In Asia, Economics, International Manifesto Group

This panel discussion was hosted by the International Manifesto Group on May 16, 2021.

About this Event

A critical part of understanding China today is understanding its social character: is it (state) capitalist or (market) socialist? What are the relevant facts? David Lane disinters the historical evolution of the term state capitalism to contest its application to China. John Ross argues China is socialist. Roland Boer builds on his Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and contests Western Marxist misrepresentations of Chinese Socialism. Professor Cheng Enfu proposes a novel gauge to measure progress towards socialism. China scholars Jenny Clegg and Mick Dunford inject their own insights.


David Lane, Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and currently Emeritus Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge University. He was previously Professor of Sociology at the University of Birmingham and is a visiting professor at Peking University. He has written extensively on Marxism, socialism (particularly the USSR) and post-socialism, capitalism and industrial societies, the world economy, elites and classes. Recent publications include: Changing Regional Alliances for China and the West (With G. Zhu) (2018); The Eurasian Project in Global Perspective (2016); (With V. Samokhvalov) The Eurasian Project and Europe (2015); Elites and Identity in the Transformation of State Socialism (2014); The Capitalist Transformation of State Socialism (2014). He has recently had articles published in Critical Sociology, The Third World Quarterly, International Critical Thought and Mir Rossii.

John Ross, Senior Fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. Since 1992, and the publication in Russia of his ‘Why the Economic Reform Succeeded in China and Will Fail in Russia and Eastern Europe,’ he is the author of over 500 published articles on China’s economy and geopolitical relations. He has more than one million followers on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. His articles on China’s economy have won several prizes in China. He is author of two best-selling books published in Chinese – ‘The Great Chess Game’ and ‘Don’t Misunderstand China’s Economy’. His new book in English ‘China’s Great Road’ is published this month.

Roland Boer, Professor of Marxist philosophy in the School of Marxism at Dalian University of Technology in China. Earlier, he taught at Renmin University of China and in a number of universities in Australia. He has also been a visiting professor in the Academy of Marxism in Beijing (within CASS). Among numerous works on Marxism and philosophy, he has published the five-volume work, The Criticism of Heaven and Earth (Leiden: Brill, 2007–2014). In 2014, it was awarded the Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize. He has recently published a monograph entitled Socialism with Chinese Characteristics—A Guide for Foreigners (Singapore: Springer, 2021), and will soon have published with Renmin University Press a work entitled Friedrich Engels and the Foundations of Socialist Governance.

Professor Cheng Enfu, academician at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Director of the Research Center for Economic and Social Development (CASS), principal professor at the University of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, President of the World Association for Political Economy, president of Chinese Society of Foreign Economic Theories, and member of the People’s Congress of China.


Jenny Clegg, independent writer and researcher; former Senior Lecturer in International Studies and long-time China specialist; author of China’s Global Strategy: towards a Multipolar World (2009); activist in peace and anti-war movement in Britain.

Mick Dunford, Emeritus Professor, University of Sussex, Visiting Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Managing Editor, Area Development and Policy.


Radhika Desai, Professor of Political Studies, University of Manitoba, Director, Geopolitical Economy Research Group, Author, Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire.

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