COVID-19: What Did Authentic Marxists Say about China’s Lockdown Policy in Spring 2020?

In contrast to the Lockdown Left, the RCIT opposed chauvinist state bonapartism from the very beginning

By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 22 December 2022,


It has become clear by now that the popular rebellion in China a few weeks ago achieved an important partial victory. The largest mass protests since the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989 had spread throughout the country and forced the Stalinist-capitalist regime to retreat from its totalitarian Zero-COVID policy which did put millions of people under Lockdown for long periods.

The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) has called for support of these protests from the very beginning. [1] We did so because we fully share the popular outrage against the Lockdown policy in general and against the Zero-COVID policy in particular. Furthermore, authentic Marxists have always rejected the reactionary idea that the Stalinist-capitalist regime would represent a progressive factor whatsoever. [2]

Many socialist forces who oppose Stalinism have also stated their support for the protests of the Chinese masses. They even raise slogans against Lockdowns and against the Zero-COVID policy. While this is a welcome development, it is astonishing that, at the same time, the very same organisations remain mum about their support for the authoritarian Lockdown policy (or even for the ultra-reactionary Zero-COVID strategy) in the past three years. As we did show in some articles, they had explicitly referred to the supposedly successful pandemic policy of the Xi regime and/or praised the Zero-COVID strategy. [3]

In contrast to numerous reformist and centrist organisations, the RCIT characterized the reactionary Lockdown policy as COVID Counterrevolution and opposed it from early February 2020 onwards. We advocated a health-orientated socialist response to the pandemic [4] and a strategy of popular uprising in defence of social and democratic rights. [5]

We are proud of our record since we understood the reactionary political character of the capitalist COVID policy from the very beginning. In this article we want to show what the RCIT did say in February and March 2020 about the official pandemic policy of the Xi regime. At that time the public opinion of the ruling class (as well as of the Lockdown Left) was full of praise for Beijing’s policy.

Already in the very first RCIT article on COVID, written by our comrade Almedina Gunić on 2 February 2020, we emphasised the political and anti-democratic character of the Lockdown policy. At the same time, we denounced all forms of chauvinism – at that time by Western imperialist governments against Chinese citizens. [6]

First, revolutionaries have to oppose any form of chauvinism that occurs against people from Asia (or any other part of the world). This chauvinism can appear openly articulated like in the newspaper “Courrier picard” and the Yellow peril ideology. But it can also be far more hidden like it is in the case of the double standard towards dealing with diseases coming from China with the 2019-nCoV and diseases coming from the U.S. like the (H1N1)pdm09. Therefore revolutionaries should even oppose general travel bans and forced quarantine. This doesn't mean to ignore the necessity of protection against 2019-nCoV and other diseases. However, the answer is to implement health screens for all travelers and to offer immediate health care for free if any case of infection is detected. (…) Third, the general quarantine for all people in Wuhan and other places has to be lifted and replaced by systematic and complete health screening of all people who might have had contact with the virus. This screening must be free for all people but should be mandatory. The same is necessary for any potential treatment which should include quarantine if necessary. The results however, should only be accessible for the health staff and the patients. All information must be protected by the workers movement in order to prevent any outrage against infected people.[7]

We confirmed such a first assessment in an official statement of the RCIT three days later in which we explained that the bourgeois COVID policy is not based “on health precautions but rather on political calculations.” We emphasized that the hysteria around the pandemic “objectively serves the following objectives:

a) The ruling classes in China as well as in many other countries exploit the hysteria in order to justify the vast expansion of surveillance and control of its population.

b) They also utilize this hysteria in order to wipe up patriotism and suspicion against “foreigners”, people “from outside” or simple “others”.

c) China’s regime utilizes the hysteria also in order to create a climate of fear so that anxious people put all their hopes in the state forces.

d) The ruling classes in other imperialist states utilize the global hysteria in order to wipe up anti-Chinese chauvinism and to advance their stakes in the ongoing rivalry between the Great Powers. (…)

e) Likewise, reactionary forces outside China exploit the crisis in order to foster suspicion and hatred against Chinese or, more generally, against Asian migrants.

f) The ruling class will exploit the 2019 Corona Virus (and subsequently China) in order to find a culprit for the Great Recession which has recently begun.

