Dogfight among Social-Imperialists


A telling attack on the Chinese regime by the Japanese Communist Party


by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 14 February 2020,




The Japanese Communist Party (JCP) adopted important changes in its programmatic platform at its recently held 28th Congress in January 2020. Among these changes was a highly critical assessment of the policy of the Chinese Communist Party, i.e. the ruling regime on Beijing.


In a resolution, the JCP denounced China’s “great-power chauvinism and hegemonism”. Connected with this, it deleted the following praise of the Chinese Stalinist regime in program which stated: “It is important to note that today, several countries that broke away from capitalism are beginning a new quest for socialism, including the effort to ‘achieve socialism through a market economy’, although they still have political and economic problems to solve. This constitutes a historically significant current in the 21st century as an effort that covers vast regions with a total population of more than 1.3 billion.[1]


In a speech at a convention in preparation of the Congress, Shii Kazuo, the JCP’s Chairman, also expressed the party’s concerns that the “peaceful demonstrations calling for freedom and democracy began in Hong Kong” are met with “Hong Kong government’s repressive measures and the Chinese government’s complete support for them and its own intimidation against protestors by use of force”. Furthermore, the JCP is “deeply concerned that arbitrary detention and other human rights violations have been conducted on an extensive scale by Chinese authorities in the Uyghur Autonomous Region.” Hence, “the JCP strongly urges Chinese authorities to stop suppressing their human rights.


As those familiar with the RCIT’s programmatic objectives are aware, we have characterized China since 2010 as an imperialist Great Power and elaborated on this in various books, pamphlets and articles. [2] Likewise, we have stated repeatedly our solidarity with the mass protests in Hong Kong [3] as well as our unconditional support with the Muslim Uyghurs who face brutal national oppression by the Stalinist-capitalist dictatorship. [4]


As a matter of fact, it is shameful that it took the JCP so long to recognize these obvious truths!




A staunch defender of Japanese imperialism




Nevertheless, one could say “better late than never”. However, that would be a complete misjudgment of the nature of the JCP’s attack on the Chinese regime. The Japanese Stalinists are not at all motivated by any sincere anti-imperialist or internationalist critique of the Chinese regime.


As we elaborated in detail in our book “Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry” the JCP is a social-chauvinist defender of Japanese imperialism. Throughout its history since 1945 until today, it has considered Japan as a country nationally oppressed by the U.S. imperialism. Hence, according to the JCP’s actual program: “A change Japanese society needs at present is a democratic revolution instead of a socialist revolution. It is a revolution that puts an end to Japan's extraordinary subordination to the United States and the tyrannical rule of large corporations and business circles, a revolution that secures Japan's genuine independence and carries out democratic reforms in politics, the economy, and society.


In other words, the JCP calls for the creation of a capitalist Japan since without a socialist revolution – which the JCP rejects – the country will remain capitalist. A capitalist Japan means nothing but an imperialist Japan. According to the same program, such an independent imperialist Japan would continue to act as an ally of U.S. imperialism. “Japan will conclude a friendship treaty with the United States on an equal footing.


As a staunch defender of Japanese imperialism, the JCP support all territorial claims of Tokyo. Such it demands in its actual program “the return to Japan of the Chishima (Kurile) Islands as well as the Habomai Islands and Shikotan Island, which are historically part of Japan.” The Kurile se islands have been controlled by the USSR resp. Russia since 1945. The Senkaku/Diaoyu-islands were handed over to Japan by U.S. imperialism in 1972. However, these islands are also claimed by China and, as a result, there have been heated tensions between the two powers in 2012. [5] Similar in the case of Japans claims over the Dokdo/Takeshima Island which was robbed by Japanese imperialism from Korea in 1905 and is also claimed since long by South Korea.


The JCP’s social-imperialist character is also demonstrated by the fact that it sharply denounces North Korea’s attempts to improve its armament. These attempts are legitimate given the long-term aggression of U.S. imperialism on the Korean Peninsula. Nevertheless, the JCP “strongly condemns North Korea’s reckless action. (...) The JCP strongly demands that North Korea comply with the UNSC resolutions and stop engaging in any further military provocations.[6] It even goes so far to demand explicitly the implementation of the hunger blockade against North Korea calling for “the strict implementation of increased economic sanctions against the country.” [7]


It is also characteristically how JCP’s chairman explains when the China became such a reactionary force. Shii said in a speech to the above mentioned convention: “Regarding the question "when," we recognize that the problem with China’s behavior in international relations started to appear around the end of the Hu Jintao administration and the early stage of the Xi Jinping administration, or around 2008 and 2009. It was in 2009 that China showed its reluctance to straightforwardly commit to the abolition of nuclear weapons by shelving it as its "ultimate goal" on the international stage. It was in 2008 that it took the first act of letting their public vessels intrude into Japan’s territorial waters of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. It was in 2009 that it began to publicly claim its rights over almost the entire South China Sea.


These remarks reflect that the JCP’s real motivation of its new found denunciation of China’s “new type of great-power chauvinism and hegemonism”. The JCP leadership considers China to become imperialist from the moment when it confronted Japan’s territorial claims and its political and economic influence in the region!


