Some quite ironic news from China. In the past few months, the Chinese state has persecuted and effectively criminalized at least two Marxist reading groups at universities in the cities of Nanjing and Guangzhou.
In November 2017, police raided a Marxist reading group at the Guangdong University of Technology and arrested its six members. Of these, two were placed under detention as suspects for the crime of “gathering crowds to disrupt social order” (sic).
Later, two more young people involved with the reading group were also detained for the same charge. When news leaked about the detention of one of these participants, Zhang Yunfan, several prominent academics wrote an open letter calling for his release, which, despite censorship, was signed by over 400 people. After being held for a month, all four were released on bail and are still awaiting trial. In addition, four other participants in the reading group went underground after the police issued an arrest warrant for them.
Three months before that, in August 2017, ten cops had raided another Marxist reading group at Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, arresting several participants as suspects for the crime of “illegal multi-level marketing” and taking them to the police station. There, the police kept them overnight and repeatedly beat them during the interrogation. The police wanted to know the purpose behind reading Marxist texts. Although they were released, the police continued to harass the participants constantly, to the point that the reading group had to discontinue its activities.
In these incidents, students and other young people have been treated as criminals simply for reading Marxist texts, and their reading groups have been labeled “anti-party, anti-social organizations.” This is being done by police agents of a state supposedly guided by communist principals. Clearly they still remember what happened when “comrade” Mao, apaprently influenced by Marxism, “gathered crowds to distrupt social order”.
Source and image: 捍衛閱讀的權利：停止對左翼的迫害 Support the right to read: stop persecution of leftists