 55-161.

Su Qian, The practical aspects of directing Internet Opinion, Southern Weekend, 2005, p19.

Misra Kalpana, Neo-Left and Neo-Right in Post-Tiananmen China, Asian Survey, University of Carlifonia press, 2003, vol.43, no. 5, pp 717-744.

Fewsmith Joseph, Neo-Conservatism and the End of the Dengist Era, Cambridge University press, 2001, p.276.

Guo Yingjie and He Baogang, Re-imagining the Chinese Nation: The ‘Zeng Guofan Phenomenon, Modern China, university of Tasmania, vol.25, no. 2, 1999, 142-170.

Bell Daniel, From Marx to Confucius: Changing Discourses on China’s, University of Michigan Press, 2007, pp.20-28.

Rosen Stanley, The Victory of Materialism, China Journal, Routledge, 2004, p.177.

Perry Elizabeth, Challenging the Mandate of Heaven: Popular Protest in China, M. E. Sharpe, 2001, pp.121-133.