In other words, the JCP’s sharp denunciation of “China's great power chauvinism and hegemonism” is not motivated by any principled anti-imperialism and internationalism. It is rather motivated by its staunch defense of Japanese imperialism and its regional and global interests!






Many “friends”




It is also noteworthy that the JCP is not a small, isolated Stalinist party. In fact, it is a sizeable force which has officially about 300,000 member and 20,000 branches across the country. At the elections for the House of Representatives in the 2017, the JCP received 4.4 million votes, or 7.91%. And in the 2016 election for the House of Councilors, the party got 6.02 million votes, or 10.74%. It entertains friendly relations to various other reformist and Stalinist parties including some which dominate or participate in capitalist government. According to the JCP press service, the congress received official greetings from Communist Parties of “Britain, Iraq, Greece, Chile, Vietnam, and Portugal; the Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL), the Broad Front in Costa Rica, the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in Nicaragua, the Hungarian Workers' Party, the Citizenship Party in Brazil, the Workers' Party in Brazil, and the Workers' Party of Belgium. [8]


It is not without irony that several of these parties have also close links with the JCP’s new opponent – the Chinese Stalinist-capitalist party. Well, as they say in the world of the bourgeoisie, “this is political business.




Desire to become a ruling party soon




Finally, it is also noteworthy why the JCP leadership is changing its program and announcing its opposition against the former fraternal comrades in China at this particular moment. The real motivation for this timing is revealed in another decision of the JCP. In its program the party states that “the JCP fights to establish a democratic coalition government supported by a parliamentary majority. (…) A democratic coalition government will be based on a democratic alliance of all strata of the people including workers, working citizens, farmers, fishers, small- and medium-sized entrepreneurs, intellectuals, women, youth, and students, as well as their organizations.


The JCP leadership considers that it has now a realistic chance to enter the government in the foreseeable future. Hence, a resolution adopted at the party 28th Congress states: “The party convention accused Abe of overseeing Japan’s “worst-ever political tyranny” and demanded that he not be permitted to remain in office. To achieve that aim, the party underlined its commitment to working with other opposition parties to form a coalition to overthrow the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, something it has avoided in the past.[9]


Hence, the JCP’s sudden insight in “China's great power chauvinism” is motivated by its desire to become as soon as possible a ruling party of Japanese imperialism. With such aspirations it feels obligated to demonstrate to the monopoly bourgeoisie that it is a reliable guardian of Japan’s imperialist interests.


In summary, the JCP’s denunciation of its former Chinese Stalinist comrades has nothing to do with Marxism or anti-imperialism. This conflict represents rather a dogfight among social-imperialists.




[1] All quotes are taken from these documents: Program of the Japanese Communist Party, Adopted on January 17, 2004 at the JCP 23rd Congress, Revised on January 18, 2020 at the JCP 28th Congress,; JCP: The draft text of the amendments to the JCP Program,; Shii Kazuo: The report on the proposal for the partial revision of the JCP Program, November 4, 2019, Tokyo; Shii Kazuo: The closing remarks on discussion of the proposal for the partial revision of the JCP Program, November, 5, 2019,; Julian Ryall: Chinese Communist Party’s ‘chauvinism’ a threat to peace: Japanese counterpart, 20 Jan, 2020

[2] On the RCIT’s analysis of the Great Power rivalry and China’s rise as emerging imperialist powers see the literature mentioned in the special sub-section on our website: In particular we refer to 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, January 2019, See also, by the same author, The China-India Conflict: Its Causes and Consequences. What are the background and the nature of the tensions between China and India in the Sikkim border region? What should be the tactical conclusions for Socialists and Activists of the Liberation Movements? 18 August 2017, Revolutionary Communism No. 71, The China Question and the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, December 2014,; China‘s transformation into an imperialist power. A study of the economic, political and military aspects of China as a Great Power, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 4,

[3] See on this RCIT: China: Solidarity with the General Strike in Hong Kong! For an international solidarity movement as the Stalinist-Capitalist regime in Beijing prepares a brutal crackdown! 01 August 2019,; China: Long Live the Popular Uprising in Hong Kong! After protestors storm the parliament: general strike against the extradition bill and the Lam Administration! 03 July 2019,; China: Mass Protests against Reactionary “Extradition Law” in Hong Kong. For an indefinite general strike to kill the bill and to bring down the Administration of Carrie Lam! 18 June 2019,

[4] See on this Michael Pröbsting: China: Defend the Muslim Uyghurs against Oppression! 18.10.2018,; Michael Pröbsting: 37 Signatures Are Worth a Thousand Words. On a letter of 37 states, including Muslim countries, sent to the United Nations defending China's treatment of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, 16 July 2019,

[5] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: No to chauvinist war-mongering by Japanese and Chinese imperialism! 23.9.2012,

[6] Kazuo Shii: JCP strongly condemns North Korea’s ballistic missile launch and again calls for immediate direct talks to overcome the current crisis, November 29, 2017,

[7] Kazuo Shii: N. Korea’s missile launch, August 30, 2017

[8] JCP Congress ends with unanimous adoption of 3 drafts, 19 January 2020,

[9] Julian Ryall: Chinese Communist Party’s ‘chauvinism’ a threat to peace: Japanese counterpart, 20 Jan, 2020