11 min read

Why China? Why the CCP?

"Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy." Mao Zedong
Why China? Why the CCP?
A restored section of the Great Wall of China.

Before I travelled to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) during another sabbatical in 2019, my perspective about the country was probably similar to most others. Incredible gastronomy eaten with chopsticks, a manmade wonder of the world in the Great Wall, kung-fu, pandas and knock-off goods. A population of hundreds of millions wearing traditional attire (hanfus and changseoms) that may or may not be enjoying fireworks on the weekend.

Potemkin City

Arriving in Shanghai, I am welcomed by a modern, super clean and buzzing metropolis. I stroll along the famous Bund promenade by the banks of the Haungpu river. I check out Nanjing Road, Zhujiajiao (the Venice of Shanghai) and hang out at the former French Concession area. At sunset, I sip on an ice-cold, locally made IPA and look up as the Pudong skyscrapers slowly illuminate the skyline. "Yay communism!", I thought, as I toast glasses with people on the opposite table.

More delicious beer is ordered and the rest of the night is spent chatting to a mixture of locals and expats. Before I leave the bar, I am gifted the phone number of an exotic girl. A fantastic day overall and a very impressive city.

The shiny Pudong skyline, Shanghai.

The next morning, I connect to the internet with a local sim card. For reasons unknown, the global messenger app of choice (Whatsapp) is not available to use. Nor are many of the apps that I normally rely on to stay in-touch with the outside world.

The substitute for Whatsapp in the PRC is called WeChat. Everyone uses WeChat to communicate and incidentally to buy stuff too using the mobile payments feature called WeChat Pay. All new WeChat users require the verification of an existing, registered user before their accounts are useable. I initially asked a few locals on the street to help me out with this step to no avail. Eventually, after much pestering, the hotel receptionist relents and assists. I think no more about this logistical time sink.

That evening, using WeChat, I meet up with the exotic girl. Daisy (not her real name out of respect for her identity) is well educated, a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, a part-time model and is a Uyghur from a place previously known as East Turkestan.

The East Turkestan Republic

East Turkestan used to be a country. In October 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) militarily conquered and annexed the entire sovereign state. As of today, it is referred to as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). It is about one sixth of the land mass of the PRC or about the same size as largest state in the US, Alaska. The region just so happens to be rich in energy and mineral resources.

Uyghurs are a Central/East Asian Turkic group and are one of the fifty five ethnic minorities of the PRC.

The "Kokbayraq" or sky flag of East Turkestan.

Daisy and I dated for a while. We later travelled together and each time we would move to a new place and hotel, Daisy's preference was that only I were to check-in at reception. The routine was that she would wait outside the hotel during check-in, I would then go into the street to tell her the room we were staying in and finally she would join.

The first time I queried why this was the case she told me, "If I check-in to any hotel, they will arrest and/or detain me simply because the ethnicity on my national identity card states Uyghur."

I did not believe her. It sounded ludicrous.

Modern to Mongol

We later travelled from Shanghai to Beijing on a shiny, new bullet train. The CCP had stolen Japanese patented technology and started operations in 2008. The PRC is a deeply deceptive and low trust society. The Chinese "knock-off" version sadly ended the lives of 40 and injured 200 in a collision in 2011. For reference, the original Japanese version (shinkansen) has been operating for over half a century and has served 10 billion passengers without a single fatality or injury due to collisions or derailment.

After a Japanese-like journey to Beijing, Daisy and I felt adventurous so we decided to visit the "wild" section of The Great Wall. We borrowed an old tent and early the next morning we caught a bus to a local village. From there, it was a 45 minute hike to get to the Jiankou section of the Great Wall.

The 20km hike along the often fragmented and crumbling structure was a real "Tomb Raider" adventure. These parts of the wall had not been maintained in hundreds of years. It was dangerous and there were some sections where we easily could have fallen to our deaths.  

That evening, we camped on The Great Wall of China. I will never forget looking up at the stars together over the same parapets that had been used since the 2nd century BC.

The following afternoon, having not seen another soul for the whole trip, we arrived in Mutianyu and then onto Beijing. Exhausted.

The Jiankou section of the Great Wall of China with author & tent. Photograph by Daisy.

Utterly spent, we arrive back at the hotel room together and almost immediately fall into deep hibernation. Then we hear a knock on the door. The receptionist demands that Daisy now checks-in.

Within half an hour of Daisy presenting her national identity card, two Han-Chinese policeman arrive and then proceed to interrogate. It was brutal, relentless and lasted several hours. Why are you here? Who is he? What have you been doing? Who do you know? Who are your family?

