Word: this is something about the CPC that you can't really remind people of too much.
Qin’s refusal to pick a side in the often vitriolic debates between intellectual factions in China baffles mainland readers who are accustomed to seeing ’rightists’ and ‘leftists’. (On strategic uses of ’right’ and ‘left’ by both the party-state and intellectual combatants, see Geremie R. Barmé on ‘Totalitarian Nostalgia‘ and ‘New China Newspeak‘). Qin argues that the very particular ways in which the terms ‘right’ and ‘left’ are used in China makes them practically incoherent. According to Qin, whereas debates between the right and the left in the West reflect political differences on questions of liberty and welfare, in China, the government ‘imposes taxes like a left-wing government while displaying the stinginess of a right-wing government toward the people’. The result, as he puts it in a 2004 article for theSouthern Metropolis Daily, is that the world’s richest government ‘uses the left as an excuse to rob, and the right as a pretext to divide the spoils [among the rich and powerful]’.
That's from the profile of Qin Hui at the China Story, part of its ongoing series on the background and ideas of China's public intellectuals. This is also where China's style of governance meshes with modern thinking more generally: as governments become more authoritarian they become more likely to deprive citizens of welfare and associated political goods.