Seventy years ago today, Mao Zedong declared the People’s Republic of China after his Communist forces had conquered most of the mainland. A decade later, Mao’s Great Leap Forward killed perhaps 45 million people. The Communist regime still denies its people freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and has imposed a policy of forced abortion. At the present moment, China has detained something like 1.5 million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in re-education camps. Its crackdown on Hong Kong escalated this week, when a protester was shot in the chest.
President Donald Trump marked the 70th anniversary of the “People’s Republic” with the following congratulatory tweet: “Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people on the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China!”
But Senate Republicans have marked the anniversary with condemnation of the regime.
Missouri senator Josh Hawley: “Seventy years ago, the Chinese Community Party seized power from the Chinese people. Since then, its ruthless rule has resulted in the deaths of millions of its own citizens.”
Arkansas senator Tom Cotton: “To see the price of the PRC’s anniversary celebration, look no further than what’s happening in Hong Kong: a ceaseless war against those who wish to live in freedom. From the Great Leap Forward to the Cultural Revolution to the camps in Xinjiang today, it has been a ghoulish 70 years of Chinese Communist Party control.”
Nebraska senator Ben Sasse: “Today Chinese tyrants celebrated 70 years of communist oppression with their typically brutal symbolism: by sending a police officer to shoot a pro-democracy protester at point-blank range. The freedom-seekers in Hong Kong mourn this anniversary, and the American people stand with them against those who deny their God-given dignity.”
Pennsylvania senator Pat Toomey:
The 70th anniversary of communist rule in China is not a day for celebration. It’s a day to remind ourselves of the horrors inflicted on the Chinese people over this time.
It started with Mao, whose oppressive, autocratic regime murdered tens of millions, seized and redistributed personal property, & mandated economic activities that led to the Great Chinese Famine.
Following Mao’s death, and the unimaginable social trauma unleashed by his Cultural Revolution, there was hope with the ascension of Deng whose economic and social reforms were positives. Greater support for global investment and free markets raised the standard of living in China. Some religious freedom was tolerated. That being said, the Deng regime regularly violated human rights – most notably the horrific massacre at Tiananmen Square.
Under Xi, many of Deng’s reforms have been rolled back. Human rights violations are systemic. Religious minorities like Uighur Muslims are imprisoned, and the state seeks to erase their way of life. Where’s Tibet today? And now we’re seeing the erosion of what little economic freedom existed. A foreign policy priority of Xi’s authoritarian regime is to consolidate power throughout the Asia Pacific region. The Orwellian surveillance state constructed by Xi should give everyone pause. For these reasons and more, it is important that the United States and free societies around the world support the people of Hong Kong, who are making an unprecedented stand against Xi’s repressive tactics.