As a positive program we raised the following demands:

* No to the lockdown of people in Wuhan and other cities by China’s Stalinist-capitalist regime!

* For systematic and complete health screening of all people who might have had contact with the virus. This screening must be free for all people but should be mandatory. The same is necessary for any potential treatment which should include quarantine if necessary.

* Oppose any entry ban for people from China!

* For health screens for all travelers and for immediate health care for free if any case of infection is detected.

* No to general travel or trade restrictions on China!

* Rally to stop any campaign against Chinese or Asian migrants!

* Create international teams of experts and medical staff in order to develop cure and preventive vaccination as soon as possible! All developments in this field must be accessible to the global public and have to be monitored and controlled by workers and popular organizations.

* Build additional health care facilities and hospitals! (China has demonstrated how fast such construction projects can be realized if the will for it exists!)

* All necessary projects in the struggle to protect public health must be financed by taxes of the rich!

* Nationalize the pharmaceutical corporations under workers control and utilize the resources in a centralized and effective way to develop drugs against widespread illnesses like influence, corona virus, cholera, HIV/AIDS, etc.![8]

Of course, we further developed our analysis and our program in the following two years when the whole world was in the grip of the COVID Counterrevolution. But our basic principles – for a health-centred approach based on a public health program under workers and popular control, against the anti-democratic Lockdown and surveillance policy – these principles constituted the fundament of the RCIT’s approach from the first days of the pandemic.

The Lockdown Left who cheers the Chinese masses rebelling against the Lockdown policy today, what did they say when the Xi regime imprisoned many millions of workers and oppressed in spring 2020? What did they say when the Chinese masses protested already at that time – for example in Hubei in late March of that year?! Here is what the RCIT said on these protests:

The RCIT fully supports these protests. We have stated numerous times that the regime – not only in China but all over the world – uses the COVID-19 crisis as a pretext to increase the state repression. Wuhan – a major working class city of 11 million people with a large manufacturing industry – was the centre of important popular protests in summer 2019 against the horrible air pollution. In addition, the regime in Beijing was terrified about the mass uprising in Hong Kong and the possibility of provoking similar events in other Chinese regions. The RCIT has emphasized in numerous documents that the mass lockdown of the whole population – in China as well as globally – is a counter-revolutionary strike against the working class and the popular masses. It is primarily not motivated by health considerations but by political calculations. If the regimes would be primarily interested in containing and eliminating the pandemic they would focus on free mass testing of the population, in expanding the resources of the health sector and in providing free medical treatment to those infected. But in fact the main interests of the capitalist regimes are to paralyze, terrify and confuse the workers and oppressed, to launch a gigantic wave of austerity attacks, mass sackings and factory closures as well as to massively build-up the state repression apparatus. (…) The RCIT has therefore warned from the beginning that the COVID-19 crisis is utilized by the ruling classes as a cover for a major global counterrevolutionary offensive. They are launching huge authoritarian attacks on democratic rights like the mass lock downs and the suppression of the right to demonstrate and to assemble. Unfortunately, the opportunistic left has largely capitulated to this pressure of the ruling classes around the world. Many of them even share the admiration of various capitalist politicians and journalists for the draconic methods of China’s Stalinist-capitalist regime. However, the mass protests in Hubei demonstrate that the working class is not prepared to accept the state repression. The situation is highly symbolic: while large sectors of the so-called left support mass lock down and state repression under the cover of the COVID-10 crisis, the workers and oppressed rebel against these attacks of the Bonapartist regimes.[9]

We continued to analyse the reactionary pandemic policy of the Xi regime in various works. [10]

Compare our consistent opposition to the Lockdown policy of capitalist governments in general, and in China in particular, from early 2020 until today with the coward stance of the opportunist left which cheers the protests in China today but were silent in the past two years!

