Two significant events took place in the last 30 days electorally. India, the world’s largest democracy vociferously elected her new government with an astounding majority in a well-organized mammoth exercise; and the extremely well behaved Hongkongers took to the street in an unprecedented show of strength against China about an extradition bill that would allow China to extradite native Hongkongers and people transiting through against offences perceived by the People’s Republic on the mainland. Considering that China is taking affront at almost any small thing that undermines the CCP, the nature of this bill and its far reaching consequences are extremely dangerous. The extradition bill will effectively stifle any dissent, freedom, democracy and fundamental rights in Hong Kong in a clear violation of Communist Party of China’s (CCP) promise of “One country, Two systems” it had promised to uphold. All actions that have followed from appointing pro-Beijing officials to administer Hong Kong to preventing pro-democracy parties from coming to power have revealed the hollowness of CCP’s promises conspicuously.
For too long, the western think-tanks and universities have remained blind to the fact that China under CCP does not seek a fair playing ground based on globally accepted rules and norms. The typical Chinese deception backed by Chinese money has made apologists of intellectuals and armchair consultants who failed/choose not to see the writing on the wall when it is bright enough for even a blind person. The real issue is about CCP’s ideology and what it actually means for Chinese citizens and the world. In 2018, the Constitution of China was amended to further cement CCP’s control and supremacy extending greater powers, removing term limits of both the President and Vice President along with writing the phrase “Communist Party of China and its leadership” into the main body of the Constitution in Article 36 for the first time since China adopted the Constitution in 1982. Even though China follows a unitary party system, this amendment effectively made CCP more powerful than China’s constitution beyond reproach; granting it almost Godlike powers with no checks. Thus, CCP whose primary target is “ideological and cultural control of all Chinese people” became the absolute master of over 1.38 billion people with the Xi Jinping Thought of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
This makes President Xi, the absolute “selected” ruler of about 20 % of humanity. The key points of Xi Jinping Thought are ensuring CCP’s leadership everywhere in China, governing with the rule of law, practising socialist core values, improving people’s livelihood and well-being, coexisting well with nature with energy conservation and environmental protection and contributing to global ecological safety and establishing a common destiny between Chinese people and other people around the world with a peaceful international environment. One could argue that this is not the first time China’s Constitution has been amended so what makes this one frightening. Two things mainly; the first being abolishing term limits effectively making the CCP Chairman Xi Jinping Emperor for Life and the second the expanded definition of Chinese people to include all people of Chinese origin under the purview of CCP regardless of their current citizenship and domicile.
Let us first discuss China’s electoral system. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China prescribes that all power of the state belongs to the people. The system of People’s Congress is the basic political system of China and is the organizational form of state power in China. In short, it is the way CCP fraudulently showcases that the Chinese people are the independent masters of their destiny. This could not be more laughable. China’s elections are based on a hierarchical system where only the Local People’s Congress’ is directly elected by people who are nominated by CCP through discussion and consultations. This is the only area where people chose their representatives from a list of party-approved officials. Moreover, these elections at the local level are made up of a small block of voters usually in the early thousands. Apart from the Local People’s Congress; all higher levels of the People’s Congress up to the National People’s Congress which is the highest body of the Chinese state and legislature are indirectly elected by the representatives of the level immediately below it.
The National People’s Congress (NPC) comprises of 2980 members. Most of the seats in NPC are held by CCP members effectively making it mainly a ceremonial rubber stamp authority of the party. The NPC is convened once a year to pass big legislations. While the NPC does include representation of all districts of China including its autonomous regions as well as Hong Kong and Macau, the reality is quite different. The real power lies with the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress which oversees the election of NPC and has the power to interpret the Constitution of China from its perspective.
The NCP’s Standing Committee is appointed by CCP’s central apparatus, the Politburo Standing Committee also known as Standing Committee of the Central Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China and comprises of the top leadership of CCP. It currently has 7 members and has ranged historically from 5-11 members. Since the 1990s, China’s General Secretary, Premier, Chairman of NPC, Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party’s top anti-graft body, and the first-ranked Secretary of the Secretariat have consistently been members of CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee. The Politburo Standing Committee members has become a powerful shadow State Council issuing specific policies on a wide range of issues. Heads of government bodies report to the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s national legislature remains under CCP domination and CCP appoints the judges of the Supreme People’s Court. CPC’s membership is under 90 million with only 1.6% being official card carrying members. This means that non-party members and non-Han ethnic Chinese don’t enjoy representation and have absolutely no say. In summary, the NPC members’ allegiance along with all other state bodies lies solely with CCP and not the Chinese people, last; if at all. This is a system with absolute authority and power for CCP with no checks, no counters and an infinite potential for abuse of power.
Let us now discuss the freedom the Chinese citizens enjoy. The state controls speech, the internet is monitored, most western and pro-democracy media is censored or banned. Education, journalism and the law are controlled by CCP and its propaganda department. Payment and instant messenger applications are under the purview of the CCP as are banks. Individuals found posting even the slightest negative statement against CCP find their messenger apps shut down and accounts closed. A social credit rating system has been implemented that determines “the loyalty and ideological discipline of Chinese citizens towards CCP” that rewards and punishes citizens accordingly. Citizens are encouraged to study the Xi Jinping Thought and rewarded in kind. Citizens are also encouraged to report citizens that do not adhere to the conformist behaviour. Interestingly, these rules are applicable to all Chinese citizens and not the minority that CCP considers a hindrance to its universal China model. Those that don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it and if the above does not bring back memories of Germany under Hitler, we are simply moving towards repeating one of the greatest horrors that befell mankind in the past.
