100 years of Chinese Communism
The Chinese Communist Party will celebrate its 100th anniversary on July 1 with fireworks and nationalist fervor, but this is no occasion to celebrate. The Party retains its iron grip on power, and is now the main threat to global freedom and democracy.
Note that we are talking about the Party here, not the Chinese people. They are not the same. The 95 million Party members have special privileges and rule over 1.4 billion under threat of arrest and ruin for dissent. “In the east, west, south and north, the party rules,” Chinese party leader and President Xi Jinping once said, echoing founder Mao Zedong.
The most important fact to never forget is the murderous history of the Party. The Communists withdrew to Yenan in the 1930s and left the Chinese nationalists of Chiang Kai-shek to lead most of the fighting against Japan during World War II. Mao then won the Civil War in 1949 and proceeded like all Communists to purge opponents and gain full control.
What followed were the bloodiest decades in world history, rivaled only by Stalin’s purges. The Great Leap Forward led to mass starvation. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao unleashed the Red Guards to torment anyone suspected of disloyalty or bourgeois tendencies. Millions of people were banished from the countryside, and during the Mao years millions of unknown Chinese died.
After Mao’s death, Deng Xiaoping won a power struggle and began the free market reforms that produced China’s fantastic economic growth. For a time, social and political controls relaxed. But the Party never gave up power, and in 1989 Deng crushed the democratic uprising in Tiananmen Square. China still censors even the word Tiananmen on search engines, often with the assent of Western tech companies.