The revolutionary character of a Marxist organization is not demonstrated when it opposes a counterrevolutionary policy only three years after its inception and only after the masses enter the streets and break down the chains of the totalitarian regime! No, an authentic Marxist organization recognizes the reactionary character of such a policy from the beginning and offers the vanguard a program and a strategy!

We call all socialist organisations who support the recent Chinese mass protests to make a self-critical balance sheet of their advocacy of the Lockdown policy in the past three years. The RCIT would strongly welcome such a development and is ready to open a dialogue on this issue!

[1] The RCIT has published the following documents on the recent mass protests in China: Popular Rebellion against Lockdowns and “Zero COVID”,; Protests against “Zero COVID” in China: An Embarrassment for the Lockdown Left,; China Protests: The Anti-Lockdown Program of the University Students in Beijing,; Que el FITu y otros partidos de izquierda pongan en pie un Comité de Solidaridad con el pueblo chino que lucha contra la dictadura del PCch,; Defensores de cuarentenas y pases sanitarios apoyan la lucha de chinos contra cuarentenas ¿Doble vara o una realidad que liquidó sus argumentos?,

[2] The RCIT has published numerous documents about capitalism in China and its transformation into a Great Power. See on this e.g. the book by Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, Vienna 2019,; see also by the same author: “Chinese Imperialism and the World Economy”, an essay published in the second edition of The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism (edited by Immanuel Ness and Zak Cope), Palgrave Macmillan, Cham, 2020,; China: An Imperialist Power … Or Not Yet? A Theoretical Question with Very Practical Consequences! Continuing the Debate with Esteban Mercatante and the PTS/FT on China’s class character and consequences for the revolutionary strategy, 22 January 2022,; China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power (2012), in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4,; How is it possible that some Marxists still Doubt that China has Become Capitalist? (A Critique of the PTS/FT), An analysis of the capitalist character of China’s State-Owned Enterprises and its political consequences, 18 September 2020,; Unable to See the Wood for the Trees (PTS/FT and China). Eclectic empiricism and the failure of the PTS/FT to recognize the imperialist character of China, 13 August 2020,; China’s Emergence as an Imperialist Power (Article in the US journal 'New Politics'), in: “New Politics”, Summer 2014 (Vol:XV-1, Whole #: 57). See many more RCIT documents at a special sub-page on the RCIT’s website:

[3] See on this e.g. RCIT: What Can We Learn from the Popular Rebellion against Lockdowns and “Zero-COVID” in China? An Open Letter to the comrades of LIT-CI, 14 December 2022,; see also Michael Pröbsting: Protests against “Zero COVID” in China: An Embarrassment for the Lockdown Left. The popular rebellion against the COVID Counterrevolution refutes the analysis and program of the opportunist left (with Alan Woods’ IMT as an example), 30 November 2022,

[4] RCIT: A Revolutionary Action Program to fight COVID-19! Workers and Oppressed: Don’t trust the State of the Rich and Powerful! Trust only Yourselves! April 2020,; see also: ALS: A Marxist approach to the international mobilizations against the authoritarian health restrictions, February 2022,

[5] The RCIT has published more than 100 pamphlets, essays, articles and statements plus a book on the COVID Counterrevolution which are all compiled at a special sub-page on our website: In particular we refer readers to two RCIT Manifestos: COVID-19: A Cover for a Major Global Counterrevolutionary Offensive. We are at a turning point in the world situation as the ruling classes provoke a war-like atmosphere in order to legitimize the build-up of chauvinist state-bonapartist regimes, 21 March 2020,; “Green Pass” & Compulsory Vaccinations: A New Stage in the COVID Counterrevolution. Down with the chauvinist-bonapartist police & surveillance state – defend democratic rights! No to health policy in the service of the capitalist monopolies – expand the public health sector under workers and popular control! 29 July 2021,; In addition, we draw attention to our book by Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It. A Marxist analysis and strategy for the revolutionary struggle, RCIT Books, April 2020,

