Commentary 3: On the Tyranny of the Chinese Communist Party
In 1968, tens of thousands of people in Guangxi Province participated in the mass slaughter of a public faction known as the “4.22” organization, killing more than 110,000.
What can Emperor Qin Shihuang brag about? He only killed 460 Confucian scholars, but we killed 46,000 intellectuals...Mao Zedong
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When speaking about tyranny, most Chinese people are reminded of Qin Shi Huang (259–210 B.C.), the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, whose oppressive court burnt philosophical books and buried Confucian scholars alive. Qin Shi Huang’s harsh treatment of his people came from his policy of “supporting his rule with all of the resources under heaven.”
This policy had four main aspects: excessively heavy taxation, wasting human labor for projects to glorify himself, brutal torture under harsh laws and punishing even the offenders’ family members and neighbors, and controlling people’s minds by blocking all avenues of free thinking and expression through burning books and even burying scholars alive.
Under the rule of Qin Shi Huang, China had a population of about 10 million; Qin’s court drafted over 2 million to perform forced labor. Qin Shi Huang brought his harsh laws into the intellectual realm, prohibiting freedom of thought on a massive scale. During his rule, thousands of Confucian scholars and officials who criticized the government were killed.
Today the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) violence and abuses are even more severe than those of the tyrannical Qin Dynasty. The CCP’s philosophy is one of struggle, and the CCP’s rule has been built upon a series of class struggles, struggles about the direction of the Party, and ideological struggles, both in China and toward other nations.
Mao Zedong, the first CCP leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), put it bluntly by saying, “What can Emperor Qin Shihuang brag about? He only killed 460 Confucian scholars, but we killed 46,000 intellectuals. There are people who accuse us of practicing dictatorship like Emperor Qin Shihuang and we admit it all. It fits the reality. It is a pity that they did not give us enough credit, so we need to add to it.”
Let’s take a look at China’s arduous 55 years under the rule of the CCP. As its founding philosophy is one of class struggle, the CCP has spared no efforts since taking power to commit class genocide and has achieved its reign of terror by means of violent revolution.
Killing and brainwashing have been used hand-in-hand to suppress any beliefs other than communist theory. The CCP has launched one movement after another to portray itself as infallible and godlike. Following its theories of class struggle and violent revolution, the CCP has tried to purge dissidents and opposing social classes, using violence and deception to force all Chinese people to become the obedient servants of its tyrannical rule.
I. Land Reform—Eliminating the Landlord Class
Barely three months after the founding of communist China, the CCP called for the elimination of the landlord class as one of the guidelines for its nationwide land reform program. The Party’s slogan “land to the tiller” indulged the selfish side of the landless peasants, encouraged them to struggle with the landowners by whatever means and to disregard the moral implications of their actions.
The land reform campaign explicitly stipulated eliminating the landlord class, and classified the rural population into different social categories. Twenty million rural inhabitants nationwide were labeled landlords, rich peasants, reactionaries, or bad elements. These new outcasts faced discrimination, humiliation, and loss of all their civil rights.
As the land reform campaign extended its reach to remote areas and the villages of ethnic minorities, the CCP’s organizations also expanded quickly. Township Party committees and village Party branches spread all over China. The local branches were the mouthpiece for passing instructions from the CCP’s central committee and were at the frontline of the class struggle, inciting peasants to rise up against their landlords.
Nearly 100,000 landlords died during this movement. In certain areas the CCP and the peasants killed the landlords’ entire families, disregarding gender or age, as a way to completely wipe out the landlord class.
In the meantime, the CCP launched its first wave of propaganda, declaring that “Chairman Mao is the great savior of the people” and that “only the CCP can save China.”
During the land reform, landless farmers got what they wanted through the CCP’s policy of reaping without laboring, robbing without concern for the means. Poor peasants credited the CCP for the improvement in their lives and so accepted the CCP’s propaganda that the Party worked for the interests of the people.
For the owners of the newly acquired land, the good days of “land to the tiller” were short-lived. Within two years, the CCP imposed a number of practices on the farmers, such as mutual-aid groups, primary cooperatives, advanced cooperatives, and people’s communes.
Using the slogan of criticizing “women with bound feet”—meaning those who are slow paced—the CCP drove and pushed, year after year, urging peasants to dash into socialism.
With grain, cotton, and cooking oil placed under a unified procurement system nationwide, the major agricultural products were excluded from market exchange. In addition, the CCP established a residential registration system, barring peasants from going to the cities to find work or dwell.
Those who are registered as rural residents were not allowed to buy grain at state-run stores, and their children were prohibited from receiving education in cities. Peasants’ children could only be peasants, turning the 360 million rural residents of the early 1950s into second-class citizens.
Beginning in 1978, in the first five years after moving from a collective system to a household contract system, some among the 900 million peasants became better off, with their income increasing slightly and their social status improving somewhat.
However, such a meager benefit was soon lost due to a price structure that favored industrial commodities over agricultural goods. Peasants plunged into poverty once again. The income gap between the urban and rural population has drastically increased, and economic disparity continues to widen.
New landlords and rich peasants have re-emerged in the rural areas. Data from Xinhua News Agency, the CCP’s mouthpiece, shows that since 1997 the revenue of the major grain production areas and the income of most rural households have been at a standstill or even have declined in some cases.
In other words, the peasants’ return on agricultural production did not really increase. The ratio of urban to rural incomes has increased from 1.8 to 1 in the mid 1980s to 3.1 to 1 today.
