Centenary Celebrations

Glitzy light show fails to hide the Party’s dark secrets

President Xi Jinping rewrites China’s history and eradicates the ‘atrocities’ that have been the hallmark of the CCP

You can nearly hear the propaganda machine grinding out the message from China’s autocratic Communist Party just days before its centenary anniversary.

The country’s state-run media is packed with chest-thumping rhetoric about the CCP, framed in “uplifting” prose. 

At the same time, it has carefully censored the “atrocities” committed during the Party’s rule since 1949. But then, air-brushing history has always been part of a continuous circle for the gray men in Beijing.  

“[President] Xi Jinping’s new history of Chinese communism has little room for criticism of Mao Zedong. In February, Xi issued a revised version of A Brief History of the Communist Party of China,” Paul Wolfowitz, the former United States diplomat, and Bill Drexel, of the American Enterprise Institute, wrote in a commentary for the Wall Street Journal on June 20.

“This edition plays down Mao’s atrocities, in particular softening the Party’s historic 1981 condemnation of the Cultural Revolution. That places Xi in the dubious company of dictators for whom ‘yesterday’s weather can be changed by decree’ – a power George Orwell attributed in 1942 to Franco, Stalin and Hitler,” they said.

The big bash

  • Fireworks resembling China’s red flag will cascade over Tiananmen Square in Beijing on July 1.
  • The square has gone down in the annals of infamy after the brutal repression of peaceful protests in 1989.
  • More than 30 years later, it is now closed to the general public until July 2.
  • Security and surveillance have also been ramped up in major cities across China.
  • New propaganda posters scream out across the country: “Without the Communist Party, there is no new China.”

Doublespeak: “China’s political system is China’s choice, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily contradictory to the Western political system,” Zheng Yongnian, of the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Shenzhen, said in a speech at the Party School of the Central Committee, as reported by state-controlled China Daily earlier this month.

Delve deeper: But it is not “China’s choice.” The Party has just 91 million members, according to CCP data, out of a population of nearly 1.4 billion. Since taking power, it has ruled without a mandate from the “people,” using fear to close down political debate.

Altered history: “Chinese youth receive years of official indoctrination about their country’s ‘century of humiliation’ by foreign powers beginning in the 19th century. But knowledge of the far greater damage Mao inflicted on his own subjects in the 20th century is buried,” Wolfowitz and Drexel pointed out in the Wall Street Journal. 

China Factor comment: The Party’s total grip on the media, the judiciary and academia have become its Achilles heel. It is gradually rotting from the inside out.

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