[6] See on this also the joint statement of the RCIT’s Section in South Korea and the International Bureau: 2019 Corona Virus: No to the Anti-Chinese Chauvinism in South Korea! 06.02.2020,

[7] See Almedina Gunić: Coronavirus: "I am not a Virus"... but WE will be the Cure! The chauvinist campaign behind the “Wuhan Coronavirus” hysteria and the revolutionary answer, 02 February 2020,

[8] RCIT: 2019 Corona Virus: Oppose the Global Wave of Chauvinist Hysteria! Workers and oppressed: Do not trust the ruling class and its media! 05.02.2020,

[9] RCIT: China: Solidarity with the Mass Protests in Hubei! Thousands of Chinese workers clash with the police in protest against the state repression under the cover of COVID-19, 28 March 2020,

[10] See e.g. chapter “China as a model?” in the above-mentioned book by Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It. See also chapter “China: the most successful regime in making “Big Brother” omnipresent” in the pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting: The Police & Surveillance State in the Post-Lockdown Phase. A global review of the ruling class’s plans of expanding the bonapartist state machinery amidst the COVID-19 crisis, 21 May 2020,; by the same author: China’s Demographic Development and the Zero COVID Policy. The latest official reports about China’s birth and death rates destroy the reactionary conception of the Lockdown Left, 18 January 2022,; “Big Brother” in China: The “Personal Health Index” App, 27 May 2020,

2020년 봄 중국의 봉쇄 정책에 대해 진정한 맑스주의자들은 뭐라고 했는가?

록다운 좌파와는 달리, RCIT 시작부터 배외주의적 국가 보나파르트주의에 반대했다

미하엘 프뢰브스팅, 혁명적 공산주의인터내셔널 동맹 (RCIT) 국제서기 (RCIT), 2022 12 22,



한국 What Did Authentic Marxists Say abou
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중국의 민중반란이 중요한 부분적 승리를 거두었다는 것이 이제 분명해졌다. 1989 천안문 항쟁 이후 최대 규모이자 전국으로 번진 대중시위에 놀란 스탈린주의-자본가 정권은 동안 수백만 명의 사람들을 장기간 록다운 봉쇄 하에 가두어 놓은 전체주의 제로 코로나 정책을 뒤로 물리고 한발 후퇴하지 않으면 되었다.

혁명적 공산주의인터내셔널 동맹 (RCIT) 시위 처음부터 시위 지지를 촉구했다.[1] 우리가 그렇게 이유는 록다운 봉쇄 정책 일반에 대한, 특수하게는 제로 코로나 정책에 대한 대중의 분노를 전적으로 공유하고 있기 때문이다. 더욱이 진정한 공산주의자들은 스탈린주의-자본가 정권이 무슨 진보적 요소를 대표한다는 반동적 생각을 언제나 거부해왔다.[2]

스탈린주의에 반대하는 많은 사회주의 조직들도 중국 민중의 시위를 지지한다고 밝히고 있다. 그들은 봉쇄와 제로 코로나 정책에 반대하는 슬로건도 제기한다. 이것은 환영할 만한 사태발전이지만, 동시에 바로 동일한 조직들이 지난 3 동안 권위주의적 봉쇄 정책에 (나아가 초반동적인 제로 코로나 전략에도) 그들 자신이 지지한 것에 대해 다물고 있는 것은 놀라운 일이 아닐 없다. 우리가 몇몇 기사와 성명에서 보여주었듯이, 그들은 시진핑 정권의 성공적인 팬데믹 정책 운운하며 그들 일부는 제로 코로나 전략을 칭송하기까지 했다.[3]

