On the anniversary of the CCP seizing power

It is 70 years today since one of the dark days of the 20th century, when the Communist Party seized power in China, and renamed the country the People’s Republic of China –  rather better surely would have been Party’s Republic of China?

Of course, there were a fair number of dark 20th century days, mostly associated with one or another of the totalitarian regimes.  But when thinks of the CCP one can combine (a) the number of people in China, (b) the length of time the regime has persisted, and (c) the very great evils the regime has visited on its own people (and others).  I’m not going to argue it was necessarily worse than when the Nazis came to power in Germany: tens of millions then lost their lives, but the regime was gone again in little more than 12 years.  Or than the Communist Party coming to power in Russia, which opened the way to all manner of Communist regimes, including in China, as well as the brutality and depraved indifference (mass starvation) and loss of freedom visited on its own people and others.   On a smaller (but still large) scale the Rape of Nanking and the Japanese invasion of China would be up there.  But as a marker of evil in our world, 20th century (and now 21st) style it is a low that is hard to beat.    Absolutely dreadful as Rwanda in the 90s, Cambodia in the 70s, various other ethnic cleansings, and even the dropping of the atomic bomb. were, those were all shortlived (mercifully) and affected a handful of people by comparison with the PRC and the Party that controls it.  After all, almost 20 per cent of the world’s population lives under this particular longrunning tyranny.

And yet among too many of the “elites” in our society – whether elected or not –  that doesn’t seem to be the take on the PRC at all.     The PRC model might not be the one they’d want for their own children, but the fact that hundreds of millions of others live under such a regime (tens of millions more either starved by the depraved indifference of the regime, or murdered by the forced abortion policies of the regime) bothers them not in the least.    It isn’t just New Zealand, of course, although all indications are that our “elites” have lost of any sort of moral or values-based perspective on the PRC regime to at least as great an extent, probably more so, than so-called leaders in many other Western countries.  After all –  and not the worst of it – they tolerate a Communist Party member and (former?) member of the PRC military intelligence system in our Parliament, not as some rogue independent, but as a (recently-promoted) member of our largest political party.  And worse, so we are told by a well-connected person, they are so lacking in any decency or moral seriousness, they make light of the fact.

spy

Meanwhile, other parties in Parliament make nothing of this, and so become complicit.

Around the world, all manner of well-known, powerful or influential people in recent weeks will have been invited to functions, hosted by PRC embassies, to mark the beginning of the CCP tyranny.  Others –  people in embassies in Beijing –  will no doubt have been invited to this afternoon’s lavish military parade.   You’d suppose that decent, honourable, people would simply say no.  I’m not suggesting our authorities should have no relations with the PRC but an invitation to such an event in New Zealand might have been met by sending along, for as short a period as decently possible, a mid-ranked MFAT official.

Somewhat to their credit, the PRC Embassy in New Zealand maintains quite a useful website, with speeches and articles that typically tell one more than would ever be secured from the New Zealand side of such exchanges.    Last week there was a big reception, hosted by the Ambassador, at Te Papa to mark the Communist takeover.   The “great and the good” (well, I’ll use the label, even if there is no substance to it) seem to have flocked to it.

On September 24th, the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand held a reception to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Over 500 people attended the reception, including the Acting Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Rt. Hon Winston Peters, the Minister for Ethnic Communities Hon Jenny Salesa, the Acting Secretary and Deputy Chief Executive of MFAT Bede Corry, the Deputy Secretary of the Americas and Asia Group of MFAT Ben King, heads of major government departments and members of parliament, well-known members of the wider community in New Zealand, members of Diplomatic Corps, overseas Chinese, representatives from Chinese institutions and international students.

I’m not holding it against resident PRC citizens that they would attend such an event –  it might not have gone well for them or their families had they declined.  But what of all those prominent New Zealanders, from the acting Prime Minister on down?  Not one of them had to attend.  Every one of them made a choice to do so, a choice that said that what the regime stands for – and has stood for over the decades – didn’t matter to them one bit.    Perhaps the PM herself would have gone if she hadn’t been extolling –  emptily, as this occasion demonstrates –  the idea of a values-driven approach to policy and international affairs?  The acting Prime Minister is photographed standing with the Ambassador, unbothered (apparently) that she represents the latter day manifestation of something like the Nazi Party ca 1938.

(There was another such function in Auckland, with only a slightly less ‘distinguished’ attendance list, including such people as the National Party president, the Mayor of Auckland, and Don McKinnon, all known for their deference to the regime in Beijing.)

