On 1 July, 2022, China marks its 101st anniversary of the foundation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Communist Party of China was founded in 1921 by Chen Duxiu and Li Dazhao . Mao Zedong was a founding member of the party and rose through its ranks to become its leader and chairman in 1943. The CCP under his leadership emerged victorious in the Chinese Civil War against the Kuomintang, and in 1949, Mao proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Since then, the CCP has governed China and has sole control over the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Each successive leader of the CCP has added their theories to the party’s constitution, which outlines the ideological beliefs of the party, collectively referred to as socialism with Chinese characteristics. Throughout the years, the Communist party of China has seen several leaders, each with their own set of policies, theories and worldviews, but one thing had remained constant: the art of deceit and deception. This July, when the Communist Party of China will celebrate its 101 years of existence, the fete as grand as one might imagine, featuring a mass rally, complete with a military flyover and plenty of flag-waving and patriotic songs. We will dig into the legacy of treachery and lies the CCP left behind in these past 100 years. Though you must be wondering if it would take an entire book to talk about all the lies CCP peddled, well, of course, communism runs on lies and propaganda that are supplemented by brute state control and censorship. However, in this piece, we are going to talk about some lies that exposed the world’s longest-running dictatorship.
LIE 1: IT’S OKAY TO CRITICIZE THE PARTY AND HAVE AN INDEPENDENT OPINION
- The first and foremost thing a man is entitled to be his thoughts and opinions. Unfortunately, this luxury is not given to any member of the Communist Party of China or any Chinese citizen. Time and again, the Chinese government, through its state-controlled media, tries to paint a merry picture of CCP as a place where differences of opinion are welcomed, a place where everyone has a right to speak their mind, but in reality, the only right anyone has under the CCP in China is the right to remain silent and obey the diktat given by the party. In 1956, Mao Zedong gave a slogan, “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend”.
- Mao used the slogan to tell citizens that it is acceptable to criticize the party. Widespread and bitter criticism hit the party hard. Streets were inundated with posters critical of party officials. Educational institutions had debates and discussions denouncing party policies.
- Mao had no intention of giving freedom of speech to the citizens, he had just lied. He had used the ploy to expose the counter-revolutionaries. By 1957 large-scale purges took place. Intellectuals and academicians were denounced, jailed, or sent to work in the countryside.
- Similarly, under Deng Xiaoping, a liberal Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang who was the general secretary of CCP and was considered to be a sane voice rooted for changes in the political system of China to make it more liberal but such a voice doesn’t go down well with the CCP and he was ultimately thrown out of the party and soon after this he died due to a heart attack, his death was seen as the punishment he faced for wanting to liberate China from the clutches of CCP’s dictatorship and authoritarian regime.
- Xi Jinping too, as soon as he gained power, made one thing very clear: any voice of dissent will not be tolerated and will be crushed immediately. Following the path of his predecessors, Xi launched a series of purges and large-scale arrests of all his critics under the veil of an anti-corruption drive. These arrests include fellow party members like – Sun Zhengcai, the former Communist Party secretary for the city of Chongqing, Business magnates like Ren Zhiqiang, and even people like Wang Yongchun who was vice president of China National Petroleum, the parent company of PetroChina; he was also the head of the country’s biggest oil field, Daqing. Even recent sudden disappearance of multi-billionaire Jack Ma, too, was a part of this ongoing effort to stifle any voice that dares to speak against the king. The list is so long that a book can be dedicated to the number of people who have been purged for the crime of having an independent mind.
LIE 2: GDP GROWTH RATE
- Yes, China lies about its GDP numbers and often cooks its books. And this revelation was made by none other than Li Keqiang, then head of the Communist Party of China in northeastern Liaoning province in 2007. The U.S. cable reported that Li, who is now premier, focused on just three data points to evaluate Liaoning’s economy: electricity consumption, rail cargo volume, and bank lending.
- “By looking at these three figures, Li said he can measure with relative accuracy the speed of economic growth. All other figures, especially GDP statistics, are ‘for reference only,’ he said smiling,” the cable added. Chinese economic numbers, especially at the provincial level and lower, have long been viewed with suspicion by analysts.
- Even recently, four intrepid economists—Wei Chen, Xilu Chen, and Michael Song of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, along with Chang-Tai Hsieh of the University of Chicago, have taken a fine-toothed comb to Chinese economic data to try to tease out China’s true rate of economic growth since 2008. Not surprisingly, they found that China has been over-reporting its growth rate by an average of 1.7 percentage points every year. Shave off a little growth every year for the last dozen years ago, and the cumulative effect is that China is now overstating its true GDP by nearly 20 percent. The four economists’ “forensic examination” of China’s GDP figures relied on hard-to-fake data like tax receipts, nighttime light intensity observed from satellites, electricity generation, railway cargo, and merchandise exports to estimate China’s true growth rate since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis.
