Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

Two Cheers for Jiang Zemin's Three Represents

Mockery of retiring Chinse President Jiang Zemin's theory of the "Three Represents" is rife. Pundits scorn the theory, which says that the Communist party should not only represent workers and peasants but also society's "advanced productive forces, culture and interests," and they deem it wholly inadequate to China's mounting problems of inequality, corruption, and lack of democracy.

These critics are right to point out the theory's shortcomings, and the nauseating way that "Jiang Zemin Thought" is promulgated does remind us of Mao's Cultural Revolution. But they miss the point that the "Three Represents" marks a leap forward over the ideology it seeks to replace--the dictatorship of the proletariat. Under today's arrangements, China faces a choice between the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" or the "Three Represents." Which to choose seems very clear to me.

The big contribution of the "Three Represents" is that, for the first time, a ruling communist party gives up - of its own volition - the idea of class warfare. The gist of the Three Represents is not that the ruling party should protect the interests of capitalists at the expense of others, but that capitalists should not be automatically excluded from China's political process.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/h40gvAJ;
  1. op_campanella7_Aurelien MeunierGetty Images_billgatesrichardbransonthumbsup Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

    Abolish the Billionaires?

    Edoardo Campanella

    Even many of the wealthiest Americans would agree that the United States needs to overhaul its tax policies to restore a sense of social justice. But, notes Edoardo Campanella, Future of the World Fellow at IE University's Center for the Governance of Change, such reforms would not be enough to restart the engines of social mobility and promote greater equality of opportunity.

    16