Peking University Marxist group shut down for supporting workers

Marxism society at Peking University shut down for supporting creation of trade union at Shenzhen factory

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200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx.

200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- In a classic example of the hypocrisy of the Communist regime in China, the Marxist society at Peking University has been closed down by authorities, while some of its members have been arrested, after they supported workers in the organization of a trade union in a factory in Shenzhen, reported the Financial Times.

Despite Marxism being required reading at universities in China, its status as a core tenet of the Chinese Communist Party and the fact that China's President Xi Jinping visited Peking University to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth, the university's Marxist Society has been shut down this year, according to the report. The society announced that it was not able to obtain the necessary backing from professors to enable it to re-register for the academic year.

The snub comes after a number of students from the university's Marxist Society in August turned out at the Jasic factory in the Pingshan District of Shenzhen City to support workers in their bid to create a democratic trade union, reported HKFP. After students from Peking University and three other top universities gave speeches, presented peaceful demonstrations and posted open letters on social media in support of the workers, police raided the guesthouse where they were staying and arrested at least 40 students, reported the Financial Times.

Among those arrested included Peking University Marxist Society member Zhan Zhenzhen, who had previously investigated working conditions for low-paid workers at the university. This fall semester, the society, which says its focus is labor rights, was denied support from the university's department of Marxism to back their application for registration, with no explanation, according to the report.

The report stated that a professor from another department offered to help register the organization but was rebuffed by the university's Student Society Committee.

As for the perspective of actual Marxists, an article on the website marxist.com posits that a convergence of "the student movement with the working-class struggles poses a serious threat to Chinese capitalism," and thus it is doing everything it can to cut off students from workers. The article concludes that unlike Xi's claim last year that China is a "dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry,” the treatment of the students and workers in the Jasic case shows the exact opposite, that "China today is a dictatorship of the party in favor of its capitalist class."