How China lost its humanity

How China lost its humanity, by Anastasia Lin.

My communist education in China was half political indoctrination. Youths were encouraged to demonise “the government’s enemy”, including Western democracies, Christians, Tibetans, Falun Gong practitioners and now Hong Kong protesters. We feared repercussions if we challenged such rhetoric, and were rewarded for using extreme language and action to marginalise and demonise the targeted minority.

Today, communist government-sponsored media falsely portrays the protests as violent riots. Out of a misguided patriotism, angry Chinese youths intimidate other Chinese people on internet forums. …

Anastasia Lin, Miss WOrld Canada 2015, author of the article

Last week at the University of South Australia, when a female Hong Kong student was chanting “Hong Kong, stay strong”, the pro-Beijing students shouted back sexist foul language to intimidate her.

The overseas Chinese community was shocked by the ruthlessness in their conduct but, back in China, videos of the event were circulated by the media as “the best example of patriotic education”. This is the classic communist modus operandi: when outclassed, try to outgun.

The mainland Chinese once had as much humanity and compassion as Hong Kong people do. But decades of repression have produced cynicism. People have seen one political purge after another, in which small segments of the population are picked out and publicly persecuted to instil fear in everyone else. That desensitises us to others’ suffering. After the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, the surviving victims were persecuted, thrown into jail and “disappeared”. The country returned to normal soon after, as if nothing had ever happened. The student protesters’ sacrifice was in vain.

The voice of the pro-Beijing enthusiasts does not represent the voice of overseas Chinese or most citizens in China. …

They remind me of the Chinese dissidents I met in Canada, where I went through the long process of my eyes opening to Western society and detoxing what I had been told as a child. I met those who survived China’s labour camps, the Falun Gongs, the Uighurs, the human rights lawyers who lost everything to protect their fellow citizens.

Some of them recounted being shocked by electronic batons repeatedly, gang-raped, force-fed and having bamboo sticks punctured under fingernails, for doing nothing more than staying true to their beliefs and speaking their mind. But these stories can never be heard inside China because of censorship.

It was a profound indignity to find out my entire belief system was based on a lie. I realised I had been used as a tool by the Chinese Communist Party as a child. It wants to make all Chinese citizens complicit in its crimes. The courageous Hong Kongers are fighting on behalf of every Chinese citizen, who may not even know how they lost their humanity.