We are told that a Deputy Secretary of MFAT gave a speech on behalf of the New Zealand government (less bad than the Minister I suppose).    According to the embassy

MFAT’s Deputy Secretary of the Americas and Asia Group Ben King delivered a speech on behalf of the New Zealand Government, extending warm congratulations on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

How many tens of millions of dead would it have taken for Mr King to have found a conscience and either refused to speak or spoken out (career-limiting of course) to regret the founding of any tyrannical regime and this one in particular?  King’s speech doesn’t appear on the MFAT website, but I have requested a copy. I’m sure it will have been cleverly drafted, but not in the way that will avoid the clear immoral choice successive New Zealand governments have made around the PRC in recent times.  Values are things that have a cost, and when it comes to the PRC it isn’t clear that our politicians or officials have any values at all.  There is no sign any price is worth paying ever.  Some, of course, are particular craven in their pandering, their praise, and their lack of interest in the character of the regime (Simon Bridges as just the most recent egregious example).

Communist Party regimes around the world have proved fairly economically disappointing.   In whatever precise form the regime takes, Communism hasn’t proved incompatible with improving material living standards.   The USSR in 1991 had substantially higher material living standards than Russia had had in 1917.   The same goes for the eastern-bloc countries the Soviet Union controlled for several decades –  wealthier at the end than at the start.   Data on Laos is scarce, but no doubt material living standards are higher than they were several decades ago.  Even Cuba, for all it failures, has GDP per capita higher than when Castro took power.      Quite possible, material living standards even in North Korea (which now eschews the Communist label) are better than in 1950.  But what of it?  Almost every country in the world is richer than it was, and yet useful idiots all round the West rush to use the CCP line about how somehow the regime has “lifted out of poverty” many hundreds of millions.

The best simple test of the economic value-add of Communist regime might be to compare the economic performance of Communist countries with non-Communist one with similar cultural backgrounds, similar geographies etc.   The simplest examples, of course, being East and West Germany, and North and South Korea (the north have once been the more advanced part of the peninsula).    But we could, say, compare Austria with Czechoslovakia (until 1918 they were all part of one polity): in 1937 GDP per capita in two countries was roughly similar  but after 40 years of Communism Czechoslovakia (richer than it was 1937) had about half the per capita GDP of Austria.   Or Cuba and Costa Rica –  with pretty similar levels of GDP per capita in the 1950s, Cuba at about 75 per cent of Spain’s GDP per capita, Cuba now lags badly behind.  Or contrast Laos with neighbouring Thailand.  Vietnam with Malaysia.

And, of course, the PRC with Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea…..well, even with today’s Russia.    Sure over 70 years the material lot of PRC citizens is generally better than it was, but the level of income now lags far behind those other countries.    China once led the world economically, but now –  even after decades of catch-up growth (and some doubts about their data), their average GDP per capita (in PPP terms) is still only just reaching the world average.  Almost certainly, the Communist Party has materially held back the economic development of China and thus the income prospects of the the citizens of the PRC.

Perhaps it would be a little different if Communist rule –  anywhere, let alone China –  had been some staggering economic success.  Then an honest representative of the CCP (is there such a thing?) might reasonably ask whether materially higher living standards than were on offer in comparable, but freer, societies was not a trade-off worth making.  That is, implicitly at least, the situation in Singapore –  not free (although not PRC unfree either) but really rather prosperous, almost up at the global productivity frontiers.  But this is the PRC we are talking about.  It might buy a lot of stuff, including from New Zealand, but it has crippled the economic prospects of its own people, and taken their freedoms in the process.

Yet this is the actual regime ministers, head of departments, and other “leading” citizens have been celebrating:

  •  one where citizens don’t have the vote,
  •  one where citizens have little or no effective freedom of expression,
  •  one where the surveillance state becomes more intrusive by the year,
  •  one that holds Canadian citizens hostage, not for any real crimes, but as leverage against the Canadian government,
  •  one that engages in forced organ transplants,
  •  one that has unilaterally seized and militarised much of the South China Sea, in defiance of international agreements to which the PRC was a party,
  •  one that holds a million or more Uighur people in concentration camps,
  •  one that remains openly determined to absorb free and democratic Taiwan into the PRC, if necessary by invading it,
  •  one that increasingly deprives citizens of any freedom of religion, which might be seen as a threat to the pre-eminence of the Party

and so we would go on, barely mentioning Tibet, state-sponsored intellectual property theft, the absence of the rule of law, or the activities abroad of the likes of Jian Yang, Yikun Zhang, and their counterparts in numerous countries around the world. And it is not as if the regime is getting less tyrannical, more willing to limit the Party’s pre-eminence.