많은 개량주의·중도주의 조직들과는 달리 RCIT 반동적인 봉쇄 정책을 코로나 반혁명으로 성격규정 하고 2020 2 초부터 그것에 반대했다. 우리는 코로나 팬데믹에 대한 보건 지향적인 사회주의적 대응 방향을 제창했고[4], 사회적·민주적 권리를 방어하는 민중봉기 전략을 내걸었다.[5]

우리는 자본주의 코로나 정책의 반동 정치적 성격을 처음부터 폭로 규탄해 자랑스런 이력을 가지고 있다. 글에서는 2020 2월과 3월에 RCIT 시진핑 정권의 공식 팬데믹 정책에 대해 뭐라고 말했었는지 보여주고자 한다. 당시 지배계급 ( 봉쇄를 지지하는 록다운 좌파) 여론은 시진핑 정권의 정책에 대한 찬사로 가득했다.

이미 2020 2 2 코로나에 대한 번째 RCIT 논설에서 우리는 록다운 봉쇄 정책의 정치적·반민주적 성격을 강조했다. 동시에, 우리는 모든 형태의 배외주의(쇼비니즘) 규탄했다. 당시에 배외주의 물결은 서방 제국주의 정부들의 중국 시민들을 겨냥한 배외주의적 공격이었다.[6]

"첫째, 노동자계급은 아시아 (또는 세계의 다른 어느 지역) 출신 사람들을 겨냥하여 벌이는 어떤 형태의 배외주의에도 반대해야 한다. 이러한 배외주의는 위에서 언급한 신문 " 쿠리에 피카르" 황화(黃禍; yellow peril) 이데올로기에서처럼 공공연한 형태로 출현할 있다. 그러나 신종 코로나바이러스처럼 중국 발원 질병과 돼지독감처럼 미국 발원 질병을 차별적으로 다루는 이중잣대에서 보듯 훨씬 은폐된 형태로도 나타날 있다. 따라서 노동자계급은 전면 여행 금지와 강제 격리에 대해서도 반대해야 한다. 이것은 신종 코로나바이러스와 밖의 질병들로부터 보호 조치의 필요성을 무시하자는 얘기가 아니다. 답은 모든 여행자를 위한 건강검진을 실시하고 감염 사례가 발견될 즉각적인 의료 서비스를 무상으로 제공하는 것이다....

셋째, 우한 등지의 모든 주민에 대한 전면 격리를 해제하고, 코로나바이러스와 접촉했을 가능성이 있는 모든 사람에 대한 체계적이고 완전한 건강검진으로 대체해야 한다. 이러한 검진은 모든 이에게 무상 검진인 한편 의무 검진이어야 한다. 필요한 경우 격리 조치를 포함해야 하는 치료에 대해서도 동일한 방침이 적용되어야 한다. 의료 결과는 의료진과 환자만 접근할 있어야 한다. 모든 정보는 감염된 사람들을 겨냥한 잔학 행위를 막기 위해 노동자운동에 의해 보호되어야 한다."[7] (<코로나바이러스: “우한 바이러스 히스테리 뒤에 숨은 배외주의 캠페인>)

우리는 사흘 RCIT 공식 성명을 통해 평가를 재차 확인하며, 부르주아 코로나 정책은 보건 상의 고려가 아니라 정치적 계산에 바탕한 것임을 설명했다. 우리는 팬데믹을 둘러싼 히스테리가 객관적으로 다음과 같은 목표에 봉사한다고 강조했다.

