An Anniversary to Regret

By: Daniel Nardini

As June 4th approaches, I deeply regret this twenty-second anniversary of the Beijing massacre in 1989 simply because I was there. But this year I just as much regret another anniversary connected to why the Beijing massacre occurred. It was 90 years ago this year that the Communist Party of China was founded. The party was founded by Li li San and Mao Zedong among others in Shanghai in 1921.

The Chinese Communist Party was too small and had too few members to have any impact on the developments taking place in China at the time. Because of this the party was sort-of merged with the much larger Nationalist Party of China in a united front to try and unify the country against the warlords. The alliance worked and the majority of China was unified by 1927. In 1925, the leader of the Nationalists, Sun Yatsen, died. He was succeeded by Chiang Kai-shek who deeply hated and suspected the Communists. In 1927 he slaughtered most of them, and the story would have ended there.

But a few remnants had survived and they rebuilt the party and began to grow. This was not hard at the time because China was in chaos, and the Nationalists did not know how to deal with China’s problems. Worse, the Nationalists did not know how to help the poor peasants which is where the Communists drew their strength from. Because of this the Communists were able to gain support and people to fight for the Communist cause. In the Chinese civil war (1946-1949) just after World War II, the Nationalists stood no chance against the Communist juggernaut and fled to Taiwan where they remain to this day.

The Chinese Communists had succeeded in uniting China for the first time in close to a generation. But that unity would give way to terror unbound and truly disastrous policies. In the first years of Communist rule, the government killed 6 million “rich peasants” and confiscated their lands. From 1958 to 1961, the government launched a crash-course industrialization program that also exhorted the people to grow more food as well. Not only was the industrialization program a total failure, but there was widespread crop failures due to this policy. The result was a man-made famine that killed 30 million people—the worst famine in history. As if the country was not suffering enough from this, Chairman Mao Zedong, ruler of the Communist Party, launched the Great Proletarian Revolution from 1966-1969 which sent China into total chaos and killed millions more. Even Li li San, driven to despair during that time, is said to have committed suicide.

Even after Mao Zedong’s death, it is estimated that a couple of million have died from Communist rule from 1976 to the present. This includes the Beijing massacre in 1989 and the brutal suppression of the Falun Gong in 1999. The Communist Party runs the police, the armed forces, the judiciary, and the vast prison system. It rules Tibet, which was an independent country before the Chinese Communists marched into it in 1950. Even as I speak the government is committing cultural genocide against the Tibetan people. The Communist Party allows at this point certain freedom of religion. However, its secret police can and do arrest and imprison people for their political and religious beliefs. We cannot guess how many political or religious prisoners there are, but they run into the hundreds of thousands.

To complicate things, the Communist Party threatens to take Taiwan by force, and is building up its armed forces with the most sophisticated technology and weaponry possible to maybe achieve this. China’s armed forces are the largest in terms of manpower, and its navy is the second largest in the world. Given all of this, many people, both in China and outside of it, deeply regret that the Communist Party exists and has a full monopoly on power in that to this day. There are no other political parties in China, and to this day the Communist Party controls all forms of communication in the country. Under these circumstances, this is one anniversary not worth celebrating.

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