Maoist China under Xi can never be our friend

Maoist China under Xi can never be our friend. By Paul Monk.

The biggest mistake we keep being invited to make is to think that China is well governed and just another country. …

John Fitzgerald’s newly published study of this subject, Cadre Country, is required reading on this subject. Fitzgerald has been writing on these subjects for 30 years. …

On April 28, 2017, the No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court in China’s northern port city of Tianjin announced the conviction and sentencing of lawyer Li Heping for subversion of state power.

Two years earlier, the authorities had ordered the arrest and detention of more than 300 lawyers in the infamous “709 crackdown” (July 9, 2015) targeting China’s professional legal defenders.

Li was one of them. Over two years in detention, pending trial, he was tortured by electric shock and forcibly medicated with a drug that, by his wife’s account, caused “muscle pains, lethargy and blurred vision”. One month was spent in shackles, leaving him ­unable to stand.

On that same day, in Tianjin’s sister city of Melbourne, former prime minister Paul Keating took to the stage and mocked critics of China’s human rights record for being “hung up” about legal defenders in China. Speaking at a La Trobe University event, Keating dismissed concerns about the abuse of legal process in China as a trivial blip in the record of the “best government in the world of the last 30 years. Full stop”. …


A giant of the Australian Labor Party and master of the larrikin idiom, Keating spoke to an adoring audience. Packed into the Melbourne Recital Centre, they laughed on cue and nodded in ­affirmation. To be fair, they were probably unaware of the trial under way in their sister city; but it is also unclear that knowledge would have made any difference to their responses. A lot is forgiven for the Communist Party of China for having — in one of the more widely circulated phrases of the past half century — “lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty”. One outspoken lawyer might have been dismissed as a fair price to pay.

In fact, Li was one of hundreds of legal defenders who had recently been rounded up, imprisoned and tortured on charges of subversion. This assault on the legal profession was no robust rebuff of overpaid lawyers, as Keating’s sideways swipe might have suggested, but a signal to China and the world that three decades of experimentation with the rule of law were over.

Li’s conviction, announced early in Xi’s second term, was one of many signs that the party was no longer tolerating restraints on its exercise of power.

Erasing history to encourage conformity:

One way the party curates the historical record is to erase events from history and public memory, a practice that earned China the title of “People’s Republic of Amnesia” in the work of Australia-based media analyst Louisa Lim.

In Xi Jinping’s New Era, the preferred method for neutralising critical inquiry involves intimidating professional historians and history teachers through a political campaign targeting “historical nihilism”. …

Leading cadres elevated historical nihilism to the highest level of national security with the claim that the gravest threat to the country was neither American imperialism nor the independence of Taiwan but “historical nihilism”. …

Internet monitors and censorship agencies removed two million items posted on the web by (independent scholars) who told different stories about the party. Millions of commercial sites modified their online web presence to reflect greater sensitivity around words and phrases to which the party could possibly ­object. …

Legalism is back in China, the country that invented totalitarianism two and a half thousand years ago. The labels change, but the Chinese Government has reverted to form:

Its routine behaviour towards its own people, as shown in these excerpts, is ruthless. And they are merely the tip of the iceberg, as Fitzgerald shows in detail.

This is not a regime which any of us should want to see flourish, or expand its influence. On the contrary, we have every reason to seek change in the way it behaves, for our own good and that of the Chinese people. If the other significant states of East Asia, starting with Japan and then including South Korea and Taiwan, can change from developmental dictatorship to liberal democratic governance and political decency, why not China? Change China? The problem isn’t China or the Chinese. It’s the Communist Party’s Maoism.

Supremacist, racist, militaristic, and determined to take over the world. The CCP has snuffed out the limited freedom that flickered briefly in China for a decade or two.