The Marxist Society of Peking University were getting ready to celebrate Mao's 125th birthday when the university administration abruptly deposed its leader, Qui Zhanxuan, and replaced the Society's leadership and upper cadres with 32 ringers largely drawn from the Communist Youth League or the Chinese Communist Party.
The ensuing student protests ("Give us back our Marxist student society, resist violence on campus") were violently suppressed, with protesters beaten and dragged away, and at least nine arrests, including Qui.
The takeover follows an earlier, unsuccessful attempt to shut down the society: in September, the revelation of a secret plan to de-charter the Society sparked protests that scuttled the plan.
It's part of a mounting internal struggle in China between Marxist student groups who object to the concentration of power and wealth into the hands of Party-connected oligarchs who run exploitative factories and other concerns, and the CCP, which — despite recent anti-corruption purges — is primarily a vehicle for ensuring political stability while China's plutocrats consolidate ever-larger shares of the nation's wealth into their hands, even as wildcat strikes sweep the nation.
The national crackdown on student organizers has been designed to terrorize Communist student movements who are too young to be held in line by memories of the massacre of student activists in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
The CCP regime, which has all but abandoned its socialistic phrase-mongering, is terrified at the prospect of students politicizing the struggles of workers. The CCP represents the interests the super-wealthy oligarchs who have been profiting from the processes of capitalist restoration since 1978 and is well aware that it is sitting on top of a social time bomb. Over the past 40 years, the social gulf between rich and poor has widened immensely, generating huge social tensions that now threaten to erupt as the country's economy slows markedly.
The CCP is determined to prevent a recurrence of the nation-wide protests that erupted in 1989 after students demonstrated in Tiananmen Square. The turning point in the protests came after they were joined by workers voicing their own class grievances. The regime violently suppressed the protest in Beijing and other cities. The repression was a signal to foreign investors that the CCP use all means to police the working class and capital flooded into the country.
University authorities suppress student protest in China [Peter Symonds/WSWS]