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Epoch Times Commentary on the Chinese Communist Party - Part I
What Is the Communist Party?
The Epoch Times
For over five thousand years, the Chinese people have created a splendid civilization on land nurtured by the Yellow River and Yangtze River. During this long period of time, dynasties have come and gone, and the Chinese culture has waxed and waned. Grand and moving stories have played out on the historical stage of China.
The year 1840, the year commonly considered by historians as the beginning of China’s contemporary era, marked the start of China’s journey from tradition to modernization. Chinese civilization experienced four major episodes of challenge and response. The first three episodes include the invasion of Beijing by the English-French allied force in the early 1860s, the Sino-Japanese war in 1894, and the Russo-Japanese war in China’s northeast in 1906. To these three episodes of challenge, China responded with the Westernization movement, which was marked by the importation of modern goods and weapons, institutional reforms through the Reform Movement of 1898 and the attempt at the end of the late Qing Dynasty to establish constitutional rule, and later, the Democratic Revolution of 1911.
At the end of the First World War, China, though it emerged victorious, was not listed among the stronger powers at that time. Many Chinese believed that the first three episodes of response had failed. The May-Fourth Movement would lead to the fourth attempt at responding to previous challenges and culminate in the complete westernization of Chinese culture through the communist movement and its extreme revolution.
This article concerns the impact on the civilization of China of the communist movement and the Communist Party. Looking at the history of China’s last 160 years, nearly one billion people have died unnatural deaths. After all that has happened to China’s traditional culture and civilization, whether chosen by the Chinese or imposed on China from the outside, what have been the consequences?
1. Relying on Violence and Terror to Gain and Maintain Power
“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the violent overthrow of all existing social conditions.” This quote is taken from the concluding paragraph of the Communist Manifesto, the Communist Party’s principle document. Violence is the one and only means by which the Communist Party gained power. This character trait has been passed on to all subsequent forms of the Party that have arisen since its birth.
In fact, the world’s first Communist Party was established many years after Karl Marx’s death. After the October Revolution in 1917, the “All Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik)” (later to be known as the “Communist Party of the Soviet Union”) was born. This party grew out of the use of violence against “class enemies” and was maintained through violence against Party members and ordinary citizens deemed traitors. During Stalin’s purges in the 1930s, the Soviet Communist party slaughtered over 20 million so-called spies and traitors, and those thought to have different opinions.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) first started as a branch of the Soviet Communist Party in the Third Communist International. Therefore, it naturally inherited the willingness to kill. During China’s first Communist-Kuomintang civil war between 1927 and 1936, the population in Jiangxi province dropped from over 20 million to about 10 million. The damage wrought by the use of violence can be seen from these figures alone.
Using violence may be unavoidable when attempting to gain political power, but there has never been a regime as eager to kill as the CCP, especially during otherwise peaceful periods. Since 1949, the number of deaths caused by CCP violence has surpassed the total deaths during the civil war waged between 1927 and 1949.
An excellent example of the Communist Party’s use of violence is its support of the Cambodian Khmer Rouge. Under the Khmer Rouge a quarter of Cambodia’s population, many of them of Chinese descent, were murdered. China still blocks the international community from putting the Khmer Rouge on trial, so as to cover up the CCP’s role in the genocide.
The CCP has close connections with some of the world’s most brutal political movements and regimes. In addition to the Khmer Rouge, these include the Communist Parties in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Burma, Laos, and Nepal- all of which have been supported by the CCP. Many leaders in these Communist Parties are Chinese; some of them are still hiding in China to this day.
Other Maoist-based Communist Parties include South America’s Shining Path and the Japanese Red Army, whose atrocities have been condemned by the world community.
One of the theories the communists employ is social Darwinism. The Communist Party applies Darwin’s inter-species competition to human relationships and human history, maintaining that class struggle is the only driving force for societal development. Struggle, therefore, became the primary “belief” of the Communist party, a tool in gaining and maintaining political control. Mao’s famous words plainly betray this logic of the survival of the fittest: “With 800 million people, how can it work without struggle?”
Another of Mao’s claims is similarly famous: that the Cultural Revolution should be conducted “every seven or eight years.” The CCP has used force repeatedly to terrify the Chinese people into submission. Every struggle and movement served as an exercise in terror, so that the Chinese people trembled in their hearts and gradually became enslaved under the CCP’s control.