- Their estimates are both much more volatile and nearly always lower than the figures reported by China’s National Bureau of Statistics. China has pockets of prosperity in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou/Shenzhen that are used to give a false image of Chinese economic growth and development, but most of the country is still very poor. The idea that China poses a serious economic challenge to the United States is simply preposterous. As its growth slows, it is rapidly becoming clear that the emperor has no clothes. The Chinese economy is faltering and the growth rate has plummeted.
LIE 3: CASUALTY COUNT
- Over the years, the Communist Party of China has aced the skill of distorting and concealing actual data, figures, or anything that exposes the true image of the paper dragon. Because the CCP knew very well that numbers don’t lie, what if you don’t even show the true numbers? One could lie as much as one wants.
- Under Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese government has done everything in its power to suppress and forget about the activities that took place during the Tiananmen Square massacre. While official records say that 241 people lost their lives, most estimates suggest the real figures to be much higher. A doctor at the time said that 500 lives were lost, while a radio announcer reported the Tiananmen Square massacre death toll at more than 1,000. Most recently, however, estimates have risen even higher. According to The Independent, a secret British cable from the time alleged that a minimum of 10,000 people were massacred that day. Those who were merely wounded were simply bayoneted to death as they pleaded for mercy. Victims were then incinerated — and “hosed down the drains.”
- Even during the Corona pandemic, Chinese authorities understate the Chinese Covid death rate by 17,000% (according to The Economist’s model). Based on excess mortality calculations, The Economist estimates that the true number of Covid deaths in China is not 4,636 – but something like 1.7 million. It is becoming clear that the suppression or deletion of data related to excess deaths in China began shortly after the pandemic started. As a result, most multi-country studies of Covid prevalence and outcomes are forced to omit China from their analyses.
- The same pattern of distortion and deception was adopted by CCP during Indo – China galwan clash. How many soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were killed in the face-off with the Indian Army at Galwan Valley on 15 June 2020? Was it four? Or nine? Or 14? It seems even the PLA is not sure.
- During various levels of talks with India, Chinese officials have, at different points of time, unofficially, given contradictory figures for their Galwan clash casualties. Contrary to the perception that the Indian side was outnumbered by the PLA in the Galwan Valley, it was the Chinese that faced the brunt and they had to call in reinforcements to pick up the injured and dead soldiers.
- China has a history of downplaying the numbers of casualties whenever the country is struck by disasters or accidents or resorts to suppression of its people. In a shocking revelation about China hiding its losses in the Galwan Valley clash with India in June 2020, new research has shown that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) lost at least nine times more, soldiers, than its official count of four.
- At least 38 PLA troops drowned while crossing a fast-flowing, sub-zero river in darkness, according to an article in the Australian newspaper ‘The Klaxon’ cited a report prepared by a group of social media researchers after a year-long investigation. Of the four soldiers, China has confirmed died, only one -Junior Sergeant Wang Zhuoran -is reported as having drowned and the other three, PLA Battalion Commander Major Chen Hongjun, Private Chen Xiangrong, and Junior Sergeant Xiao Siyuan, were killed by Indian forces.
- The report cited a year-long investigation involving discussions with mainland Chinese bloggers, information obtained from mainland-based Chinese citizens, and media reports that have since been deleted by Chinese authorities. Even the Russian news agency TASS claimed that “at least 20 Indian soldiers and 45 Chinese servicemen” were killed during the clashes at the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June. As a result, the Chinese Communist Party got so panicked by the revelation of the actual death toll in the galwan clash that it resorted to its classic textbook trick of suppressing any voice that dares to speak the truth. Chinese authorities arrested at least six people, for posting online about Chinese soldiers killed in a border clash.
- One man is Nanjing blogger, Qiu Ziming, who reportedly questioned the official death toll given by Chinese authorities and suspected that the number of Chinese casualties is more than what is said, to be received a jail term of eight months for allegedly defaming PLA martyrs. Qiu’s Weibo account, which had more than 2.5 million followers, has since been suspended. Moreover, CCP passed new legislation that bans “defamation” of military personnel, adding an array of legal tools to its 2018 law under which Qui was punished for “defaming” PLA soldiers killed in a clash with the Indian Army at the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.