“a) 중국뿐만 아니라 많은 나라의 지배계급들이 자국 주민에 대한 감시·통제망의 대대적인 확장을 정당화하기 위해 코로나바이러스 히스테리를 이용한다.

b) 지배계급들은 "외국인들"이나 "외부인들" 또는 그냥 "다른 사람들" 겨냥한 의심 몰이와 애국주의 몰이를 하기 위해 히스테리를 이용한다.

c) 중국 정권은 불안해하는 사람들이 국가 공권력 모든 희망을 걸도록 공포 분위기를 조성하기 위해 또한 히스테리를 이용한다.

d) 다른 제국주의 국가들의 지배계급은 반중 배외주의를 불러일으키고 강대국들 패권쟁투 속에서 자신의 지분을 증진시키기 위해 글로벌 히스테리를 이용한다. 윌버 로스 상무장관은 신종 코로나바이러스의 발병은 미국한테 기회라고 말했다.

e) 마찬가지로 중국 밖의 반동 세력들도 중국인 이주자들에 대한, 보다 일반적으로는 아시아인 이주자들에 대한 의심과 혐오를 조장하고자 위기를 이용한다.

f) 지배계급은 최근 시작된 대공황의 범인 찾기 위해 신종 코로나바이러스를 (그리고 다음에는 중국을) 이용할 것이다. 실제로 바이러스 전파를 봉쇄한다면서 취하고 있는 글로벌 대책들이 불황을 심화시키는 가운데 자본주의 세계경제는 이미 2019 하반기에 공황에 들어갔다. 진실은, 대공황의 원인이 과거의 다른 모든 대공황들의 원인과 같다는 것이다. 자본주의 기업의 광란적인 이윤 몰이가 거듭 되풀이해서 세계경제의 붕괴를 촉발한다는 사실 말이다.”

그리고 공세적 대응 강령으로서 다음과 같은 요구들을 제기했다.

“* 중국 스탈린주의-자본가 정권에 의한 우한 밖의 도시들에 있는 사람들에 대한 봉쇄 조치에 반대한다!

* 바이러스와 접촉했을 가능성이 있는 모든 사람들에 대한 체계적이고 온전한 건강검진 실시! 이러한 검진은 모든 이에게 무상 검진인 한편 의무 검진이어야 한다. 필요한 경우 격리 조치를 포함해야 하는 치료에 대해서도 동일한 방침이 적용되어야 한다.

* 중국으로부터 사람들에 대한 입국금지에 반대한다!

* 모든 여행자를 위한 건강검진 감염 사례가 발견될 경우 즉각적인 무상 의료 서비스 제공.

* 중국 전면 여행·무역 제한 반대!

* 중국인을 비롯한 아시아인 이주자를 겨냥한 일체의 혐오 캠페인을 중단시키기 위한 집회를 열자!

* 가능한 빠르게 치료와 예방접종을 개발하기 위해 전문가와 의료진들로 구성된 국제 팀을 만들라! 분야의 모든 발전은 세계 대중이 접근할 있어야 하며 노동자·민중 조직들에 의해 감시되고 통제되어야 한다.

* 추가 의료시설과 병원을 지어라! (의지가 있으면 그러한 건설사업이 얼마나 빨리 실현될 있는지를 중국은 보여주었다!)

* 공중위생을 보호하는 투쟁에서 필요한 모든 프로젝트들에 들어가는 자금은 부자들의 세금으로 조달해야 한다!

* 노동자통제 하에 제약회사들을 국유화하여, 중앙집중적이고 효과적인 방식으로 독감, 코로나바이러스, 콜레라, 에이즈 등과 같은 널리 퍼진 질병에 대한 치료약을 개발하는 자원을 활용하라!” (<코로나바이러스: 세계 배외주의 물결에 대항하자! - 노동자·피억압자: 지배계급과 그들의 언론을 믿지 말라!>).

물론, 우리는 세계 전체가 코로나 반혁명의 손아귀에 있던 2 동안 우리의 평가 분석과 프로그램을 걸음 발전시켰다. 그러나 우리의 기본 원칙, 반민주적 봉쇄 감시·통제 정책에 반대하여 노동자·민중의 통제를 받는