Most people in the West believe that China, the Chinese people, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are all the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s time the world wakes up to the fact that the CCP isn’t China, nor does it represent the Chinese people.
The first politician to point this out was former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In a speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in California in July 2020, Pompeo said: “The Chinese people are completely distinct from the Chinese Communist Party. The biggest lie that they tell is to think that they speak for 1.4 billion people. The CCP fears the Chinese people’s honest opinions more than any foe.”
On Sept. 1, professor Miles Yu, a former adviser to Pompeo on strategies related to China, took time off his busy schedule and granted me an exclusive interview at his Maryland retreat. He explained why the CCP and the Chinese people aren’t the same.
Yu, who was born in China and left the country in the mid-1980s, understood what life was like under CCP rule.
“Anyone who has life experience in China would immediately conclude that the interests of the Party and the people are not the same. For example, people want freedom but are denied on the pretext of national security.”
Yu says it’s ironic that while the CCP’s interests are at odds with the people’s, it shamelessly claims that the Party represents the Chinese population of about 1.4 billion. Whenever Beijing quarrels with the Western powers, it would accuse them of “hurting the feelings of the Chinese people.” In other words, the CCP tries to intimidate the West by the sheer size of the population under its control.
In Yu’s view, this is like kidnapping the Chinese people for ransom.
“While the CCP silenced the people and tied their hands, they claimed to represent the people they kept hostage—these are exact characteristics of a rogue regime.”
The Chinese regime was infuriated by Pompeo’s statement. State-run media Xinhua published a long article that accused Pompeo of “trying to drive a wedge between the CCP and the Chinese people.”
Furthermore, the Yu family clan in Anhui Province delisted Miles from the family tree registrar at the behest of local authorities. In the Chinese tradition, this is regarded as a major insult to the Yu family and a heavy “moral” penalty for Miles.
From the fierce reaction of the CCP, Yu deduced that he and Pompeo had directly touched on a CCP sore point.
The CCP understands that this distinction between the Party and the people could cost its legitimacy. Before the CCP came to power 100 years ago, it applied the same tactic to undermine the then-ruling Kuomintang, which led to the latter’s eventual downfall.
“Therefore, they are hypersensitive when we point out that they in fact do not represent the Chinese people,” Yu explained.
Indeed, the “wedge” concept is bothering the CCP. On Sept. 3, 2020, Chinese leader Xi Jinping gave a speech during the 75th anniversary of the Anti-Japanese War (1937–1945) and said, “The Chinese people will never allow anyone or any forces trying to drive a wedge between the CCP and the Chinese people.”
The same theme also came up in the Sino–U.S. meeting in Alaska early this year, when Yang Jiechi, the top official for China’s foreign affairs, drew a so-called red line for the United States, warning the latter not to question its legitimacy.
In the past, whenever Beijing complained that a certain U.S. policy “hurts the feelings or the interests of 1.4 billion people,” Washington would soften its stance a bit, Yu said. Starting with Pompeo, this rhetoric no longer worked because “we knew that the CCP does not represent the Chinese people.”
At the policy level, the Trump administration made a clear distinction between the Chinese people and the CCP. While the administration welcomed Chinese nationals to study in the United States, it imposed restrictions on certain CCP members from entering the country.
“We penalize the CCP for hurting Hong Kong, for genocide in Xinjiang, for intimidating Taiwan, and for violating international law in the South China Sea. All these measures are truly in the interest of the Chinese people but at odds with those of the CCP,” Yu said.
Yu believes that by pointing out that the CCP obviously isn’t the same as China or the Chinese people, that would go a long way toward ending the pro-Beijing appeasement sentiment.
He explained that deep in American culture, there has been strong sympathy for the Chinese people—because of the early Christian missionaries who witnessed the plight and backwardness of the ordinary people. This compassion for the suffering Chinese was best reflected in Pearl Buck’s “The Good Earth.”
Unfortunately, this benevolence for ordinary Chinese citizens was skillfully transformed by the CCP, through propaganda and united front tactics, to serve its own interests. That resulted in a strong appeasement sentiment toward the CCP.
“This appeasement policy had survived eight presidents, until Donald Trump,” Yu said. He believes that appeasement would naturally die down once people realize that the CCP and the Chinese people share diametrically opposite interests.
Yu concluded: “For over half a century, we had been fooled by Chinese propaganda into believing that the CCP and China meant the same. For the first time, we broke this myth and this is going to have a significant impact in the days to come.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.