But never mind, there are drinks and canapes to consume, deals to do, donations to secure…….against which the sort of traditional values of New Zealand citizens (including many ethnic Chinese who came here to escape the regime) are set at naught and dishonoured every day, but this day perhaps more than most.

How will history judge these people – our politicians, our prominent business leaders, our journalists who take trips to China and then write PRC-favourable stories, the government-funded propagandists at the China Council, and so on?  Not well, one hopes.  No doubt, they all manage to tell themselves that somehow they have the ‘best interests of New Zealand” at heart and perhaps they even believe it, but they are deluding themselves, and dishonouring all those who value freedom, whether here, in China, or anywhere else around the world.

They shame us:

Jacinda Ardern

Simon Bridges

Winston Peters

James Shaw

Todd McClay

Gerry Brownlee

David Parker

Don McKinnon

Stephen Jacobi

Peter Goodfellow

and so on, including the galaxy of MFAT officials, other senior officials, university vice-chancellors, private business people, much of the mainstream media.

But if it is 70 years today since the CCP tyranny was established, it is also 30 years next month since the Berlin Wall fell and way was opened decisively for the end of Communism in Europe.      Evil regimes don’t last forever.  For the sake of the world, and for the 1.4 billion people in China, we should hope this one ends soon, and give no aid and succour –  or simple encouragement by turning up to share celebratory drinks – to the evil regime and its leaders while they last.

25 thoughts on “On the anniversary of the CCP seizing power

  1. I was not invited and would not have attended if invited. For what it’s worth.

    40th anniversary celebrations of the Four Modernisations and the SEZs could have been fun, though marred by the retrenchments of the past decade.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I was in Shanghai at last years China anniversary. A marvelous display of unarmed military marching precision in amongst the crowds guiding them where they needed to go throughout the city. What was surprising was there was not any guns to be seen anywhere around Shanghai.

      Quite different from Rome where there were high calibre machine guns with soldiers in full battle ready attire and armoured cars throughout the city of Rome during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

      Like

      • I am in Hong Kong at the moment and there are plenty of guns on show here. I feel sorry for the people of HK as they are on a road to no where and I am surprised the PRC has allowed things to go as far as they have. Xi has a hatred for HK and wants to destroy it. His aim is for it to get to the point that HK citizens beg to become part of the motherland.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I have been thinking that the HK police have been taking a rather patient approach. Not too sure if it is leadership confusion or the problems diminishes Hong Kong’s international reputation as a key financial centre and the ultimate long term plan is for international businesses to relocate to Shenzhen or Shanghai.

        Like

  2. This is what the imprisonment of Uygur’s is really all about. Minerals.

    Xinjiang is a treasure house (like its near-neighbours Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia). In addition to oil, they have over 600 gold mines with hundreds of tonnes of proven reserves and an estimated 150 billion tonnes of coal (I wonder what Greta Thunberg would make of that)….

    They simply want to clear away the native people so they can expropriate their resources (they’d do the same to us if there were substantial resources in Antartica that they wished to acquire).

    Large oil field discovered in Xinjiang
    Xinhua | Updated: 2017-12-01 14:26
    URUMQI — An oil company announced Thursday that it had found a conglomerate oil field with an estimated one-billion-tonne reserve in the Junggar Basin in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

    The oil field in the Mahu Area, with a proven reserve of 520 million tonnes, may store up to 1.24 billion tonnes, according to the PetroChina Xinjiang branch,

    Tang Yong, a geologist with PetroChina that is a leading oil producer in the country, said the area had the natural conditions for another one-billion-tonne reserve discovery.

    New oil production capacity of 1.38 million tonnes has been built in the area over the past two years. Over six million tonnes of new capacity has been planned for 2016 to 2020.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The Soviet Union, when it finally collapsed in 1991, had, for all its huge resources, an economy about the size of France. In trying to compete on the world stage with the United States it was forced to devote a huge amount of its GDP to military expenditures. It was eventually outspent and broken economically, which led to the liberation of Eastern Europe as Soviet power slipped away. How resilient is Communist China? It has built a large and sophisticated economy through thieving technology, through protectionism and currency manipulation, and by providing cheap, virtual slave labour to Western multinationals. There are indications its strong growth phase has come to an end however and that it is vulnerable to outside pressure, in particular from President Trump’s attempts to level the playing field in bilateral trade and investment. Leaving aside the important moral questions you have raised, New Zealand is very foolish to put all its eggs in the China basket because we magnify our vulnerability to sudden shifts from a regime whose workings we understand little about. As for commerce, New Zealand companies, most notably Fonterra, have been seriously damaged from investing in China. A wise New Zealand government would be looking to distance itself and disengage from some of the more compromising entanglements it now finds itself in. Instead we appear to be doing the very opposite. This country is going to get very badly burned.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. well said, and I’ve always wondered why we trade with China or any country that doesn’t have similar labour laws and minimum wages at 1st world levels.
    It is quite scary though to consider how our economy would have fared without Chinese demand for our products.
    Politicians work the pork barrel we get the trim, and if we don’t get it we vote them out.

