Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has designated July as the “Victims of Communism” month, highlighting the estimated 100 million people who died during religious or political purges, manmade famines, and crimes against humanity.
Ricketts, in a press release and on Twitter, singled out the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which recently marked its 100th anniversary, and the Soviet Union.
“An estimated 100 million people have died from political purges, religious persecutions, mass starvations, and other crimes against humanity carried out by communist regimes such as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the People’s Republic of China,” the Republican governor wrote.
In a proclamation (pdf), the governor noted that former CCP dictator Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward—a calamitous top-down effort that diverted Chinese farm workers into mass collectives—killed some 45 million people. That figure was revealed years ago by historian Frank Dikötter, who has systematically chronicled the CCP’s mass purges, failed policies like the Great Leap Forward, and the equally disastrous Cultural Revolution.
Dikötter, writing several years ago, provided brutal examples of how the CCP would enforce its collectivization policies. At one point during the famine, a man named Wang Ziyou was accused by the regime of digging up a potato, so CCP authorities cut off one of his ears, and “his legs were tied with iron wire, a ten kilogram stone was dropped on his back and then he was branded with a sizzling tool,” Dikötter noted.
Today, “millions suffer political and religious persecution under the CCP,” the governor’s July proclamation noted, citing the regime’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, house Christians, and other groups. “Hundreds of millions of people continue to live under communist and socialist regimes that curtail freedoms and lack respect for human rights,” the proclamation added.
Recent reports have also said the CCP continues to persecute Falun Gong, a spiritual practice that includes meditative exercises and moral teachings centered around the values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Nearly 700 Falun Gong practitioners, including an 88-year-old victim, have been sentenced by the regime after being charged with spurious counts including “sabotaging the enforcement of law.” Since 1999, millions of practitioners have been jailed, tortured, killed, or fired from their jobs.
The governor’s office also cited former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s “collectivization program” that killed between 6 and 10 million people during his regime.
In July, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed three bills mandating that students learn about the “evils of communism.”
The law will “add a requirement for the high school government class that students receive instruction on the evils of communism and totalitarian etiologies,” DeSantis said. “We have a number of people in Florida, particularly southern Florida, who’ve escaped totalitarian regimes, who’ve escaped communist dictatorships to be able to come to America.”