It may come as a surprise that even in 2023, there are still communist countries out there in the world. Founded on the principles of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the Communist doctrine was first applied to a country more than a century ago.
Meanwhile, it became clear to the world that the communist regime could not be prosperous. As a result, the communist governments in the entire Eastern Bloc of Europe collapsed due to major riots in 1989. At that time, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria became devoided of their communist regime. Two years later, in 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed, putting an end to communism in that country as well.
But even nowadays, there are still a few countries out there in the world that have chosen to say “yes” to communism for one reason or another. Let’s see which are those countries!
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established in 1949 under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and it pursued Marxist-Leninist ideals. While the Great Leap Forward (1958-1961) and Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) of Mao Zedong aimed at radical societal transformation, economic setbacks and upheaval also took place.
Deng Xiaoping had some reforms in the late 1970s that ushered in a socialist market economy, propelling China into an economic power source.
The post-Deng era under leaders such as Xi Jinping saw a concentration of political power and the assertive global role of China, maintaining the CCP’s ideological control while embracing economic modernization.
China remains the most populated country on Earth, as more than 1.4 billion people live there.
Established back in 1948, North Korea, led by the Workers’ Party under the Kim Dynasty, adopts the Juche ideology that emphasizes self-reliance. Despite dealing with international isolation and economic struggles, the regime has chosen to prioritize its nuclear program. Political repression, human rights abuses, as well as state-controlled propaganda are practically everywhere in North Korea, while there are also reports of political prison camps.
The communist country of North Korea also faces food shortages, while international sanctions compound economic challenges. More than 25 million people live in North Korea.
The authoritarian rule of the Kim family has created a closed and rightly controlled society, raising major concerns about the well-being and freedom of the people who live in North Korea.
Cuba has been governed by the Communist Party since 1959, and it faces economic challenges and strict political control. The one-party state is led by the Cuban Communist Party, and it’s known for limiting political freedom, suppressing dissent, and restricting access to information. The country’s economic struggles under a socialist system, leading to shortages of basic goods.
Protests and dissent in Cuba, a country with more than 11 million people, are often treated by the government with harsh crackdowns, leading to international voices debating the impact of the communist regime on the freedom and well-being of the Cuban population.
Vietnam, a country of almost 100 million souls, has been under the Communist Party’s rule since 1975, and despite the fact that the Asian country has experienced some level of economic growth, it maintains tight political control. The economic reforms brought prosperity, but even so, the one-party system restricted political freedoms, media, and peaceful assembly.
Human rights concerns regarding the communist regime in Vietnam include suppression of dissent, limited religious freedom, as well as restricted access to information. However, it’s also true that the country has been through some advancements when it comes to healthcare and education.
About 7.4 million people currently live in Laos, a country that has been governed by the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party since 1975. The country operates under a one-party socialist system, and while the economy has been through some level of progress, political freedoms are restricted, and concerns regarding human rights persist.
The government in Laos tightly controls the media and suppresses voices who don’t share the same perspectives, severely limiting freedom of expression. The population faces challenges when it comes to exercising political freedoms, while criticism of the regime is often met with pretty harsh consequences.
The main principles of communism, as formulated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, include a classless society, collective ownership and means of production, abolition of private property, social equality, a stateless society, and communal living and cooperation.