CCP has used the collapse of the Soviet Union as a tool to deprive its citizens of democracy, freedom and independent thought. The reality is no communist model of governance has succeeded anywhere globally. The USSR was bound to collapse as will China; it is simply a question of when and not if. Communism has only brought poverty, brainwashing, ethnic genocide and authoritarian rule wherever it has gone. The promised utopia of fairness and welfare for all and equal distribution under socialism has never existed. Communism has only further cemented greater authoritarian control in the hands of a few leading to rampant abuse.
What is this fairness and welfare model that CCP seems to be talking about? Chinese industries have contributed to the highest carbon emissions in this century with their manufacturing sector exhibiting complete insolence for environmental protections. Deteriorating air and fog are the norm in China. Forget respect for the global environment, China has played with the fragile ecology of Tibet in changing the course of water upstream from downstream. Its extensive fishing in the South China Sea has irreversibly damaged coral reefs and reduced fish population. Its toxic waste due to manufacturing has created a poisonous environment where its citizens grow food. It has denied its senior citizens welfare and social security. Its public free hospitals are inadequate to meet the needs of its people.
Forget equality and the rule of law, the CCP officials get their food, grains and meat from safe food supply zones where only organic fertilizers, biological pesticides and no pollutants are used while the rest of the Chinese people have to make do with tainted milk powder, lean meat powder, artificial honey, synthetic meat and other banned food additives. There are special hospitals for CCP officials which are not available to the general people. CCP decides which countries should become the beneficiary of the Chinese people’s overseas travel. It also decides on capital controls and fund outflows. Chinese people cannot remit money outside the mainland without CCP approval. Citizens who attempt to do so may be forced to commit suicide, their companies taken over and family members targeted. If CCP decides a businessman is not loyal enough, it may simply indict him of corruption. People of Chinese origin with non-Chinese spouses living overseas and holding other nationalities are not targeted. George Orwell’s statement of “some are more equal than others” is an apt summary of CCP in China.
It is often said that if something is given to you for free, YOU are the product. The Chinese people are nothing more than a product for CCP to maintain its grip on power. CCP has always ruled by fear; initially by instilling the fear of failure of China like USSR and now the failure of China to the western democratic model. However, when failure gets converted into paranoia and a ruthless quest for retaining power at any cost, it leads to dangerous consequences. CCP has already embarked on this path.
CCP has already marked all people of Chinese origin in and out of China as Chinese citizens who owe first allegiance to the Party. In this course, it is going beyond established norms to force people to display their loyalty using relatives on the mainland as leverage. Multiple recent examples have clearly demonstrated that CCP has tried to game the system using global rules but will not entertain them when it comes to itself. There can be nothing scarier than a Chinese citizen waking up every single day wondering if he said something against the regime that could be considered mildly provocative and what the consequences could be. Will he be arrested, his family arrested or will they be reported to have committed suicide? Will the MSS pick up his children who are studying overseas; will he be allowed to leave the country the next time he decides to travel for work? CCP is also not averse to using its money power to bully countries to pick up “people of interest” on foreign territories. CCP has repeatedly and consistently displayed contempt for all international rules of law, human rights, freedom. CCP considers itself above citizenship rights and thinks any person of Chinese origin regardless of their current domicile, passport, residence and ideology is fair game in its power pursuit and little things like the law should not be considered a deterrent for it.
Of course if the citizen unfortunately happens to be a minority; his problems only get compounded. Behind the charade of eliminating radicalisation, CCP has locked millions of Uighurs and Kazakhs in concentration camps it is kind enough to call re-education centres. CCP has been fooling the world by saying Uighurs come there of their own free will to be de-radicalised and become effective Chinese citizens with complete allegiance to CCP. The reality is quite different. Uighurs are the most monitored citizens on this planet. They have no freedom, their phones are constantly monitored, and they are not allowed to travel or receive calls from overseas. They are not allowed to practice their religion or maintain their diet restrictions. CCP police routinely drop in unannounced to live with them. No Uighur or Kazakh knows when he or his family members will be sent to a concentration camp from which they may never return. They may die there and their families not informed or worse; could have their organs harvested by CCP run hospitals for profit. By some miracle, if they do return there is no guarantee they may find a single family member present. Apart from Uighurs and Kazakhs, the fate of all Falun Gong and pro-democracy activists, journalists and lawyers is also on similar lines.
These are merely a handful of examples of the rampant abuse by CCP and why the Chinese people deserve better. At the very least, they deserve the right to elect the people who are going to decide how they must live, what air they can breathe, what food they can eat, what media they can watch etc. CCP is not elected by them and has usurped the power to decide the destiny of a billion plus people. In which universe is this remotely justified and correct?
Democracy is not a perfect system of government. There is no perfect system of government but in the 21st century, if we can have the knowledge to go to the moon and man space missions; why can’t 20% of the world population have the right to choose who will lead them? Why must they continue being subjected to the whims and fancies of a mafia regime that is prepared to go to any lengths to retain its hold on power even at the cost of millions of human lives? It is the collective responsibility of all the democracies and the free world to support the Chinese people in their fight for democracy and civil rights. Once fear evaporates, authoritarian regimes fall. Hong Kong showed China how this can be done.