On July 1, the Chinese Communist Party celebrated 100 years of its inception. Congratulations to them. As the world watched the carefully curated visuals, did the presence of the armed forces intrigue you? Did it not make you wonder that if it is a celebration of a political party, what are the forces doing there? Fact is that the PLA or the People’s Liberation Army is the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party or CCP. So technically, China doesn’t have its own military.
The world’s most populous nation does not have a military that swears allegiance to the country. Its armed forces have sworn their allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party. So, if asked to choose between nation and party, what do you think a PLA soldier will choose? Compare that to any constitutional democracy across the world, India, the US, Australia, the UK, France, South Africa, Brazil, pick any. A soldier from any of these nations or any other nation will choose their country.
This is what the CCP has done to a nation whose civilizational roots date back thousands of years. In the last 100 years, it has systematically taken control of everything and concentrated the power in the hands of a select few who enforce their will upon a billion-plus people. What is so Socialist or Communist about it then? The CCP is capitalist, authoritarian, dictatorial and intolerant. The CCP has used the sweat and labour of the people of China to further its wealth and domination. It has ruthlessly eliminated dissenters, schematically engineered demographic genocide and forcibly occupied territories. All in the name of restoring China’s glory. It is a false narrative. As Xi Jinping ushered in 100 years of the party and urged the Chinese to take pride in the CCP’s achievements, the world has seen through the deception. China under Xi is battling the worst perception as a nation, globally. Democracies have a highly negative view of the Chinese. The Pew Research Center study is self explanatory.
Pew Research on China’s image, released on June 30, 2021
China’s international image remains broadly negative; unfavorable views of China in advance economies:
• 88% in Japan
• 80% in Sweden
• 78% in Australia
• 77% in South Korea
• 76% in the United States
In 17 of the most advanced economies surveyed, it is a historic high in unfavourable perception of China under Xi-led CCP. Here is a short list of some of the charges against the CCP:
The China chargesheet
-COVID-19 is seen as a CCP plot: deliberately allowed the virus to spread and become a global pandemic
- Territorial disputes with more than two dozen nations—proof of salami slicing
- More than 40% of its current claimed land area is forcibly occupied territory, including East Turkestan and Tibet
• Human Rights Violations
- Exiled Tibetan leader The Dalai Lama says 1.2 million Tibetans killed by PLA
- Estimates peg anywhere between 1 million and 3 million Uighurs incarcerated in ‘cleansing’ camps
- Forced labour being extracted from ethnic minorities in sweatshops across China
- Relocating and promoting Han Chinese over Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims
- Demographic genocide in Inner Mongolia with near-wipe out of local ethnic groups
• Banned and persecuted Falun Gong followers, a spiritual cult inspired by ancient Chinese practices
- The spiritual cult had grown to have more than a million followers
- CCP feared its ‘free will’ promoting ideology and fast-growing popularity would sow the seeds of democracy
• Said to be a centre for global illegal organ harvesting
• Ethnic and religious minorities including Falun Gong followers used for organ harvesting
The CCP’s push for Comprehensive National Power has seen it employ ‘unrestricted’ means to achieve the same. Nations across the world have felt the pinch of the Debt Trap. Others are waking up to the machinations of the CCP as its cadre swoops in to control their education, entertainment, travel, technology and communications.
There is a rising consciousness amongst democracies of the world that unless the CCP is halted in its march it will enforce a New World Order. It will sell to gullible nations and leaders its model of absolute domination and authoritarianism. The CCP believes this is the most effective model to govern. This ‘forget the brutality’, look at the ‘results’ model is a blot on humanity. This must be challenged and the constitutional democracies of the world have to do it. Meanwhile, there is a growing middle class in China which while enjoying the current wave of prosperity is also realising that it deserves more freedom. This will also usher in a renewed push for democracy. So far, pro-democracy movements have been brutally quelled by the Communists. Hundred years of CCP is an apt time to revisit some of them in the recent past.
Pro-democracy vibes in China that saw Tiananmen Massacre on June 4, 1989
• 1979: Economic liberalization begins in China by Deng Xiaoping.
• Calling the shots for investment: low-cost Chinese venues and cheap labour and its large domestic market size
• But economic liberalization means getting engaged with free, democratic countries that usually ignored China for being single party ruled Communist country
• So what China did: it pushed the message globally that it was gearing for greater economic and political reforms
• China of the 1980s saw a new social class emerge, including students, many of them foreign returnees, who had seen a different, free and democratic world
• Their demand for greater democratic norms was supported by a reform-oriented section of CCP
• But hardliners were dead against it, sensed an opportunity in a two month-long student/activist-led pro-democracy protest against the CCP in 1989
• And got an upper hand that resulted in Tiananmen Massacre, which as per the UK cables’ estimates killed around 10,000 pro-democracy protesters
China’s Jasmine Revolution
• 2011 Chinese pro-democracy protests
• Inspired by the Middle East uprisings
• Pushed by Chinese activists living abroad
• Weekly street actions in over a dozen cities in mainland China
• Considered a failure, was only made up of small protests
• Police suppressed it brutally, a US journalist punched, 12+ journalists manhandled
Add to this, the shutting down of the largest pro-democracy publication in Hong Kong recently. As Xi Jinping advances the timeline for total dominance to 2035 (The CCP government in China completes 100 years on October 1, 2049 but Xi will be 96 by then and may not live to see the day), the chorus against CCP is only growing. Already more than 370 million Chinese are saying ‘Tuidang’—China is not CCP and CCP is not China. In the CCP system, roughly 94 million people decide the fate of 1.4 billion-plus people. And, 370 million-plus have already rejected this system. Democracy lovers globally wish for this tribe to grow. The world wishes for 100 years of Tuidang in China.