Whenever a tyrannical regime like the Chinese Communist Party stains the globe with its presence, there are bound to be moments, events, and/or outrages that can be summed up in one word, usually the place where they occurred. For the Nazis, all one has to say is Auschwitz or Treblinka. For European Communism, it was Berlin, Budapest, Prague, or Siberia. Communist China already has a few names to symbolize its bloodlust and determination to keep power no matter how many die: Tiananmen, Hanyuan, and Taishi usually are at the tops of these lists. Today, we must add one more place: Shanwei.
Just last week, in Shanwei's Dongzhou village, hundreds of citizens marched to protest the seizure of their land and lack of just compensation. Like the hydroelectric dam in Hanyuan, the cadres in Shanwei saw a power plant as their cash cow—even more so because they were far closer to the energy-starved cities of the Pacific Coast. What did it matter it the people lose land they had farmed for generations? Who cared if the compensation money the people desperately needed for relocation was stolen? This is Communist China after all, where the Party card is, in effect, an absolute license to steal. So, the Shanwei cadres did just that; they stole from their own people, and when the people took to the streets—as they did in Hanyuan—history repeated itself, in blood. Thankfully, far fewer have died in Shanwei than did in Hanyuan, but for those who lost their loved ones, that is no comfort, nor should it be.
Guangdong Province has seen this before, in the village of Taishi, where villagers tried to use the Communists' own election law to recall corrupt cadres from stealing money. However, this was different. Never before had the Communists fired into a crowd in Guangdong. What would lead them to do such a thing and believe they could get away with it?
The answer was simple: they already had, thousands of miles away in Sichuan's rural county of blood: Hanyuan. The mere fact that some human rights groups are calling Shanwei the worst Communist attack against the Chinese people since Tiananmen is a testament to the success of the Hanyuan blackout. According to one eyewitness to the Hanyuan massacre, the dead were over 10,000. Shanwei's body count has yet to reach 100—although, as the Communists have now sealed off the village from the outside world, that may be true no longer.
Would the Communists have felt secure in resorting to murder at Shanwei if the world was more aware of Hanyuan? I doubt it. There would have been arrests, beatings, and a few deaths, but not the toll we now see. Here we see the effects of laziness from the "mainstream" media. Their refusal to take notice of the Hanyuan massacre certainly encouraged the Communists to shoot again. Hu Jintao was just two months into his reign as Central Military Commission Chairman when he ordered the Hanyuan massacre. He saw no repercussions from the outside world for his atrocity. On that bloody November day, he learned what Mao learned during the Great Leap Backward, what Deng learned during the Tiananmen Square massacre, and what Jiang Zemin learned during his brutal crackdown on Falun Gong: so long as you don't care how many people you kill, hardly anyone else will either.
Of course, that is utterly simplistic, but for Hu, it worked. Less than one year after the Hanyuan massacre, the U.S. was praising him for a spurious nuclear "agreement" with Stalinist North Korea. American Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick is actually asking Communist China to take more power in the world. Never mind the Communists' long record of supporting anti-American terrorists. Never mind their rampant use of radical nationalism to distract the public from just such things as the Shanwei and Hanyuan massacres.
For too long now, Hu Jintao has been given a pass. It has been over fifteen months since he took over the reins. He has had a full year to act upon the wisdom of the Nine Commentaries, and he has instead chosen cold steel. It is time to stop searching for hopeful clues in utterly banal treatments of the late Hu Yaobang and others. The anti-Communist, pro-democracy community, both inside and outside China, must accept Hu Jintao for the bloodthirsty, murdering Communist he really is, and act accordingly.
In the meantime, anyone who wept for the victims of Hanyuan County must now weep again for the victims of Shanwei. Like their compatriots to the west, the Shanwei victims have exposed the Communists lust for power, drive for corrupt lucre, and utter lack of concern for human life. However, if this can open more eyes, if this can make more in the free world recognize the danger Communist China is to the Chinese people and the rest of the world, if this will bring forth from anti-Communist majorities in democratic countries elected leaders who recognize their nations are not secure until China is free, than the victims of Shanwei will not have died in vain.
D.J. McGuire is co-founder of the China e-Lobby and President of the China Support Network. He is also the author of Dragon in the Dark: How and Why Communist China Helps Our Enemies in the War on Terror.