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In January, when top Communist Party officials announced that the regime’s system of re-education through labor camps would be shut down, everyone wondered what would happen next. To date, what has happened is exactly nothing.
Zhong Weiguang, a columnist and researcher of totalitarian regimes based in Germany, said it well: “The form and name of re-education through labor might be removed, because it doesn’t look good. They can temporarily not use it. But their goals, their control, monitoring, intimidation, and persecution of the people under the dictatorial rule of the Party will be the same.”
To take an American idiom and put a Chinese Communist spin on it: You can put lipstick on a diseased pig floating down a river, but it’s still a diseased pig floating down a river. The Chinese Communist Party can change the name of its forced labor system, known for torturing everyone from housewives to political dissidents, but the fundamental nature of the Party will not change. It has since its founding relied on violence and murder to achieve its ends and sustain its power, and has no cause to stop now.