Also Read, Galwan Clash: Nightmare For the Chinese Army
LIE 4: ALL IS WELL IN XINJIANG
- It’s a no-brainer to say that nothing is well and normal in China’s north-western province of Xinjiang, as shown by the Chinese state-controlled media. Xinjiang is home to the native Uyghur Muslim population of Turkic ethnicity. The human rights situation in Xinjiang continues to deteriorate. Human rights lawyers and activists reported harassment and intimidation; unfair trials; arbitrary, incommunicado, and lengthy detention; torture, and other ill-treatment for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression and other human rights.
- The communist party of China continues a campaign of political indoctrination, arbitrary mass detention, torture, and forced cultural assimilation against Muslims living in Xinjiang. Hundreds of thousands of Uyghur children have been separated from their parents. Since 2017, under the guise of a campaign against “terrorism”, the government has carried out massive and systematic abuses against Muslims living in Xinjiang.
- Far from a legitimate response to the purported terrorist threat, the campaign manifests a clear intent to target Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang’s population collectively based on religion and ethnicity and to use severe violence, intimidation, and arbitrary mass detention to root out Islamic religious beliefs and Turkic Muslim ethno-cultural practices. Hundreds of thousands of men and women from predominantly Muslim ethnic groups were imprisoned. Hundreds of thousands more, by some estimates, more than 1 million, were held in internment camps, which the government called “training” or “education” centers.
- Here, detainees endured ceaseless forced indoctrination, physical and psychological torture, and other ill-treatment. Torture methods used during interrogations and as punishment included beatings, electric shocks, stress positions, the unlawful use of restraints, including being locked in a “tiger chair”, sleep deprivation, being hung from a wall, extremely cold temperatures, and solitary confinement. Even many Uyghur women who were former detainees of China’s Xinjiang concentration camp gave their testimonies, unveiling horrifying stories of what a rational man would call a life worse than hell, where these women were beaten, and publicly raped in front of all other detainees by the camp guards, and even had to undergo forced sterilization.
- A data breach from Chinese police servers has revealed hundreds of photographs, spreadsheets, and classified documents on “re-education camps” and prisons for Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. According to leaked data, more than 20,000 Uyghurs were detained in camps between 2017 and 2018. Some of them were detained on charges like growing a beard. The data also reveals that police have the right to shoot escapees on sight. The positioning of snipers near the camps has also been discussed in the leaked documents.
- Additionally, the leaked papers have speeches made by top Communist Party officials in which they claim that two million Uyghurs are “infected with extremist ideology”. These speeches also praise Chinese President Xi Jinping for “re-educating” Muslims. One such report was also published by Amnesty international based on interviews with 108 people, including 55 camp survivors and several government cadres who worked in the camps.
- As part of an attempt to hide camp conditions from the world, Chinese officials created a massive, nearly week-long bonfire, burning as many documents as could be found from an office overseeing the camps, according to an ex-cadre who spoke to Amnesty and whose identity has been concealed for his safety.
- Today, the Chinese government has converted Xinjiang into an open jail where you will find suspicious stares from men in uniform at every corner and tales of torture and disappeared family members in every household.
LIE 5: ORIGIN OF WUHAN VIRUS AKA CHINESE VIRUS
- The Wuhan virus, also known as Covid-19, is a global pandemic that has killed over 6 million people and wreaked havoc on the global economy, causing supply chain disruption, global inflation, and an increase in global poverty. But where did the Wuhan virus come from? Every government, virologist, and other experts are scratching their heads over this million-dollar question. The reason? China, from where the deadly virus was first reported, is sitting on the answers yet claims it has nothing to hide.
- A 14 February 2021, exposed by the Associated Press said that China took a “leading role” in spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories about COVID-19. The Chinese government has actively engaged in disinformation to downplay the emergence of COVID-19 in China and manipulate information about its spread around the world. The government also detained whistleblowers and journalists, claiming they were spreading rumors when they were publicly raising concerns about people being hospitalized for a “mysterious illness” resembling SARS.
- In a March 2020 interview, Ai Fen, the director of Wuhan Central Hospital’s emergency department, stated in an interview that “she was told by superiors … that Wuhan’s health commission had issued a directive that medical workers were not to disclose anything about the virus, or the disease it caused. Chris Buckley and Steven Lee Myers wrote in the New York Times that “The government’s initial handling of the epidemic allowed the virus to gain a tenacious hold”. At critical moments, officials chose to put secrecy and order ahead of openly confronting the growing crisis to avoid public alarm and political embarrassment.
- The Communist Party of China deliberately took every step to hide the initial emergence of Covid-19 and deceive the world about its lethality. The Chinese authorities again adopted their classic, time-tested trick of suppressing any voice that dares to speak the truth by arrests and detentions. Li Wenliang was an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital. On 30 December 2019, he had seen seven cases of a virus he thought looked like SARS. He sent a message to fellow doctors in a chat group warning them to wear protective clothing to avoid infection. He and seven other doctors were later told to come to the Public Security Bureau and were told to sign a letter. The letter accused them of “making false comments” that would “disturb the social order”.
