Hua Quiao was born in 1972 and lives in Shanghai. He’s a Maoist photographer and activist, and blogs for the website Utopia
. Although members of Utopia usually avoid speaking to the foreign press, he agreed to speak to us through an interpreter.
I’m a Maoist, and I feel both leftist and socially conservative. Utopia, the website I write for, owns a bookstore in Beijing. That’s sort of our headquarters. But our ideology is very controversial in modern-day China, and it’s often simpler and safer for us to communicate online.
Today, the structure of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) isn’t the same as what it was under Mao. Before, most members were peasants and workers, now they’re all bureaucrats. Just as Karl Marx had predicted, China’s society is breaking up into different classes. One small group of about 3,000 Chinese leaders and several dozen foreign entrepreneurs, controls the country and exploits the rest of the population. The Maoists want to return to a real Communist party, not one that exploits the working class.
"Some associate Maoism with a difficult period of our country's history"
Before his death, Mao predicted that capitalism would make a comeback in the country. That’s exactly what happened. Nevertheless, some members of the CCP [such as Bo Xilai, the leader of the communist party in the province of Chongqing] are once again leaning more toward the left. Of course, some still associate Maoism with a difficult period of our country’s history.
"Capitalism poses many problems, especially in terms of social equality"
Nevertheless, the results of 30 years of ‘reform’ and opening up the world markets [ a shift begun in the 1980s by one of Mao’s successors, Deng Xiaoping], are mixed at best. Yes, living standards have improved for some, and people have more freedom. But the gap between the rich and the poor widens every day. I experienced China coming onto the world market in the 1980s, and entering the World Trade Organisation in 2000. My conclusion is that capitalism poses many problems, especially in terms of social equaliy.
Today, people use Mao’s teachings and theories to express their discontent against the government. That’s what irritates authorities, and they remain very wary of our movement. [According to another of our Observers in China, the CCP uses Mao’s image to serve its own purposes, but when Maoists refer to him to express their discontent, they are immediately silenced]. Mao didn’t deliver the solutions to all of our socio-economic problems. These solutions must come from confrontation and debate different political forces. Only a multi-party system will allow our country to move forward.
There are many small informal political groups these days, but they’re not allowed to be parties so to speak of. They communicate and spread their ideas on the Web, sometimes on the field. Some even form alliances. I know that Shanghai police closely monitor members of these groups on a daily basis.
I personally created a virtual political group : ‘The party of the Chinese Revolution’. I’ve been contacted several times by police, but so far it hasn’t gone any further. I signed Liu Xiabao’s Charter 08
for democratic reform because I agree with most of his principles. Of course, some Maoists are opposed to a multi-party system. But I think the core principles of our ideology are based on human rights, freedom and expression and democracy. We will head in that direction".