Sat, Sep 28, 2019 - Page 8 News List

EDITORIAL: CCP hoisted by its own petard

China’s State Council Information Office on Sunday issued a white paper, Seeking Happiness for People: 70 Years of Progress on Human Rights in China, proclaiming that Chinese enjoy real democracy and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has made regular contributions to the international cause of human rights.

The paper said that living a happy life is the primary human right, along with the rights to subsistence and development, and vowed that China would continue to uphold cultural diversity and work with the international community for progress in human rights worldwide.

As a work of satire, the paper is a minor masterpiece, but unfortunately for Chinese, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is not known for its sense of humor, so the only explanation for the paper’s ludicrous claims and proclamations is hubris.

The paper was simply the latest piece of pro-party propaganda ahead of Tuesday’s celebrations to mark the PRC’s 70th anniversary, key because by reaching 70, the PRC would have surpassed its old ally and nemesis, the Soviet Union, which only made it to 69.

China has undoubtedly progressed economically over the past 70 years and vast numbers of Chinese are living substantially improved lives, materially speaking, than their parents and grandparents even dreamed of — but at what cost?

How much more developed, how much better off would the nation be without the damage and wounds inflicted by the CCP in its quest for power and prestige, and its rampant paranoia?

Think of the tens of millions who died of starvation during the Great Famine of 1959 to 1961, thanks to the CCP’s policies under Mao Zedong’s (毛澤東) Great Leap Forward; the untold numbers killed during the purges of the Cultural Revolution; the Tiananmen Square Massacre and related killings and imprisonments; the hundreds of thousands of farmers who caught HIV in the early 1990s from the government’s primitive — and profit-driven — blood and plasma collection drives; the number of academics, scientists, physicians, lawyers, writers and students who could have contributed to the nation had they not fallen foul of the CCP by criticizing its policies or standing up for the rights enshrined in the constitution.

This month there have been several reminders of the human cost of this progress — and not just in Hong Kong: the footage showing hundreds of blindfolded and shackled men, believed to be Uighurs and other minorities, being transferred by train in Xinjiang; the death in custody of 38-year-old activist Wang Meiyu (王美余), who was arrested in July after calling on the president and premier to resign, and whose body showed clear signs of torture; and the loss of Wang Shuping (王淑平), who died in the US last Saturday at the age of 59, having been driven into exile after exposing the spread of hepatitis C and HIV among poor villagers through plasma drives in the early 1990s.

Her resolve to tell the truth cost Wang Shuping her job, first marriage and her home, but she later told interviewers that the price had been worth it because she had “helped save the lives of thousands and thousands of people” — a sentiment undoubtedly shared by many of the CCP’s critics over the decades who were silenced by prison terms, death or both.

The Great Firewall and other censorship efforts have been in overdrive this year because of the anniversary, but what the CCP has, perhaps, failed to realize is that technology is a double-edged sword.

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