- Wang Guangbao, who is a Chinese surgeon and science writer, later said that by 1 January, people in medical circles thought that a SARS-like virus might be spreading, but the police warning discouraged them from talking openly about it. Li later died of the Wuhan virus. Chinese citizen journalist Chen Qiushi started reporting on the outbreak from Wuhan on 23 January 2020. He disappeared on 6 February. On 24 September, a friend said he had been found.
- He was being supervised by “a certain government department. Fang Bin, another Chinese citizen journalist broadcasted images of Wuhan during the outbreak several times on social media. He was arrested several times during February 2020. The last arrest was on 9 February, and as of now, he had not been seen in public since. Li Zehua was reporting on the outbreak from Wuhan in February 2020. On February 26, he was caught by the authorities after live streaming part of the chase. On 22 April, he returned to social media with a brief statement in which he quoted a proverb that the human mind was “prone to error.” A friend said he may have been told by authorities to make that statement.
- Another citizen journalist, Zhang Zhan, was imprisoned for her coverage of China’s initial response to Covid-19 in Wuhan and is close to death after going on hunger strike, according to her family, prompting renewed calls for her immediate release from rights groups. She was detained in May 2020 and sentenced in December to four years in jail for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” — a charge routinely used to suppress dissent.
- China used every trick in the book to not let the world know about the origins of the Wuhan virus and still repeatedly obstructed every attempt made to determine the origins of the Wuhan virus. To date, various researches have been done by several scientists and journalists throughout the world on the origins of the Wuhan virus, and one thing that remained constant across all the reports is the criminal negligence of Chinese authorities in reporting an initial outbreak of Covid-19, which according to some reports escaped from Wuhan Institute of Virology, while others suspect it to have spread from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan, China, where the first cases were detected. Nonetheless, all these facts and figures point fingers at China and exposes how nefariously the Chinese Communist Party lied to the world and let millions of innocent lives perish.
CHINA’S HYBRID WARFARE CAPABILITIES AND LESSONS FOR INDIA
- To be fair, deceit and treachery aren’t the only domains where CCP has gained expertise. China has made some decent progress in its hybrid warfare capabilities. In recent military strategy documents, China has emphasized the integration of information warfare and the strategic cyber frontier with its traditional military operations. This is further evidenced by the setting up of its Strategic Support Force (SSF) as the fifth branch of the People’s Liberation Army to oversee its cyber and electronic warfare force. “Hybrid war allows a protagonist to test the waters and calibrate further responses or drawbacks without burning their fingers.”
- Today, hybrid warfare includes a number of tools, including misinformation campaigns, narrative building, cyber attacks, and proxy wars. Political tactics, such as bolstering opposition, protests, and instigating socio-political movements, are also common. India has experienced most of these tactics in recent years—violent socio-political protests, cyber attacks on critical infrastructure, and misinformation campaigns against Indian government policies. Whether these occurrences had any “Foreign Hand” involved is up for debate, but it cannot be ruled out. India has already suffered significantly due to foreign-sponsored proxy wars in Kashmir, and the north-eastern states.
- China, India’s main geopolitical rival, is constantly expanding its hybrid warfare capabilities, which include: building a cyber warfare army, spreading CCP ideology through Confucius institutes around the world, weaponizing information and communication technology (ICT) equipment for data theft and espionage, sponsoring protests on foreign soil through misinformation campaigns, and so on. India must accordingly prepare for China to deploy a hybrid war strategy. We must remain alert to any misinformation campaigns or cyber warfare being deployed by China. As per many accounts, cyber-defense is a weak point for India, and therefore bolstering it must become a priority.
- In addition to our physical borders and infrastructure, we must fortify and secure our digital ones. In the era of information and communication technology, India should develop its own telecommunication and broadcasting infrastructure, including 5G, to secure data mining by Chinese companies (Huawei). Because Huawei could share information with the Chinese government, People’s Liberation Army, and intelligence agencies further with Pakistan, all this data could be utilised as a weapon to jeopardize India’s national security. India should continue to give a severe economic setback to China because it will discourage China from practising aggressive hybrid threats against India as it bans 224 Chinese apps.
- For the Indian government, this step is appreciable and will be far-reaching in the process of national security. On the diplomatic and strategic fronts, India must take advantage of resentment and separatism in China. This step will prevent Chinese aggressive hybrid warfare from coming into existence against India. India must abandon its passive reactionary policies and should adopt a proactive approach to give a timely reply to any Chinese belligerence.