Fifty-six years ago Saturday, on October 1, 1949, the Chinese Communist Party officially established the regime that would serve as their face to the outside world: the “People’s Republic of China.” In the ensuing years, it has traveled geopolitically from Soviet ally to Soviet rival, then to American de facto ally, then to American enemy, and finally to its current position as the lead anti-American, pro-terrorist regime on Earth. It has also appeared to traverse a lot of economic ground – from property seizer to property grantor to currently a combination of the two – while evolving into a regime almost totally dependent upon corruption to survive (Epoch Times).
Through it all, however, one thing has not changed: the unending brutality the Communists have imposed upon Chinese people – in whose name the regime was founded – and the mass murder that has come with it. In the half-century-plus of Communist rule in China, over 60 million Chinese have died (Commentary Seven, Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party).
That the Chinese Communist Party would kill so many should come as no surprise. Just after he led the Party to power, Mao Zedong made clear the preservation of the regime demanded the killing of “reactionaries.” He lamented that cadres throughout China “are not killing enough, especially in the large and mid-sized cities” (Commentary Seven), and exhorted lower-ranking Communists to “arrest and kill a large number and should not stop too soon” (Commentary Seven). He even set a kill figure of one in 1,000, meaning at the time that 600,000 Chinese had to die just to fulfill Mao’s criteria.
By 1952, the cadres had more than reached Mao’s minimum murder standard. The Party itself admitted nearly 2½ million dead; the number could have been as high as 5 million. That initial killing set the stage for total Communist control of China: “former local officials who had been selected through clan-based autonomy were eliminated;” “a huge amount of wealth was obtained by stealing and robbing;” and “civilians were terrorized by the brutal suppression against the landowners” (Commentary Seven).
By the end of the fifties, Mao had begun the “Great Leap Forward” – an attempt to turn the entire country into a collective set of home-grown steel factories. In the ensuing madness, peasants were forced “to leave their crops to rot in the field” (Commentary Seven). Of course, this didn’t stop the cadres from insisting fabulous crop yields, in keeping with the long history of fudged statistics local and provincial Communists would continue to send up to Beijing to this day. Only in this case, the cadres were so determined to make the numbers stand up that “grain rations, seeds and staple foods of the peasants were all confiscated” (Commentary Seven). Millions upon millions died as their food was taken by cadres determined to make Mao happy.
What did Mao do with all of that food? He did feed millions of people with it – in the Soviet Union. As discovered by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, authors of Mao: The Unknown Story, the seized grain “was being shipped to the Soviet Union, where it accounted for two-thirds of all food imports” (Time Asia) as part of a weapons-for-food deal Mao had with Moscow. Mao was so determined to get his hands of the weapons and military technology the Soviets were providing in the deal that he dismissively accepted the possibility that “Half of China may well have to die” (Time Asia). As it was, 38-40 million Chinese died for Mao’s military ambition by the end of famine in 1961.
Meanwhile, the people of Tibet, an independent nation first occupied by the Communists in 1950, faced their own carnage as their demands for freedom were brutally put down in 1959. The number of Tibetans killed during and after that day is now over one million.
The forced famine ended in 1961. Less than a decade later, Mao was at it again with the Cultural Revolution. In this carnage, the number who died was actually lower than during the famine (roughly 7.3 million died according to “Statistics compiled from county annals” – Commentary Seven), but Mao’s determination that “We need more violence” (Commentary Seven) was aimed at out-of-favor Party members, which made it impossible for future cadres to sweep it under the rug. Mao kept up the Cultural Revolution until the day he died in 1976.
Before he died, Communist China became a nuclear power, as dramatically demonstrated by nuclear tests. However, the tests were not conducted on China proper, but in East Turkestan, another independent nation the Communists occupied as it rose to power. Over 200,000 East Turkestanis died from the open-air nuclear tests.
After Mao’s death, Deng Xiaoping took control of the Communist regime. Word had it that Deng, himself a minor victim of Mao’s Cultural Revolution (after all, he lived), had been brought back by Mao rival Zhou Enlai, a fiction Deng exploited to present himself as a “reformer.” In fact, it was Mao himself who rehabilitated Deng (Washington Post), and Deng stayed true to his predecessor when it counted, in the spring of 1989.
Again, the past was prologue for Deng, who was more than willing to help Mao kill millions in the 1950s (Washington Post). By the spring of 1989, as one million took to Tiananmen Square demanding freedom, along with tens of millions of others in over 300 cities throughout China, Deng had “retired,” but still held the critical post of Chairman of the Central Military Commission. From this post, he overrode the Party General Secretary (Zhao Ziyang, who was soon to be placed under house arrest) and ordered troops into the square. At least 3,000 died in Tiananmen Square alone. To this day, no one knows how many died outside the square in Beijing, to say nothing of the other 300-plus cities that saw pro-democracy demonstrations.
In the aftermath of the massacre and Zhao’s removal, Deng and his cronies selected Jiang Zemin to lead the party, and eventually the regime as Deng declined in health. Jiang covered his tracks well, until the spring of 1999, when 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners suddenly and quietly appeared on Tiananmen Square to protest the Communist propaganda against them. Stunned at this display of numbers, Jiang banned the spiritual movement and created the gruesome 610 office to implement the crackdown. In less than a decade, “more than 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners have died as a result of torture” (Commentary Seven). While by itself it may seem small, it should be noted that Falun Gong is not the only faith the Communists continue to persecute. Tens of millions of Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists also risk jail, torture, and death because they refuse to let the Chinese Communist Party pollute their faith.
Jiang held on to the Central Military Commission Chair until last year, when he handed it over to Hu Jintao. Hu had less than two months to reveal himself to the Chinese people when 100,000 residents of Hanyuan County (Sichuan) staged a sit-in protest to stop construction of a hydroelectric dam that would flood the county’s most fertile farmland and leave the aforementioned residents homeless. The cadres, more interested in pocketing the relocation money owed the people and profiting through other graft from the dam construction, paid no attention.
Hu, however, paid close attention, and the demonstrators paid dearly. In November 2004, military and paramilitary units from all over Communist China were sent in to disperse the protestors with bullets. One source who witnessed the carnage put the death toll at “more than 10,000” (Voice of America via Epoch Times) – more than the deaths from Tiananmen Square, 9/11/01, and the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes combined.
Thus the Chinese Communist Party has come full circle. The regime that began with a tyrant who killed sixty to seventy million in less than thirty years is now led by a man who killed 10,000 in one day. As with the first killings, opponents and outside power forces are eliminated, booty is seized, and those who have survived are terrified into silence. Yet the last of these effects is growing thin. The cadres themselves admitted that over 74,000 protests occurred in Communist China last year (fifth item), and over 3¾ million people took part. Over 4½ million have responded to the Nine Commentaries by resigning from the Party in disgust. The people are growing less and less afraid.
So while the Communists celebrated the fifty-sixth birthday of the “People’s Republic,” the Chinese people are increasingly seeing it as we do: a day to mourn, not celebrate. With luck, the Chinese Communist Party won’t last long enough to celebrate next year.