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The CCP rules China through lies, sophistry, and violence

A Taiwanese youth who had worked in Shanghai for four years once told me that, when she read books in the bookstore during her leisure time, she would often find herself thinking: these books were abridged; when going to the movies, she thought: these were cuts. With incomplete content and no information about its validity, China has become a country which promulgates unknown truths and a lack of trust in the 72 years since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The lies of the CCP present themselves in many forms, some of which do not give answers or explain the reasons for the decision. Some key examples include the 10-year Cultural Revolution that began in 1966, as well as the infamous June Fourth incident when the People’s Liberation Army shot and suppressed students in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

How many people died during this tragedy? There is no official answer. Officials do not want this information documented, as it is forbidden should it damage the glorious history of the party. Even a mention of the Cultural Revolution is still a forbidden area for research purposes.

From 1958 to 1960, the CCP promoted the “Great Leap Forward” socialist construction, a violation of human nature and scientific practices. While various localities scrambled to report amazing breakthroughs in production capacity and harvesting, it in fact resulted in a three-year famine. Yang Jisheng, a retired reporter from Xinhua News Agency, wrote a book called ‘Tombstone’, which demonstrated that 36 million people died due to famine. However, to this day ‘Tombstone’ cannot be published in China, and the great famine caused by the three-year institutional mistake is misclassified as the “three-year natural disaster” in history textbooks of China.

According to the well-known sinologist Eugene Perry Link, Jr., who taught at the University of California, Riverside, these lies affect the new generation of Chinese citizens and confuse their perceptions. He recalled that Chinese students with parents who are members of the CCP would often ask him some startling questions that lacked basic common sense, such as: “Was the June 4th Incident the killing of the army by ordinary people, or the army killing the ordinary people?”

The lies of the CCP are often not outright, but couched in ambiguous language. For example, the writer Su Xiaokang wrote in his book “The Age of Slaying Dragons” that the terrible phenomenon of cannibalism occurred during the Great Famine. In Xinyang, Henan, a special crime referred to as the “destruction of a corpse” was instead used as an alternative term to cannibalism. Employing such euphemisms to refer to the crime of cannibalism muddles and distorts the information for future generations of Chinese citizens.

In the current age of strict digital censorship in China, roundabout expressions such as “in other words” continue to flourish on the social platforms WeChat and Weibo, and this deceptive language serves to distort the truth. For example, the CCP claims to be the “mainstay” of the War of Resistance against Japan, ignoring the eight-year war of resistance led by the Nationalist government, and avoiding the outside world’s statement about the CCP’s combat instructions during the period of the War of Resistance to “seven points for development, two points for coping, and one point for resisting Japan.” Instead, in 2017, Chinese elementary and middle school textbooks renamed the “Eight Years of War of Resistance” to the “14 Years of War of Resistance” in order to promote a greater role and function of the CCP in the history of the War of Resistance.

A more recent example of this distortion can be seen in relation to Hong Kong. When Hong Kong’s sovereignty was handed over to China in 1997, the CCP promised to implement the “One Country, Two Systems”, guaranteeing “the same for 50 years.” After Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” movement in 2014 and the “Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement” movement in 2019, the CCP implemented the Hong Kong National Security Law in June 2020. Since then, the electoral system has been reformed, freedom of speech has been tightened, and the opposition faces the potential of a jail sentence. While Hong Kong has fundamentally moved towards “one system” in governance, the government still argues that Hong Kong is a successful practice of the “one country, two systems” model.

Xia Ming, a political science professor at the City University of New York, told a reporter from the Central News Agency that the CCP had been very inspiring party before it came to power, bestowing upon its people a multitude of grand promises. However, once a promise is not fulfilled, it instead is branded as a lie, with new lies constantly needed to cover up the old ones. The main purpose of these lies is to maintain the legitimacy of governance.

Xia Ming believes that the biggest lie of the CCP is that before the establishment of the government, it said that it would oppose Chiang Kai-shek’s dictatorship and implement direct democracy. However, to this day, “China is the only republic in the world that has never held direct elections.”