Daisy was distraught. She was crying uncontrollably, physically shaking and as upset as I have ever seen someone in my life.

I felt awful for not believing her that this would happen. My blissful ignorance from the Potemkin city of Shanghai shattered. A Potemkin village is a type of construction to provide an external facade to show that PRC society mirrors and mimics the West and that the CCP are like "us".

For decades, there has been a very sophisticated system in place for visiting foreign diplomats and journalists to be told that the PRC is benevolent, their political system is on the verge of democracy and to downplay their progress in multifaceted, global, shadow wars. These messages resonate globally and cause complacency in the CCP's enemies. There is no mention of the CCP's hatred for the West, how a patriotic education system was introduced after the Tiananmen Square massacre or how a fabricated version of "peaceful Confucianist history and pacifist Chinese culture" has been taught to missionaries, Sinologists, researchers and think tanks. The bloody and machiavellian stratagems that the CCP utilise from the Warring States period has been whitewashed out. The CCP will let you see only what they want you to see and spend billions every year to achieve their objective. And through decades of honing their skills, they are adept at conjuring smoke and mirrors.

Eventually, the aggressive policemen left and Daisy then proceeded to tell me the real reason for her fear.

Apartheid with Chinese Characteristics

The years that followed the CCP invasion of East Turkestan were tantamount to apartheid. The government purposely flooded the region with Han-Chinese citizens to integrate (assimilate) the XUAR into the CCP's empire. Uyghurs are predominantly Muslim people and the CCP are a godless organisation. These differences precipitated a gulf in economic opportunities for the Uyghurs. Uyghurs were intentionally excluded from meaningful work and what remained was the menial (think colonisation). It is not uncommon to see "No Uyghur Applicants" on job listings and so a two tiered society evolved. Think of South Africa at its very worst point.

In the PRC, there is only state propaganda to rely upon for information. Now, imagine the events of South Africa without an independent or foreign media to cover what is actually happening.

Decades of repression came to a head in 2009 in the capital of XUAR, Urumchi. Uyghurs were peacefully protesting the murders of at least two Uyghur migrant workers by Han-Chinese co-workers at a factory in another region. This escalated into a riot after Han-Chinese police used disproportionate force. 197 people were then killed (mostly Han-Chinese) and more than 1700 injured with cars and buildings destroyed.

Most democratic governments would admit to a clear failure in policy at this point as they have fully let down their people. In democracy, there exists a mechanism for change. At a minimum, this mechanism reduces man made calamities, makes governments accountable for their actions and provides the people with other governance options (competing political parties) when calamities do, inevitably, happen. The adult's version of governance.

In the totalitarian PRC and by the design of the CCP, the mechanism for change does not exist nor do any other real competing political parties exist.  Without an independent legal system and a functioning civil society, it is brutally effective. CCP-made calamities have so far killed more than 60 million people. The petulant child's version of governance.

Therefore, uniform state media is wielded as a very powerful weapon to manipulate the minds of millions. Instead of admitting absolute failure, the CCP simply used their propaganda apparatus to convince the rest of the country that the riots were only due to terrorist and Islamic extremist activity rather than the policy failure of the party. Anti-accountability and the removal of nuance is a common tactic.

State run propaganda has attempted to silence the global Uyghur community disclosing yet another CCP genocide & more crimes against humanity.

What followed apartheid and the 2009 protests is appalling: Genocide and a concerted and ongoing state wide effort to erase an entire culture. And not for the first time.

The XUAR region is now a totalitarian police state with "convenience" police stations. Today, there exists a shoot-to-kill policy for any protesting Uyghurs. It is the most surveilled place on earth with the most incarcerated people. Because of the momentous force of propaganda and the real risk of this treatment themselves, their very own (non-Uyghur) neighbours and fellow countrymen have no sympathy for them.

Any perceived support for the Uyghur minority is easily traceable and draconian punishment keeps even the empathy for the victims dialled down to nearly zero.

How is that even possible?

The Great Firewall of China

As established, everyone in the PRC uses WeChat. Of course, the CCP monitor the entire population using this state tool. This surveillance tool encourages informing on your friends and family. For example, if you are the administrator of a group chat and a member of that group messages language "inappropriate to the stability of society", the admin of the group is accountable for the content. If a message about the wrong subject puts you or your friends and family at risk of serious trouble, why would most people openly care?