Today, terrorism has become the main enemy of the civilized and free world. The CCP’s exercise of violent terror, thanks to the apparatus of the state, has been larger in scale, much longer lasting, and its results more devastating. Today, in the twenty-first century, we should not forget this inherited character of the Communist Party, since what the Party has been will determine what future it may have.
2. Using Lies to Justify Violence
The level of civilization can be measured by the degree to which violence is used in a regime. By resorting to the use of violence, the Communist regimes clearly represent a huge step backward in human civilization. Unfortunately, the Communist Party has been seen as progressive by those who believe that violence is a necessary means to societal advancement.
This acceptance of violence has to be viewed through the Communist Party’s second inherited character: the employment of deception and lies.
“Since a young age, we have thought of the US as a lovable country. We believe this is partly due to the fact that the US has never occupied another country, nor has it launched any attacks on China. More fundamentally, the Chinese people hold good impressions of the US based on its democratic and open-minded character.”
This excerpt came from an editorial published on July 4th, 1947 in the CCP’s official newspaper Xinhua Ribao, A mere three years later, the CCP sent soldiers to fight American troops in North Korea, painting the Americans as the most evil imperialists in the world. Every Chinese from mainland China would be surprised to read this editorial written over 50 years ago. The CCP has banned all publications quoting similar early passages.
Since coming to power, the CCP has employed lies in its elimination of counter-revolutionaries, the “cooperation” of public and private enterprises, the anti-rightist movement, the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square massacre, and most recently, the persecution of Falun Gong. The most infamous instance was the persecution of intellectuals in 1957. The CCP called on the intellectuals to offer their opinions, but then persecuted them as “rightists,” using their own speeches as evidence of their “crimes.” When some criticized the persecution as a conspiracy, or “plot in the dark,” Mao claimed publicly: “That is not a plot in the dark, but a stratagem in the open.”
Deception and lies have played a very important role in the CCP’s gaining and maintaining control. China enjoys the longest and most complete history in the world, and the Chinese, especially Chinese intellectuals, have long held a belief in using history to assess current reality and even to achieve personal spiritual improvement. To make history serve the current regime, the CCP has made a practice of altering and concealing historical truth. The CCP in its propaganda and publications has rewritten history for periods from as early as the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC) and the Warring States period (475-221 BC) to as recently as the Cultural Revolution. Such historical alterations have continued for the more than 50 years since 1949, and all efforts to restore historical truth have been blocked by the CCP.
When violence becomes too weak to sustain control, the CCP resorts to deception and lies, which serve to justify and mask the rule by violence.
We must admit that deception and lies were not invented by the Communist Party, but are an age-old indecency that the Communist Party has utilized without shame. The CCP promised land to the peasants, factories to the workers, freedom and democracy to the intellectuals, and peace to all. None of these promises has been realized. One generation of the Chinese died deceived and another generation continues to be cheated. This is the biggest sorrow of the Chinese people, the most unfortunate aspect of the Chinese nation.
3. Ever-changing Principles
The Communist Party typically alters its principles frequently. Since its establishment, the CCP has held 16 national representative meetings and modified the Party bylaws 16 times. In over five decades of control, the CCP has made five major modifications to the country’s Constitution.
The ideal of the Communist Party is social equality leading to a communist society. However, communist-controlled China has experienced rapidly expanding economic inequalities. Many CCP members have become rich, while millions of Chinese citizens are mired in poverty.
The guiding theories of the CCP have evolved from Marxism to Maoism, now including Deng’s thoughts and Jiang’s “Three Represents.” Marxism and Maoism are not at all compatible with Deng’s and Jiang’s ideologies- they are opposite to them. The hodgepodge of communist theories employed by the CCP is indeed a rarity in human history.
The Communist Party’s evolving principles have largely contradicted one another. From the idea of a global integration transcending the nation-state to today’s extreme nationalism, from eliminating all private ownership and all exploitative classes to today’s notion of promoting capitalists to join the party, yesterday’s principles have become reversed in today’s politics, with further change expected tomorrow. No matter how often the CCP changes its principles, the goal remains clear: gaining and maintaining power, and sustaining absolute control of the society.
In the history of the CCP, there have been more than ten movements that are “life and death” struggles. In reality, all of these struggles have coincided with the transfer of power following changes of basic Party principles.