The CCP will give many reasons for these about-faces, such as: the quality of the people is not enough, elections are not the essence of democracy, China is a democracy under the party’s rule, democracy is under negotiation, etc. Anything other than acknowledging the original promise to its people.

The CCP claims that China’s democracy is a combination of “the leadership of the party, the people are the masters of the country, and the rule of law.” Xia Ming questioned: If the party’s leadership has not been demonstrated or opposed, and the party has the privilege of being in power forever, then how can the people’s mastery be reflected? If the party has privileges, how can the rule of law count? “This lie cannot even follow the formal logic”, according to Xia Ming.

He pointed out that under the CCP’s sophistry, even if the CCP were to recognize or correct mistakes, “Chinese people fall into schizophrenia, lose basic formal logic analysis and reasoning ability, and have no way of discerning lies.” Many disasters in China have resulted from this.

If someone wishes to deconstruct this lie and rightfully point out its scrupulous nature, they will encounter all kinds of violent suppression from the CCP. Xia Ming said that history has seen the CCP’s purge of intellectuals, and that “a lie must go hand in hand with violence.”

Ren Zhiqiang, a well-known real estate developer, privately wrote an article criticizing the Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping as “a clown who stripped naked and insisted on being an emperor”, for which he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Xu Zhangrun, a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, was also dismissed by the school for similar words of mockery. Violence such as this perpetrated by the state machinery in China is not uncommon. In recent years, the authorities have stepped up their suppression of human rights lawyers, arresting and revoking their licenses. In 2015, the “709 Incident” occurred, a nationwide crackdown on Chinese lawyers and human rights activists.

However, the lies of the CCP are not always hateful, but outright confusing.

Xia Ming noted that, despite its corruption, the CCP is a very pragmatic political party. Based on a utilitarian outlook, it will aim to satisfy the interests of the majority. It is not gains for the ruling group that will be pushed for, but also the persecution of other so-called minority groups in the name of the people.

Chinese society continues to be divided into the majority and the minority by various standards: urban and rural, religious and non-religious, and so on. Xia Ming said that under the cover of lies, the regime will always assume the position of the majority, stating that “You will find that the result is that all people can be harmed because a few concepts are fluid.” Even leaders of the country, such as Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, as well as their children, have been hurt by political campaigns.

Looking at the 100-year history of the CCP, this party has always divided society through class struggle, delineating enemy friends, listing “bad elements”, etc. Even in the past ten or twenty years, through dense grassroots party organizations and a culture that encourages whistleblowing, citizens of China are still distrustful of one another. Opinion leaders who are inspiring and dare to question the authorities, such as Xu Zhangrun, are often suppressed, preventing those with political potential from rising through the ranks.

Xia Ming analyzed that the operation of lies also depends on educational brainwashing, media monitoring, and the CCP as the single supplier of authoritative information. Under the suppressive environment of party propaganda, peer pressure, monitoring and reporting, citizens will gradually doubt the correctness of their judgment.

After the large-scale arrest of human rights lawyers in 2015, the World Lawyers Conference was held in December 2019 by the Chinese government. After blocking overseas websites for many years, the World Internet Conference, also known as the Wuzhen Summit, has been held every year in China since 2014 at the behest of the Chinese government. While the CCP has been criticized by the outside world for its shortcomings, it will openly use the Wuzhen Summit as the right to speak and defend itself. It will also invite representatives from many countries to participate in order to create the illusion of “all circles participating in the grand event.” People whose cognition is confused will welcome and believe in such a “Chinese interpretation.”

When we look back at a century of party history, as long as the CCP’s one-party dictatorship continues for the legitimacy of governance, its lies will continue to exist and permeate Chinese society.

 


 

Shu-Ling Chang is a reporter for the Central News Agency (CNA) in Taiwan. She was previously a correspondent in Shanghai for CNA and the editor-in-chief of the magazine “CNA News World”.

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