In light of the upcoming United States presidential election, the U.S. Embassy in China decided to educate the Chinese on the basics of joining and leaving a political party in the States in a simple online post, a post that has sparked more reflection amongst the Chinese Internet populace on the nature of one party rule in China.
Writing on its official account on the popular Chinese microblogging service Sina Weibo, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing explained that Americans are welcome to join and leave any political party in the United States, and that citizens simply indicate their political affiliation on the voter registration slip. What’s more, the U.S. Embassy wrote, political parties in America don’t require its members to “take an oath upon joining, pledge eternal loyalty to a party, pay membership fees on time, and participate in organized activities.”
Chinese Internet users on Weibo quickly pointed out that the Chinese Communist Party force all of the above requirements on Chinese who join the Communist Party. One netizen with the name “MrAmericano” wrote: “We swore our lives to the Party since we were young…” Another netizen from Guangdong wrote: “You make an oath only when you join a gang. There is no political party in China. There is only an evil cult where one can sign up but cannot quit at will.”
“To quit the Party, we can only visit the Epoch Times,” said a netizen from Tibet who used the moniker “Mei Weiming,” referring to an on-going “Tuidang” (meaning “quit the Party”) movement organized by this newspaper, allowing Chinese citizens to renounce their Party allegiance. At the time of writing, over 228 million people have renounced their ties with the Party through this grassroots effort, according to the Tuidang website. This figure includes Chinese of any kind, not just Party members.
“In a Western, democratic society, there is no such thing as swearing an oath when joining a political party; this is a signature feature of communism,” said Lan Shu, a commentator with the Sound of Hope radio network, in an interview with New York-based New Tang Dynasty Television (NTD). “The Communist Party wants to control people’s thoughts.”
Zhong Weiguang, a Chinese dissident and scholar of totalitarianism residing in Germany, told NTD: “The purpose of the Chinese Communist Party is to maintain its monopoly on power. To prevent itself from collapsing, the Party enforces such discipline to tie up everyone in this organization.”