70 Years of The People’s Republic of China: From Famine to Prosperity With Repression

On 1st October 1949, Mao Zedong's revolution was launched, claiming the lives of approximately 45 million Chinese people.

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China celebrates 70 years of the longest communist dictatorship in history. (EFE/European Press Photo Agency).

Spanish – Conservation campaigns for the planet are on the streets and canals of the world. They proclaim that the preservation of species goes hand in hand with the struggle against capitalism. But they say nothing about the impact on the environment, the depredation of species, and even the seas dried up by communism. China is at the forefront. It is the most polluting country in the world, under the same communist regime from 70 years ago.

On 1st October 1949, Mao Zedong initiated the revolution. He is responsible for the death of approximately 45 million Chinese people between 1958 and 1961 during the industrialization of China, a process known as “the great leap forward.”

China, the most polluting country in the world, was not among the countries condemned by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and a group of idealistic young people at the UN Climate Action Summit. However, in 2019 alone, China’s carbon emissions increased by 2.2%, amounting to over nine billion tons of CO2.

The scarcity under communism demanded the killing of all birds

The saying goes that in China you eat everything that moves on land except the train, everything that flies except the plane, and everything that swims except the ship. But it wasn’t always like that. The scarcity produced by communism led to the consumption of all kinds of animals to meet basic needs, to the point that it became normal.

During the Agrarian Revolution, for example, all sparrows were ordered to be killed. Since this bird ate grain, they killed it so that there would be more food. But the opposite happened, since there were no natural predators to control the insect population, there was a plague of locusts that devastated the crop.

The famine that produced killed an average of 8 million people, the plague of locusts made it necessary to import the sparrows that had previously been exterminated. The communist regime imported them from its ideological ally: the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

From 1958 to 1961, all private initiatives, from agriculture to eating at home, disappeared; an activity that was replaced by community kitchens within the famous communes. Every aspect of life was a function of the revolution.

Since 1978, China began to liberate its markets and came out of hunger and misery

It was not until 1978, when Deng Xiaoping, a Chinese revolutionary, and veteran of the Communist Party, adopted capitalist methods and reforms to stimulate economic growth and restore confidence that China was able to emerge from hunger and misery.

Deng launched several economic reforms that allowed the private sector to start and operate its own businesses once again, given the explicit prohibition of private enterprise that existed under Mao’ s rule. He also established four special economic zones along China’s coastline in an attempt to attract foreign investment.

As a result of Deng’s reforms, China went from being a country that opposed capitalism to one that embraced property rights, profits, and free-market competition.

By 2015, the Shanghai Stock Exchange became the third-largest in the world in terms of market capitalization.

Anniversary of the communist revolution intensified repression in Hong Kong

Although greater economic freedom meant a substantial improvement in the quality of life of the Chinese, oppression by the communist regime continues.

The most significant case was the Tiananmen massacre. In 1989, the square was packed with students who were inspired by the same spirit that brought down the Berlin Wall. But they were shot. The regime acknowledged 300 dead, but the Chinese Red Cross reported that at least 2,600 had been killed.

Today that spirit is alive in Hong Kong. Demonstrators have been protesting for 17 weeks against an extradition bill that would allow suspects to be tried under China’s legal system.

The anniversary of the communist revolution in China aggravated the repression against the demonstrators. On the morning of 1st October, a gunshot wound was documented.

The demonstrators march with flags of different countries and international institutions, such as the United States and the United Nations as they appeal to the world community to support the movement.

Police used tear gas and rubber bullets, as well as a series of arrests, to try to stop the peaceful march, which was not approved by the authorities.

Religious persecution continues in China

Among the demonstrators, there are silent marches on the part of Christian groups, particularly Catholic ones, who fear that they will suffer the same fate as their brothers and sisters of faith in mainland China.

The bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Zen, called on Catholics to “return to the catacombs” as the Chinese regime persecutes the 12 million Catholics in the country.

To try to reverse the phenomenon, the Vatican allowed the regime to elect priests. This action permitted the conditional practice of faith and was both applauded and questioned. Those who choose to go to unauthorized masses must do so in secrecy.

The regime monitors behavior through a points system

Thinking and acting outside the regime’s mandate is an increasingly difficult task. There is facial recognition technology; all social networks are linked, there is state control over the Internet, and therefore certain websites are forbidden, and most importantly: there is a social credit system that awards or deducts citizens’ points based on their obedience.

Already more than 1 million people, for example, have been denied the possibility of using public transport because of their low scores. Meanwhile, the consumption of local products, registered through the applications, can increase points as a reward, which can bring them benefits. For example, the regime makes it easier for citizens with higher scores to access a visa or any other state procedure.

However, having friends with low scores reduces one’s own score. The person then has the option of walking away from that person or encouraging him or her to be more obedient.

Thus, China has become the dystopian future that novels and fictional series like Black Mirror warned us about, where the capacity for consumption is assumed as freedom when, in reality, it is conditional.

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