WASHINGTON, D.C.—Ten years ago, this newspaper published a no-holds-barred editorial series examining and criticizing the Chinese Communist Party, the political regime that has ruled China since 1949.
The series, “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party,” discusses in a forthright way the Party’s means of rule and its consequences for the Chinese people and the world—with principal focus on the tens of millions of unnatural deaths, along with the destruction of China’s traditional culture and moral beliefs, that have taken place as a consequence of the regime’s policies and political campaigns.
On Dec. 3 in Washington, D.C., Epoch Times, along with the Tuidang Center, an organization that provides a platform for and encourages Chinese people to renounce the Communist Party, hosted a forum on Capitol Hill to discuss the “Nine Commentaries” and its impact on China over the last decade.
John Nania, the editor in chief of the English-language edition of Epoch Times, addressed what he said were a number of misconceptions about the Communist Party, including the claim that China is no longer communist, or that China is becoming freer.
“The Party began and still exists as a means of seizing all power in China and controlling people. It still uses violence, terror, thievery, and deceit to maintain its power at all costs—even at the cost of the lives of its members and its leaders,” Nania said.
Nania continued: “The CCP feels threatened by what America represents. America, with all its faults, shows the world that freedom and democracy can exist in a vibrant, powerful nation. Our values in the West support human dignity, individual rights, and freedoms. This scares the CCP because it knows that its own people will want those freedoms, if they can see that freedom works.”
Ambassador Joseph Rees, a former U.S. ambassador to East Timor, joked that he regrets not having been a member of the Chinese Communist Party—”I won’t be able to make that moral statement by quitting.”
“The Chinese Communist Party has discarded the parts of Marxism that were idealistic, but kept the other parts,” he said, adding that the Party now practices a form of economic fascism.
“We’re not against China, we’re for China. But we need to follow two basic clauses of economics in our dealings with totalitarian regimes: First, what you subsidize, you get more of. Second, what you penalize, you get less of.”
This led to the suggestion that the United States ought to craft policies such that when the Communist Party “behaves well, they get good things from the United States; when they behave badly they don’t get good things from the United States.”
Wei Jingsheng, one of the most prominent overseas democracy activists, discussed the impact of Party rule on China’s moral values.
“The communists destroyed China’s traditional moral culture, but haven’t provided any new value system. The so-called new culture by the communists is slavery and feudalism.”
He added, “As a matter of fact, this ‘Nine Commentaries,’ Falun Gong friends, and democracy activists are helping to rebuild a moral system for China.”
“For the 180 million people that have quit the Communist Party, secretly or publicly, it’s a matter of spiritual elevation for them. It’s a chance for them to discover their conscience.”
Wei Jingsheng continued: “We have reached 180 million people, but there’s 1.3 billion Chinese. So we have a long way to go. We’re not just saving Party members, but saving the soul of every Chinese person.”
U.S. Rep Steve Stockman (R-Texas) shared an anecdote from a recent trip to China, which demonstrated the continued heavily influence of political controls on speech and thought in the country. While visiting a medical university, he asked how long it takes to become a doctor in China.
“It’s a simple question. In the United States, one would say: ‘Four years, you’ll have $200,000–$300,000 in student loans, and you’ll make $100,000–$200,000 a year.’ But they had to go talk to the person in charge of propaganda, and other bureaucrats. For 30 to 40 minutes they discussed among themselves what they should tell me. At the end they said: ‘Yes, we like being doctors.’ My delegation asked if that answered my question. I said ‘No.’ Which was very confusing for them.”
“I love the Chinese people, but I don’t like Chinese oppression,” Stockman said. “This is a struggle, and it’s long. As you go on your soul may be weary and you may not feel like going on. But there are people watching these tapes online who are desperate and cannot speak out. You are speaking out for them … not because you want to, but because it’s your obligation. Silence is not an option.”
Richard Fisher, an analyst of the Chinese military at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, expressed gratitude to the anonymous authors of the “Nine Commentaries,” “which assembles the horrible truth of the Party, and provides the real reason for Chinese to consider that they deserve so much better. Only when the Chinese themselves realize they deserve better will they work toward a new era.”
Fisher said that U.S. policy toward China has for years failed to take into account the threat the Communist Party poses to the world. “I think it’s long overdue for the United States to have started a strategic information campaign that highlights both the threatening actions of the CCP, actions that not only threaten China’s neighbors, threaten rest of the world, but threaten the people of China.”
Joseph Bosco, a senior associate with the Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, concurred with Fisher’s analysis, and warned against the dangers of Chinese aggression toward Taiwan. “Why in the world would Taiwan’s people voluntarily accept rule by a communist dictatorship?” he asked, rhetorically. He pointed out that the Chinese regime has never backed away from its threats to one day use force to integrate Taiwan into the PRC. Later, he referred to a large amount of “wishful thinking” in the United States about the stability of the Chinese Communist Party.
Charles Lee, a spokesman for the Tuidang Center, noted that communist movements around the world have killed around 100 million people, and the death toll from the Chinese Communist Party alone approaches 80 million people. Tuidang means “quit [or renounce] the Party” in Chinese. “Despite the rapid economic development in recent years, people don’t see the future. Rich people, especially the Party members, have been moving their wealth and families overseas like the end is coming,” Lee said.
“The Tuidang Movement is not a political movement,” Lee said. “It is not because we are afraid of being called political, it is because the movement focuses on a more fundamental issue, which is the rebuilding the morality of Chinese society and awakening the people’s conscience.”