Imagine a functionary of Communist Party of Soviet Union demanding punishment for a German citizen who criticized Lenin. Imagine First Secretary of CPSU Leonid Brezhnev claiming everybody must discuss Soviet topics as it had been done in Soviet Union. Every participant in this discussion must be accountable to the Soviet law.
This is exactly how Communist Party of China is silently trying now reshaping free speech in Western democracies. The Communist Party’s censors are usurping their rights for control of a public debate beyond the borders of their state calling for a punishment of a German citizen.
In December Christoph Rehage, a German writer compared Mao Zedong to Hitler in his YouTube video.
The website Communist Youth Net of the Communist Youth League accused him of “blaspheming” the infamous Chinese leader. According to Chinese Communist dialectic “Mr. Rehage’s statement was “subjective,” meaning incorrect, and is therefore not so-called “protected speech”. What statement would be “objective” according to Chinese Communists? Website quotes Zhu Wei, the deputy director of the Communications Law Center at the China University of Political Science and Law, who said that “the party’s verdict in 1981”. Party’s, as Zhu Wei, explained, assessed that although millions died under Mao, he “did more good than harm”. This statement, emphasized Zhu, was objective meaning correct.
This logic should be fought and criticized for its obvious error. Americans, Germans or Australians can never accept the assumption that Communist Party of China dictate is a correct historic judgment. More importantly Communist censors cannot receive power to limit Western influence with culture of truth and democracy on Chinese totalitarian state. They have already made Intranet of Internet due to its widespread system of control. For example, when the Occupy Central democratic movement ran peaceful protests in defense of universal suffrage on the streets of Hong Kong, Mainland Chinese media distorted the meaning and diminished significance of these events.
According to a Chinese viewer ever CNN programs in Mainland China were censored: “whenever there was a story about the Hong Kong demonstrations, the TV screens would turn black or be covered with snow-like noise”.
At present it appears the Chinese Communists intend to expand its censorship on Western sphere of public opinion. First Secretary of CPC Xi Jinping said, according to Xinhua: “we should respect the right of individual countries to independently choose their own path of cyber development and model of cyber regulation and participate in international cyberspace governance on an equal footing.” Perhaps this statement should prompt China watchers to reject illusions about liberalization of the system: “China firmly opposes Internet hegemony, foreign interference in internal affairs, and incitement that could threaten national security.” Xi, as quoted by New York Times, also said that Internet sovereignty means that you can do things within your network as long as you don’t harm me. But if you enter our network, you must obey Chinese law.”
Unsurprisingly Beijing wants to prevent other countries from telling truth in Mandarin understood as “our network”. This way of thinking that Chinese regime controls every publication or statement in their language must not be taken seriously.
Its sources must be taken seriously. The political causes and its foundation have to be addressed. To paraphrase American political scientist Dr. John Lenczowski, the political system of the Chinese Communist state that had been established by its founding ideology of communism must be addressed. If the ideological nature of Chinese Communist system can be changed, the source of conflict between China and West can be eliminated.
This observation was confirmed once again in decision of Communist Party of China in abrupt move of exposition of Magna Carta from Renmin University of China campus in Beijing to British Embassy premises. The Communist Party of China feared of constitutionalism as a threat to one-party rule.
The case of Mr. Rehage being criticized for comparing Mao to Hitler confirms that West needs to start free information campaign that would promote true history of China, lessons from real Chinese culture and information about current life in China. This triad characterized successful efforts of Radio Liberty and Radio Free Europe that was fundamental in conquering of Soviet Union.
Mr. Rehage case should raise interest of Western media and Western civil society about true nature of Chinese Communist state. Beijing decided to intensify its propaganda campaign vowing to make the Party’s voice “the strongest voice”. As every totalitarian country China does not limit funding for its propaganda industry. Its target is not Chinese people but the rest of the world that seems to not understand the danger that Mr. Rehage’s case emphasizes.
Unwillingness of West that was partly an effect of false claims of self-serving “China experts” or corrupted businessmen about normalisation and even democratisation of Communist China to confront Chinese regime with truth must end. The Communist state will never change without feeling of enormous pressure of bankruptcy or military advantage of other countries. The Communists will retreat when its people will be informed and fearless. Not only United States but all of Western countries have moral responsibility to provide Chinese people a broader platform of free thought and information for allowing them to win with Communist lie.
This is indeed the most important war of our times.