Thus, all Uyghurs in the PRC are essentially viewed as guilty of extremist, terrorist and separatist behaviour until proven innocent. This is true even in the public court of opinion.

In general, this government approach to civil society discourages people to communicate as a group about any subject and this strongly inhibits social union. The CCP interpret social union as a potential uprising, hence the design.

So why not just use alternative apps or websites? The global, open internet that you probably enjoy is not available in the PRC. The PRC block all websites that could challenge their narrative and there is constant and wholesale censoring of the remaining sites on the Chinese intranet. Over a million people are employed to censor, spread misinformation, support an expertly curated communications strategy by the CCP and to shut down online challenge.

Ordinary PRC citizens (subjects) also have no contact with the outside world as that would be inconvenient. The exception here is through the use of virtual private network (VPN) software that circumvents the Great Firewall. The government generally has to use these too for USD transactions. But, VPNs are too expensive for most, an unknown option for more and are susceptible to shutdown by the CCP. The latter is especially true in times of social "unrest" and in "autonomous" areas like Xinjiang the internet and electricity is shut down altogether.

Imagine the effect of having your government restrict and tailor everything that you could access on the internet to suit their agenda.

The CCP runs the world's largest digital empire specialising in lies and misinformation or The Ministry of Truth.

The Ministry of Love

Daisy disclosed that many of her friends in Urumchi disappeared for months/years to newly built prisons for no valid reason. Their children are left at home alone to fend for themselves. These children are sometimes taken by government authorities to "re-assimilation" orphanages and never allowed to speak their mother tongue again. They are Sinocized and repeatedly brainwashed with the state "terrorist" propaganda line about their own people.

If the child even sees their parents again, there will likely be an insurmountable language barrier and it will quickly become clear to the parents that the soul of the child has been taken. Imagine the pain felt in that moment when it dawns upon the parents that their child's will has been spitefully and irreversibly bent to hate the culture they were taught.

Try and imagine that scenario. Your children or younger family members are taken from you and if you are lucky enough to see them again, they had been purposefully raised counter to your wishes. This has already happened to countless families.

If only the father of the family is imprisoned, a single, Han-Chinese man may be moved in to the family home to be with the man's wife for purposes of Sinofication. They will share the same bed every night.

Inside the prisons, they are forced to work in adjoined or nearby factories for no pay so that CCP owned/controlled companies profit. Muslims are forced to eat pork (a sin in Islam), raped as a form of torture and forcefully sterilised so that they will never be able to have children.

Organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience will be a future post.

All communication inside the concentration camps is using their non-native Mandarin, They must thank the CCP and Xi Jinping daily for their leniency and stewardship in "de-extremification".

Upon release, sometimes those people are immediately sent back to the concentration camps on the same day. Again, for no valid reason. Upon full release, Daisy commented that the people she knew were vastly different. Hollowed out, overly quiet, depressed and broken. Some preferred not to talk about their ordeal at all.

Now I believed her words.

I said without much thought, "I will do something Daisy, this is not right."

Hubris, naivety, a fool's errand. That doesn't matter. What matters is to do something above and beyond simply raising awareness.

That is why 1China84: We are Winston Smith offers pragmatic solutions.

Daisy and I eventually stopped dating though we remained in contact. She provided details of another Uyghur friend who had managed to escape to Turkey.

Then, I never heard from her again.

So why China? Why the CCP?

The simple answer is because of Daisies.

Millions of Uyghurs, Mongolians, Tibetans and Hong Kongers are appallingly now Daisies too. With the world's largest military and population to call upon, the second largest economy, no domestic challenge to their rule and a long term strategy for global domination, the brutal CCP will make Daisies of anyone in their way.

Unlike 2019, it is now no longer a nationally kept secret that Daisy and her Uyghur people are doomed. The CCP continues to deny any crimes against humanity and has since positioned the gulags as "re-education centres".

And if you think how much the world can change in a few months, let alone in a few years, do you think your family and yourself will be safe from being a Daisy too?

Daisy's words and what I saw back in 2019 changed the trajectory of my life and I never thought something like that would ever happen. I hope 1China84: We are Winston Smith changes the world.

But, meaningful, non-fiction books are not just based on hope, morales, sentiment and intuition. They require ample time: hundreds of hours of reading, research, evidencing, drafting, revising and dedication. They also require a platform, interest and a willing audience.

Look out for an upcoming post about how the author read 25 books in 25 days on the CCP and to fill some of the gaps in his knowledge.

Daisies, it transpired, were just the tip of an extremely large and toxic iceberg.