    Like

    • Thanks, but I have to mostly disagree with you. wages are lower in poor countries because on average firms in those countries are less productive. And the idea that we owe our moderate prosperity to China is largely wrong ( see the IMF modelling I wrote about in a post last week). We mostly sell commodities to China, with a price set in a world market.

      Like

      • As Elon Musk and Tesla has found out, fully automated factories are very expensive to run whenever flexibility is required. Humans still have an exceptional ability to innovate and adapt to changing environments rapidly when compared to roboits that need stable and static environments. Therefore wages need to increase to a level high enough to be replaced by machines. China has an abundant cheap labour workforce. All the high tech Smartphones are manufactured by humans because a new model has to be released every 6 months to be competitive. At this stage only humans can adapt fast enough and produce in the large quantities that world markets demand.

        Like

  5. We still refer to the PRC as being a Communist state, but of course that is a misdirection which conceals the PRC’s real nature. Consider
    1. The glorification of Xi Jinping and his personal rule, aided by systematic removal of rivals.
    2. The absolute and permanent rule of the Party, untrammelled by law or otherwise, portrayed as being essential to the survival of the nation.
    3. Military expansionism, and glorification of the PLA.
    4. The prevention of any form of civil society not controlled by the Party.
    5. Active support for business champions, with State protection of businesses against their workers and against foreign competition; but always provided that the businesses advance the goals of the Party. (Of course, an actual communist state does not permit businesses to exist.)
    6. The determination that Han Chinese are superior to other races living in the country.
    7. The Lebensraum policy shown by the extensive settlement of Han Chinese in Tibet and Xinjiang.
    8. The demonisation of selected internal enemies such as Falun Gong.
    9. The Anschluss with Hong Kong and Macao, to be followed by Taiwan as soon as can be arranged.
    10. The provision of support to appeasers in other states to advance Chinese interests wherever possible.

    China in 2019 has the same smell about it as Germany had in 1936. Let’s call it by its proper name: China is the modern world’s most powerful Fascist state. And for some time you have been pointing out to us the collaborators in our institutions.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. “”But as one China expert and another member of the Chinese community pointed out, the perceived political questions may not be seen as issues by those who Yang appeals to.
    The portion of the Chinese community that Yang interacts with, and garners donations from, would likely see his presence at Beijing’s military show and 70th anniversary celebrations as a positive.””

    From https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2019/10/02/838837/jian-yang-in-china-for-chinese-communist-party-celebrations

    Like

  7. The Chinese revolution was the greatest event in human history, together with the Russian revolution of 1917.

    One major accomplishment: “Between 1950 and 1980, China experienced the most rapid sustained increase in life expectancy of any population in documented global history.”
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25495509

    Of course Michael avoids this, being the western exceptionalist (white supremacist) liar that he is. He prefers a world where Westerners rule the roost ….forever. That is why he hates countries like the Peoples Republic of China.

    Like

  8. In short the Peoples Republic of China, far from being a murderous hell-hole was. compared to other developing countries, its history being dominated in massive reductions in mortality.

    For example infant mortality:
    https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.IMRT.IN?end=2015&locations=CN-IN-US-ID-BR-PK-NG-BD&start=1960&view=chart

    You are a Christian, Michael – perhaps you should stop lying your head off and deal with the facts.

    Or at least come up with an honest rebuttal.

    Like

    • Tens of millions dead, either by the direct action of the Party/state, or by its depraved indifference. Millions of babies forcibly killed in utero. And little or no civil, politiical or religious freedom. Oh, and an economic performance left in the shade by freer east Asian countries, democracies like Taiwan, Japan, and S Korea, and even semi-authoritarian places like Singapore.

      None of that is even in serious question

      Like

      • ‘depraved indifference’….hahahahahhahahaha….there, you don’t have any answer at all to facts that stare you in the face.

        Like

      • Read the post. As I note, given enough time, material living standards have risen quite a lot in many countries labouring under tyrannical regimes. But those gains don’t typically match those in otherwise comparable free countries (eg Taiwan).

        And that is without even starting on the dreadful restrictions on freedom. Your favoured regimes – Soviet Union and the PRC – systematically persecuted my co-religionists (again as just one example).

        Like

Leave a Reply to Eric Crampton Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s