Let’s begin with a true story that happened in China.
Mr. Zhang (a pseudonym) was my father’s high school English teacher in the 1960s. Twenty years before that, he worked as an interpreter for American liaison officers in China during World War II. Because he and his wife were from rich families, after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) took power, they lived a low-profile life in order to avoid troubles that might arise because of their family backgrounds and his experience working with Americans.
In 1966, the Cultural Revolution began. Young people were encouraged to accuse, turn in, or even beat up their parents to prove their revolutionary devotion, or to break away from their unfavorable family backgrounds. Those who dared to do that were considered heroes.
Mr. Zhang’s teenage daughter, Ling (also a pseudonym), a classmate of my father, put up a poster accusing her parents of dancing the waltz and having capitalist thoughts. That ignited a ferocious campaign against her father. Posters attacking him were everywhere, calling him a “monster.” In front of mass rallies, half of his hair was shaved. With a big and heavy board hanging around his neck with his name crossed out with red ink, he was beaten, spat on, and cursed at.
As a result, Mr. Zhang’s son went insane, the entire family suffered tremendously, and Ling lived with immense guilt. Two years ago, before her death from cancer, her parents came to visit her. However, she kept her eyes closed, pretending to be asleep because she didn’t dare look at them.
This is just one of the millions of sad stories that have happened in China: families torn apart, friends betraying friends, teachers beaten to death by students …
Similar scenarios occur in every communist country.
Now, something similar is happening in the United States.
Also in America
Helena Duke, an 18-year-old from Massachusetts, publicly ridiculed her mother by sharing a video of her at the U.S. Capitol protest on Jan. 6. The post went viral, causing Helena’s mother to lose her job. Helena became a “hero,” and raised over $73,000 when she turned to Gofundme to seek donations for her college education.
Helena isn’t alone. According to the media, since the Jan. 6 Capitol protest, the FBI has received more than 100,000 tips about the participants, most of them from family or friends.
If you browse Helena’s Twitter account or her Gofundme page, it’s full of comments like “proud of you,” “right choice,” “brave,” etc.
But as a Chinese American, I have a heavy heart. Family bonds are the most precious. They are beyond political affiliations. No NORMAL society glorifies reporting against family members. From imperial China to Western law systems since ancient Rome, there is legal immunity of concealment among relatives.
Confucius said, “Benevolence is the characteristic element of humanity, and the greatest exercise of it is in loving family members.” The only societies that would encourage betraying family members are communist and Nazi governments.
How has the United States gone this far?
My understanding is that there are two reasons: one short-term, one long-term.
The short-term reason is the demonization of conservatives by mainstream media. Actually, this is standard practice by communist and Nazi governments. Before persecuting a specific group, the propaganda machine would be revved up to its full capacity to demonize the group so people would feel indifferent when the group is brutalized, and their family members would feel the urge to cut ties with them to protect themselves.
The persecuted group can be landowners, capitalists, intellectuals, religious followers, Jewish people, or anybody.
The long-term reason is the destruction of family bonds and ethics since the 1960s. Actually, the 1960s was a watershed moment in modern history that sustained an unprecedented counterculture movement sweeping from East to West. Rebellious young people in the West revered Karl Marx, Herbert Marcuse, and Chairman Mao, vowing to shatter Judeo-Christian civilization and traditional culture, including family bonds and ethics, just like their Eastern counterparts. Although far apart, the West and the East experienced similar havoc at similar times, originating from the same source: communism.
Actually, we are not that far from a Cultural Revolution 2.0 in America.
When Black Lives Matter activists tear down sculptures of historical figures, urinate on them, and behead them, what is the difference from Chairman Mao’s Red Guards, who bludgeoned Buddhist sculptures and burned scriptures?
When Antifa wants to burn everything down, and get “a new world from the ashes,” what is the difference from the communists’ ideal of “smashing the old world?”
When “defund the police” becomes the new political correctness, what is the difference from the Chinese Cultural Revolution’s lawlessness and mob rule?
When mainstream media become the mouthpiece of leftist ideology, what is the difference from the propaganda departments in China and the Soviet Union?
When the issue of race becomes omnipresent, and white people are considered to be born with “implicit bias,” what is the difference from categorizing people according to their family backgrounds, and denouncing the children of capitalists and landowners as “bastards”?
Former President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” As human beings, we have all kinds of weaknesses, like greed, lust, selfishness, and ego. But communism, the specter, is staring at us without a blink, and charging toward us. If we don’t know its strategy and take action to counter it, it will take away our freedom—quickly.
Jean Chen is originally from China and writes under a pen name in order to protect her family members there.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.