II. Eliminating the Capitalist Class
Another class that the CCP wanted to eliminate was the national bourgeoisie, who owned capital in cities and rural towns. While reforming China’s industry and commerce, the CCP claimed that the capitalist class and the working class were different in nature: the former was the exploiting class while the latter was the class that did not exploit and opposed exploitation.
According to this logic, the capitalist class was born to exploit and wouldn’t stop doing so until it perished; it could only be eliminated, not reformed. The CCP used both killing and brainwashing to “transform” capitalists and merchants.
The CCP’s long-tested method of supporting the obedient and destroying those who disagreed was employed. If you surrendered your assets to the state and supported the CCP, you were considered just a minor problem among the people.
If, on the other hand, you disagreed with or complained about the CCP’s policy, you would be labeled a reactionary and become the target of the CCP’s draconian dictatorship.
During the reign of terror that ensued during these reforms, capitalists and business owners all surrendered their assets. Many of them couldn’t bear the humiliation they faced and committed suicide.
Chen Yi, then mayor of Shanghai, asked every day, “How many paratroopers did we have today?” referring to the number of capitalists who had committed suicide by jumping from the tops of buildings that day. In only a few years, the CCP completely eliminated private ownership in China.
While carrying out its land and industrial reform programs, the CCP launched many massive movements that persecuted the Chinese people. These movements included the suppression of counter-revolutionaries, thought reform campaigns, cleansing the anti-CCP clique headed by Gao Gang and Rao Shushi, probing Hu Feng’s counter-revolutionary group, the Three Anti Campaign, the Five Anti Campaign, and the further cleansing of counter-revolutionaries.
The CCP used these movements to target and brutally persecute countless innocent people. In every political movement, the CCP fully utilized its control of government resources in conjunction with the Party’s committees, branches, and sub-branches.
Three Party members would form a small combat team, infiltrating all villages and neighborhoods. These combat teams were ubiquitous, leaving no stone unturned. This deeply entrenched Party control network, inherited from the CCP’s network of Party branches installed within the army during the war years, has since played a key role in later political movements.
III. The Crackdown on Religions and Religious Groups
The CCP committed another atrocity in the brutal suppression of religion and the complete ban of all grass-roots religious groups following the founding of the People’s Republic of China. In 1950, the CCP instructed its local governments to ban all unofficial religious faiths and secret societies.
The CCP stated that those “feudalistic” underground groups were mere tools in the hands of landlords, rich farmers, reactionaries, and the special agents of the KMT (Kuomintang, the Nationalist Party defeated by the CCP). In the nationwide crackdown, the government mobilized the classes they trusted to identify and persecute members of religious groups.
Governments at various levels were directly involved in disbanding such “superstitious groups” as communities of Christians, Catholics, Taoists (especially believers of I-Kuan Tao), and Buddhists. They ordered all members of these churches, temples, and religious societies to register with government agencies and to repent for their involvement. Failure to do so would mean severe punishment.
In 1951, the government formally promulgated regulations threatening that those who continued their activities in unofficial religious groups would face a life sentence or the death penalty.
This movement persecuted a large number of kind-hearted and law-abiding believers in God. Incomplete statistics indicate that the CCP in the 1950s persecuted at least 3 million religious believers and underground group members, some of whom were killed.
The CCP searched almost every household across the nation and interrogated its members, even smashing statues of the Kitchen God that Chinese peasants traditionally worshipped. The executions reinforced the CCP’s message that communist ideology was the only legitimate ideology and the only legitimate faith.
The concept of patriotic believers soon emerged. The state constitution protected only patriotic believers. The reality was whatever religion one believed in, there were only these criteria: You had to follow the CCP’s instructions, and you had to acknowledge that the CCP was above all religions.
If you were a Christian, the CCP was the God of the Christian God. If you were a Buddhist, the CCP was the Master Buddha of the Master Buddha. Among Muslims, the CCP was the Allah of the Allah. When it came to the Living Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism, the CCP would intervene and itself choose who the Living Buddha would be.
The CCP left you no choice but to say and do what the CCP demanded you to say and do. All believers were forced to carry out the CCP’s objectives while upholding their respective faiths in name only. Failing to do so would make one the target of the CCP’s persecution and dictatorship.
According to a Feb. 22, 2002, report by Humanity and Human Rights online magazine, 20,000 Christians conducted a survey among 560,000 Christians in house churches in 207 cities in 22 provinces in China. The survey found that, among house church attendees, 130,000 were under government surveillance.
In the book “How the Chinese Communist Party Persecuted Christians,” it is stated that by 1957, the CCP had killed over 11,000 religious adherents and had arbitrarily arrested and extorted money from many more.
By eliminating the landlord class and the capitalist class and by persecuting large numbers of God-worshipping and law-abiding people, the CCP cleared the way for communism to become the all-encompassing religion of China.
 From the “Annals of Foods and Commodities” in “History of the Former Han Dynasty” (Han Shu). “All under heaven” refers to China under the emperors.
 Translated from “Oriental Culture,” by Qian Bocheng, fourth edition (2000).
 Gao Gang and Rao Shushi were both members of the Central Committee. After an unsuccessful bid in a power struggle in 1954, they were accused of plotting to split the Party and were subsequently expelled from the Party.
 Hu Feng, scholar and literary critic, opposed the sterile literature policy of the CCP. He was expelled from the Party in 1955 and sentenced to 14 years in prison. From 1951 to 1952, the CCP initiated the Three Anti Campaign and the Five Anti Campaign, movements with the stated goal of eliminating corruption, waste, and bureaucracy within the Party, government, army, and mass organizations.
 “How the Chinese Communist Party Persecuted Christians” (1958) (in Chinese).