by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Therese Shaheen writes at National Review Online about fundamental contradictions baked into the brand of communism employed in the People’s Republic of China.
The forced encampment by the Chinese Communist Party of nearly 2 million members of minority groups in China’s western Xinjiang province is perhaps the largest coerced collectivization of humanity since the Soviet Union disbanded its Gulag prison system. Torture, forced sterilization, and forced labor are the hallmarks. The world has taken notice: Global companies and foreign leaders are raising concerns, and there is a burgeoning movement to boycott next year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.
But while the world recognizes the undeniable scale of this tragedy, it is not paying much attention to another method of 20th-century totalitarian domination that the CCP is emulating. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has institutionalized discrimination by an elite, relatively wealthy minority against the rest of the population on a scale and with a degree of deliberation unseen since the apartheid-era in South Africa.
China’s apartheid system is based on the longstanding practice of hukou, a ruthless permanent caste system maintained with vigor by the party. Hukou has in common with South African apartheid decades of social and economic domination by an entrenched minority — in this case, the urban political and economic class of the Chinese Communist Party — over the majority population. South African apartheid allowed generations of white Afrikaner leaders in government and business to maintain both economic and social control over the majority (black) population. Similarly, in China, the CCP depends on hukou to control the 900 million rural poor while relying on their cheap labor to keep so-called first-tier cities afloat. The urban elite and middle class in Beijing, Shanghai, and other tier-one cities accept the system without reservation or even much recognition, much as their South African counterparts did.