Commentary on Political Economy

Wednesday 3 March 2021


Totalitarian CCP unqualified to lecture on racism

Sinophiles regard China as an exemplar of human development that has transformed the dream of Marxism into a self-evident truth.

As a self-appointed arbiter of equality, the Chinese Communist Party sees fit to lecture other nations on racial divisions even as it demands conformity to the one-party state. The result is an absurd reality in which the CCP can confine an ethnic minority in internment camps while lecturing the world about racial equality.

Like much media in China, the Global Times represents the totalitarian government, not the free press. Last week it smeared the Five Eyes intelligence alliance as white supremacist after some members had criticised the Chinese government’s treatment of ethnic minorities.

Denial is the CCP’s first line of defence against criticism. Its second is counter-attack, and the race card is the red state’s rhetorical ace. But when the Chinese government stands accused of genocide and the victims are ethnic minorities, the CCP looks very much like the racist in chief.

The US and Canada have accused the Chinese regime of enacting genocide against Uighurs, a mostly Muslim minority group in Xinjiang, northwestern China.

Last week, the Canadian government passed a motion put by Conservative MPs to recognise the CCP’s actions against Uighurs as a contravention of the UN Genocide Convention. Australia and the other members of the Five Eyes alliance — Britain and New Zealand — have yet to follow suit.

The campaign to stop the CCP’s genocide of Uighurs has been strengthened by witness accounts of atrocities in the Xinjiang camps that were built to “re-educate” the Muslim ethnic minority in politically correct communist thought. It also was assisted by Japanese intelligence about the construction and location of the concentration camps. Japan is seeking closer ties with the multilateral Five Eyes alliance, in part to shore up its defences against China’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy.

Speaking to the BBC, witnesses to the CCP re-education camps have recounted horrific scenes of public humiliation, thought reform, torture and rape.

A former inmate, Tursunay Ziawudun, fled China after her release from a camp where she had spent nine months. Speaking to the BBC from the US, she recounted women being removed from the cells and enduring gang-rape by masked Chinese men.

Like most early accounts of genocide, the testimony cannot be proven while the ruling regime maintains control of the targeted minority.

However, the BBC pointed out that the records she provided corroborated her timeline, her description of the camp matched satellite imagery and her detailed account of camp life bore a strong similarity to statements made by other former detainees. A former camp worker also has recounted horrific details of having to prepare detainees for rape by handcuffing and undressing them, and cleaning rooms afterwards.

A recent defector from China, Cai Xia, explained in the journal Foreign Affairs that under President Xi Jinping the communist regime had become more brutal, in part because it was an administrative state where lowbrow officials wielded too much power. It is reminiscent of Hannah Arendt’s description of the banality of evil that enabled Nazism to develop from a revolutionary politics into a sustained state of genocide.

Cai writes of scholars who privately confess that Xi is illogical and lacks basic judgment. Chinese intellectuals are concerned by the CCP’s political censorship, punishment of dissidents, rejection of scientific truth during the COVID-19 outbreak and mistreatment of ethnic minorities.

Since the end of the Nazi regime, historians have grappled with how to define genocide. In part the question is a legal one, but its intellectual root grows from deep-seated anxiety about how humanity can prevent atrocities by recording the unique sequence of events or patterns that give rise to genocidal sentiment.

China’s totalitarian model of state and closed society empower that sense of ethnic supremacy that is a motive force for genocide.

The Han constitute about 91 per cent of China’s population. China has a one-party political system with an official ideology inspired by state Marxism. It is profoundly intolerant of belief systems, cultures and practices that deviate from the CCP line. It is a closed, nativist state and society.

The CCP condemns Western nations for their treatment of indigenous people but is less forthcoming about China’s own history of colonisation.

Indigenous people constitute about 2 per cent of Taiwan’s population. They have lower college participation rates, lower average annual income and are under-represented in managerial posi­tions. Taiwan’s government has introduced affirmative action measures, but the International World Group for Indigenous Affairs notes that it refuses to recognise several indigenous groups.

Taiwan’s indigenous people issued a public statement in 2019 after Xi threatened to force the unification of Taiwan with China. Quartz reported that indigenous groups asserted their independence, stating: “We do not share the monoculturalism, unification and hegemony promoted by you, Mr Xi.”

They added that they did not belong to the “so-called Chinese nation”. The representatives of Taiwan’s indigenous people rejected Xi’s promotion of ethnic Han culture as superior to other ethnic and religious groups.

But Han supremacy remains a significant problem and a root of the communist regime’s forceful assertion of its right to take Taiwan by force, to occupy Tibet and to “re-educate” Xinjiang’s Muslim population. The CCP stands accused of genocide against its Uighur minority. It has threatened to assimilate Taiwan’s population, including its indigenous people, by force. It has brutally suppressed Tibetans for decades and celebrates Han supremacy. The CCP is not qualified to lecture the free world on race relations.

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