Every change in principles has come from an inevitable crisis faced by the CCP, threatening its legitimacy and survival. Whether it be collaborating with the Kuomintang Party, pro-US foreign policy, economic reform and market expansion, or promoting nationalism—each of these decisions occurred at a moment of crisis, and all had to do with the solidifying of power. Every cycle of a group suffering persecution followed by reversal of that persecution has been connected with changes in the basic principles of the CCP.
A western proverb has it that truths are sustainable and lies mutable. There is wisdom in this saying.
4. How Party Principles Take the Place of Human Feeling
The CCP is a Leninist authoritarian regime. Since the inception of the party, three basic lines have been established, i.e., the political line, the intellectual line, and the organization line. The political line refers to setting up goals. The intellectual line refers to the Communist Party’s philosophical foundation. The organization line refers to how the goals are achieved. Both CCP members and those ruled by the CCP first and foremost receive commands; they are required to obey unconditionally. This is the content of the organization line.
In China, most people know about the double personalities of CCP members. In private settings, CCP members are ordinary human beings with feelings of happiness, anger, sorrow and joy. They possess ordinary human beings’ merits and shortcomings. They may be parents, husbands, wives, or friends. But placed above human nature and feelings are the Party principles, which, according to the requirements of the Communist Party, transcend humanity. Thus, humanity becomes relative and changeable, while Party principles become absolute, beyond any doubt or challenge.
During the Cultural Revolution, fathers and sons tortured each other, husbands and wives struggled with each other, students and teachers reported on each other, and mothers and daughters treated each other as enemies. Party principles motivated the conflicts and hatred. During the early period of CCP rule, some high-ranking CCP officials were helpless as their family members were labeled as class enemies. This, again, was driven by Party principles.
The power of the Party principles over the individual results from the CCP’s life-long course of indoctrination. This training starts in kindergarten, where party-sanctioned answers to questions are rewarded, answers that do not comply with common sense or a child’s human nature. From primary school to college, students receive political education that follows the principles of the Communist Party. Non-conformers are not allowed to pass and graduate.
A Party member must remain consistent with the Party line when speaking publicly, no matter how he feels privately. The organizational structure of the CCP is a gigantic pyramid, with the central power on top controlling the entire hierarchy. This unique structure is one of the most important features of the CCP regime, one that helps produce absolute conformity.
Today, the CCP has degenerated into a political entity struggling to maintain self-interest. It no longer pursues any of the lofty goals of communism. However, the organizational structure of communism remains, and its demand for unconditional conformity has not changed. This party, situating itself above humanity and human nature, removes any organizations or persons deemed detrimental to its own power, be it ordinary citizens or high-ranking CCP officials.
5. An Evil Specter Opposes Nature and Human Nature
Unlike the communist regime, non-communist societies, even those suffering under rigid totalitarian rule and a dictatorship, often allow some degree of self-organization and self-determination. Ancient Chinese society was in fact ruled according to a binary structure. In rural regions clans were the center of an independent social organization, while urban areas were organized around the guild. The top-down government did not extend below the county level.
The Nazi regime, whose cruelty equals that of the Communist Party, still allowed rights to private property. The communist regimes eradicated any forms of social organization independent of the Party, replacing them with highly centralized power structures.
If bottom-up social structures that allow for the self-determination of the individual or the group occur naturally, then the communist regime is anti-nature in its essence.
The Communist Party does not hold universal standards for human nature. The concepts of good and evil, as well as all laws and rules, are arbitrarily manipulated. Communists do not allow murder, except for those categorized as enemies by the Communist Party. Filial piety is welcomed, except for those parents deemed class enemies. Benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and faithfulness are all good, but not applicable when the Party is not willing or doesn’t want to consider these traditional virtues. The Communist Party is built on principles that oppose human nature.
Non-communist societies generally consider humanity’s dual nature of good and evil; they rely on fixed social contracts to maintain a balance in society. In communist societies, however, the very concept of human nature is denied, and neither good nor evil is acknowledged. Eliminating the concepts of good and evil, according to Marx, serves to completely overthrow the superstructure of the old society.
The Communist Party does not believe in god, nor does it even respect physical nature. “Battle with heaven, fight with the earth, struggle against human beings — life thus lived is full of joy.” This was the motto of the CCP during the Cultural Revolution. Great suffering was inflicted on the Chinese people and the land.
