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The events of the past few months in village of Taishi (Guangdong Province) have wiped out the stream of Communist lies about “village elections.” What began as a ruse to fool the Chinese people and the Western world into thinking the Communists were amenable to democracy has become yet another example of Communist deception, corruption, and brutality.
The tale of Taishi began this past summer when villagers, angry at missing public funds totaling roughly $12 million, attempted to recall their village leader, Chen Jinshen. They soon found that Chen “tried to change the records in the municipal accounting book” (Epoch Times). In response, the villagers began to guard the book itself. Meanwhile, a recall petition was launched against Chen and the village council, chosen earlier in the aforementioned “village elections.” The villagers easily acquired the minimum number of signatures to trigger a recall (Boxun).
The Communist reaction was swift. At first, it was just local cadres, who “searched in the village for the signers of the petition, forcing them to withdraw their signatures” (Epoch Times), until “several hundred villagers confronted the officials, who had to leave.” Next, the cadres “started kidnapping the campaign organizers,” and after the abductions spawned more protests, they “sent over 500 riot police armed with shields to confront the villagers.”
On September 12th, the villagers were still guarding the accounting book. On that day, the Communists in Fanyu District (of which Taishi is a part) decided to put an end to it once and for all. They sent in almost 1,000 cops to Taishi with water cannons to disperse the crowd and seize the book. The next day, Guo Feixiong, an attorney who was helping the villagers, disappeared. It was nearly two weeks before anyone knew where he was: inside a Communist prison. He remains there to this day –– and is now on a hunger strike in protest of the cadres’ brutal treatment of him.
Amazingly, despite the Communists’ emulation of Bull Connor, the determined people of Taishi held an election on the 16th, and rejected the Communists’ slate for their own candidates. Within a week the village’s choices were forced to quit due to threats from local cadres.
As word of the Communists’ open violation of their own “election law” continued to spread, a foreign reporter (Benjamin Joffe-Walt of Britain’s Guardian) decided to see the situation for himself, bringing Lu Banglie, an activist from Hubei Province, along with him. They never made it to Taishi; they were stopped on the outskirts by a Communist-inspired mob that seized upon Lu and “beat him until he was lifeless” (miraculously, Lu survived). Later, the mob ringleader joined several cadres at Joffe-Walt’s interrogation, making it abundantly clear just who inspired them.
Why would the Communists be so determined to stop this small village from following the very laws they put in place? Radio Free Asia (via Epoch Times) revealed the answer.
The truth is that a victory in Taishi would have thrown into question the legality of a whole slew of similar property deals right across the Pearl River Delta region. Because an awful lot of property there is built on illegally acquired land in which the original land-rights holders—the farmers—had not consented to these transactions. The fierce reaction by the Guangdong authorities to the Taishi campaign shows just how clearly they realize that the Taishi issue is not an isolated phenomenon.
So, once again, the need to preserve the corruption that lies at the heart of the Chinese Communist Party has trumped everything, even the best political camouflage the regime ever had.
Villagers reported a “white terror” campaign by township and district officials, who used personal and family ties, threats, banquets and a door-to-door signature campaign to derail support for Chen’s recall. They said many villagers were persuaded to abandon their campaign in return for the release of detained fellow protesters, many of whom were in their seventies and eighties.
For years, the Chinese Communist Party has basked in the glow of its vaunted “village elections” – tiny, illusory footholds for democracy used by the cadres to provide cover for their numerous crimes against political dissidents, ethnic minorities, and religious groups that refuse to let the Communists pollute their faith. Even before Taishi, the more observant among us could see through the façade, what with the arrests of genuinely popular village leaders (Epoch Times) and over half the elected councils erased by cadres unwilling to lose their power (Washington Post). However, to the casual ear, the “village elections” still sounded like the first step toward a peaceful transition to democracy. That was, of course, before, Taishi.
The Communists can no longer pull the wool over the world’s eyes. Their real priorities and objectives have been on display for all to see in Taishi: corruption, control, and protection of fellow cadres above all else. Once again, the Chinese Communist Party has, through its own brutality, proven beyond any doubt the need for its own destruction.