If you're the cadres, that's supposed to be fantastic news, a sign that they have finally arrived as an institution that can be accepted and celebrated. Now, New Yorkers and Americans can look at the skyscraper and marvel at the oceans of blood spilled in their name.
If that sounds a little odd, it's because things haven't quite gone according to plan.
The Empire State had barely turned on the CCP lights before Fox News was wading through a smorgasbord of furious anger from tourists, a historian, and a local Congressman (Anthony Weiner). So, instead of "oohs" and "ahs," the cadres are reading this:
"I think it's a bad idea," said Dick Paasch, 69, from Billings, Montana. "The Chinese Revolution ... in the years 1958-1960, there were something like 26 million people starved to death. Why would we want to celebrate something like that?"Um, that wasn't supposed to happen.
"China gets treatment that other dictatorships can only dream of — a free pass on human rights," said Arthur Waldron, a history professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
"Would we have lit the Empire State Building for the USSR knowing what we
do about the Gulag?"
New York politicians have paid notice as well, and say they are let down by the light-up. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., said it was a mistake to pay tribute to what he
called "a nation with a shameful history on human rights."
Even worse for the cadres, their 60 years of rule have been permanently linked with another number: its 72 million victims. That certainly wasn't part of the plan, but it has darkened any celebration.
In fact, no matter where one looks (the aforementioned Fox News, Associated Press, The New York Times, National Review Online, U.S. News and World Report, NBC, etc.), the "celebration" is given so perfunctory quotes while the anger and outrage gets a majority of the coverage.
Of course, the real purpose of the lighting - to ensure the Chinese people are told how much the rest of the world loves the CCP - was a smashing success. So long as the peasants, migrant workers, prisoners, and appellants don't see the seething of the American people, it's all systems go for the demoralizing propaganda.
Keep in mind, stuff like this isn't about Chinese pride; it's about debasement. It's about keeping the Chinese people scared, isolated, and quiet. It's about making sure they have no idea that the people of the democratic world would love to see them rise up and take their country back.
Still, that would have been a lot easier had the red-and-yellow vibe lasted longer than a New York minute. Now the cadres will have to keep an even tighter grip on its contacts with the outside world. All nations dealing with it will have to be even more intrusive within its own borders so as not to "offend Chinese dignitaries."
All of this brings inevitably closer the day when the democratic world throws up its hands in exasperation - the exact opposite of the long-term objectives stemming from the 60th anniversary.
If anything, here in this country, the Empire State fiasco revealed an anti-Communist majority as strong as it ever was - if only one of the political parties would step up to represent them.
The American and Chinese peoples are still waiting.