The Chinese traditionally believe in the unity of heaven and human beings. Laozi said in Dao de Jing, "Humans follow the earth, the earth follows heaven, heaven follows the Dao, and the Dao follows what is natural." Human beings and nature exist within a harmonious relationship in the continuous cosmos.
In the Communist Manifesto, Marx proclaimed that “In 1848, a specter is haunting Europe- the specter of Communism.” Over a century later, the Communist Party has revealed itself indeed to be an evil specter -against heaven, the earth, and human beings. It opposes the nature of the universe.
6. Some Features of Evil Possession
The Communist Party’s organs themselves never participate in productive or creative activities. Once they grasp power, they attach themselves to the people, controlling and manipulating them. They extend their power down to the most basic unit of society for fear of losing control. They monopolize the resources of production and extract wealth from the society.
In China, the CCP extends everywhere and controls everything, but nobody has seen the CCP’s accounting records, only accounting records for the state, local governments, and enterprises. From the central government to the village committees in rural areas, the municipal officials are always ranked lower than the communist cadres. The expenditures of the Party are supplied by the municipal units and accounted for in the municipal system.
The organization of the CCP gives form to evil. The CCP attaches to every tiny unit and penetrates deeply into every cell of the Chinese society, thereby controlling the Chinese people and draining their energy.
This peculiar structure of evil possession has existed in human history in the past, either partially or temporarily. Never has it operated for so long and controlled a society so completely as under the rule of the Communist Party.
For this reason, Chinese farmers live in poverty and drudgery. They have to support the traditional municipal officials as well as the many communist cadres.
For this reason, Chinese workers are threatened by unemployment. The possessing CCP has been extracting funds from their factories for many years.
For this reason, Chinese intellectuals find it so difficult to gain intellectual freedom. In addition to their administrators, there are CCP shadows lingering everywhere, doing nothing but monitoring people.
According to modern political science, power comes from three main sources: force, wealth, and knowledge. The Communist Party has never hesitated to use violence to rob people of their property. More importantly, they have deprived people of their freedoms of speech and of the press. The CCP’s evil possession controls society so tightly that it can hardly be compared to any other regime in the world.
7. Getting Rid of the CCP’s Control
All things under heaven experience a life cycle of birth, maturity, decay, and death.
Since Marx revealed the haunting by the communist specter more than a century ago, the Communist Party spread around the world like an epidemic, killing hundreds of millions of lives and taking away property and freedom.
The basic tenet of the Communist Party is to take away all private property so as to eliminate the exploitative class. Private property is the basis of all social rights, and often carries national culture. People who are robbed of private property also lose the freedom of mind and spirit. They may further lose the freedom to acquire social and political rights.
Facing a crisis of survival, the CCP was forced to reform China’s economy in the 1980s. Some of the rights to private property were restored to the people. This created a hole in the massive CCP machine of precise control. This hole has become enlarged as the CCP’s members strive to accumulate their private fortunes.
The CCP parasite, supported by force, deception and the frequent change of principles, has now shown signs of decay, nervous at every slight disturbance. It attempts to survive by accumulating more wealth and tightening control, but these actions only serve to intensify the crisis.
Today’s China appears prosperous, but social conflicts have been built up to a level never seen before. Using political techniques from the past, the CCP may attempt some sort of retreat, reversing its previous persecution of the Tiananmen Square democratic movement, or of Falun Gong, and making another group its chosen enemy, thereby continuing to exercise the power of terror.
Facing challenges over the past one hundred years, the Chinese nation has responded by importing weapons, reforming its systems, and enacting extreme and violent revolutions. Countless lives have been lost, and the Chinese traditional culture has been abandoned. It appears that the responses have failed. When agitation and anxiety occupied the Chinese mind, the CCP took the opportunity to enter the scene, and has controlled this ancient civilization ever since.
In future challenges, the Chinese people will inevitably have to choose again. No matter how the choice is made, every Chinese citizen must understand that any lingering hope in the CCP will only worsen the damage done to the Chinese nation and inject new energy into the possessing CCP.
We must abandon all illusions and make our own observations and decisions. Only then can we rid ourselves of the nightmarish control by the CCP over the last 50 years. In the name of a free nation, we can reestablish the Chinese civilization based on respect for human nature and compassion for all.
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