/ July 9, 2021
By John J. Metzler
Amid pomp, pageantry and proletarian parades, China’s President Xi Jinping kicked off festivities celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CCP).
The mass performances and political choreography, one of the things dictatorships seem to do so well, was held in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Dressed in the grey Mao-tunic reminiscent of times most Chinese would probably rather forget, Chairman Xi made a high octane nationalist speech to the 70,000 dutifully assembled faithful.
But along with the usual political slogans and bromides, the address went down a historic memory lane, “With the salvos of Russia's October Revolution in 1917, Marxism-Leninism was brought to China…The founding of a communist party in China was an epoch-making event, which profoundly changed the course of Chinese history in modern times.”
Indeed, when founded in Shanghai in 1921, the CCP was a conspiratorial group which largely grew in prominence during the war against the Japanese occupation and later the civil war with China’s Nationalist government.
The CCP regime came to power in 1949.
Following that period, China faced the trials and tribulations of Mao Zedong’s (Mao-tse tung) radical regime in which millions of Chinese died through the political crackdowns, ill-conceived industrialization campaigns, and rampant famines.
The brutal excesses of the so-called Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) in which Mao’s Red Guard zealots burned books, temples and became the Revolution’s rigid “thought police,” only then to be consumed by the fires of their own revolutionary excess and incompetence, were overlooked.
Not so surprisingly Xi Jinping praised the CCP’s proletarian pantheon which ruled China through terror for the regime’s first thirty years.
“Let us take this moment to cherish the memory of comrades Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Zhu De, Deng Xiaoping,” Comrade Xi intoned. He mentioned Chairman Mao a few times and interestingly mentioned Liu Shaoqi, the once disgraced and purged PRC head of state.
Following Deng Xiaoping’s reform era starting in 1978, China’s economy began to change for the better as hardline socialist practices were shelved in favor of pragmatism, especially in farming and small business.
Yet Xi stated clearly, “We must continue to adapt Marxism to the Chinese context. Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology upon which our Party and country are founded.” He added, “We must uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
Specifically, he outlined: “We will elevate our people's armed forces to world-class standards so that we are equipped with greater capacity and more reliable means for safeguarding our national sovereignty, security, and development interests.”
“We will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress, or subjugate us. Anyone who would attempt to do so will find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.” The less polite original version
warned ominously: “Anyone who dares to try, will find their heads bashed bloody against a great wall of steel.”
Regarding Hong Kong which has increasingly faced Beijing’s security crackdowns on its political rights, Xi stated, “While protecting China's sovereignty, security, and development interests, we will ensure social stability in Hong Kong and Macao.” In other words <em>Obey, Comrades!</em>
Taiwan the thriving island democracy which is routinely threatened and bullied by Beijing received a clear message; “Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China's complete reunification is a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China…. No one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Since it was the CCP being honored, let’s look for a moment at the institution which has total suffocating control over the Chinese Mainland:
“A century ago, at the time of its founding, the Communist Party of China had just over 50 members. Today, with more than 95 million members in a country of more than 1.4 billion people, it is the largest governing party in the world and enjoys tremendous international influence.”
In other words, approximately seven percent of the population maintains one party rule over 100 percent of China's people!
Matters not mentioned during Xi’s address: The “events” in the Wuhan laboratory through which a global pandemic began that killed more than 4 million people, caused widespread economic destitution and continues.
Not a peep.
The persecuted Uighurs in Xinjiang?
Xi’s far-ranging speech outlined a troubling world vision for what he calls the China Dream. This dream is partially being made a reality by massive foreign investment, technology-sharing and trade. Have we noticed?
John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues. He is the author of Divided Dynamism the Diplomacy of Separated Nations: Germany, Korea, China (2014).
Free Press International