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China’s Communist Party Losing Members

February 26th, 2009 by Chuck · 7 Comments · Foreign Affairs

The Epoch Times is a New York based newspaper that specializes in news on China, although it covers US and international news other than China as well. A lot of their stories have to do with the persecution of Falun Gong in China, which leads me to believe that the newspaper is owned or controlled by people friendly to the Falun Gong movement. I don’t know much about Falun Gong, but I think we’ve all seen stories of the Chinese government trying to suppress that movement. The Epoch Times and Falun Gong both appear to be anti-communist. Judging from the newspaper, though, this doesn’t mean they are capitalists. They seem to be on the collectivist side of the coin themselves.

At any rate, there was a story in The Epoch Times the other day claiming that 50 million Chinese have quit the Communist Party in recent years. I don’t know how accurate the figure is, but it sounds encouraging.

Beneath the media censorship and Internet blockades of China, a movement is spreading like wildfire with the potential to put an end to the ruling communist regime.

The Tuidang or “Quit the Party” movement has seen a wave of Chinese withdrawing their memberships from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations. This month the number of withdrawals exceeded 50 million.

Is the Chinese Communist government in trouble? Protests are a common occurrance. The Party is losing members. Falun Gong, ostensibly a meditation discipline, seems to me at least to be an organization that people join to express defiance of the communist government. If the Communist government is going to fall one day in the not too distant future, it would seem that Falun Gong will have had a lot to do with its demise.

Perhaps we should give some attention to this movement, to divine what the next Chinese government will be like. Would a non-communist Chinese government still want to annex Taiwan? Would it even be a bad thing, if the government is non-militaristic? Would Taiwan willingly annex itself to such a government?

7 Comments so far ↓

  • JimWoods

    In my opinion, China is heading towards civil war.

    The key indicator for me is political corruption, which historically in China, has correlated with a breakdown of central authority.

    Today, in China, we see growing separatist violence, terrorism, and popular riots against local officials.

    I think the key question is how to encourage political reform within China so that violence is not the only alternative form of political participation.

  • Burgess Laughlin

    > “In my opinion, China is heading towards civil war.”

    I too have been wondering about China’s future–because it might affect my life here in the USA.

    Jim, do you see the civil war as being one region against the other, as the U. S. Civil War generally was? Or do you see it being like the civil wars in Spain in the 1930s and England in 1640s?

  • Prescott Ulem

    I also agree that the Chinese Communist Party is in dire straits, despite appearances. Doesn’t civil war require some organisation, or two sides to fight against one another, though? How would this manifest? Minxin Pei has written some incisive essays on the current state of China, they are worth checking out.

    A note on Falun Gong: Falun Gong isn’t a movement or organisation; it’s best understood as a practice. There are exercises, principles, and a set of books available freely on the internet. There are no defined rules for what constitutes a practitioner and what does not, there are no buildings, leaders, or formal organisation. It’s basically just a network of people who practice the same discipline, no more organised than swimming, essentially. They had no interest in the workings of the communist party initially, but after the party started persecuting them, they began this kind of grassroots resistance movement. It basically involves telling as many Chinese people as possible about the history of the Party, as well as the persecution of Falun Gong, and encouraging them to renounce the Party. So far they’ve registered that many people renouncing it, which, I agree, is very encouraging!

  • Chuck

    Thanks for that information, Prescott. The Epoch Times published something called Nine Commentaries, about the rise to power and nature of the Chinese Communist Party, available on their website, and also as a book. On the website, it is claimed that half of the Chinese people have read that book. Again, I don’t know how reliable those numbers are. But they are definitely anti-communist, and that can’t be good for the party.

  • Bill Brown

    I’ve written about a promising (and growing) movement in China here before. This is a very Western document and could spur the very change we’d all like to see China achieve.

  • Kyle Haight

    The growing instability in China is very worrying to me. As far as I can tell the Chinese government has no widely accepted ideological justification for its existence. Instead, it is reduced to pointing at the economic growth its policies have allegedly created. But the economic collapse of the west is having a severe impact on that alleged prosperity, leaving the Chinese government with nothing to conceal its corruption and oppression behind. That’s a recipe for massive political instability.

    But it doesn’t end there. What happens if that instability leads the government to turn to war as a means of restoring domestic political unity? It’s a popular strategy, and the obvious target would be Taiwan. I don’t know exactly how the Obama administration would respond to a Chinese attack on Taiwan, but I’m pretty sure it would be a disaster.

  • Myrhaf

    Kyle, I’m not sure Obama’s reaction would be a disaster. Yes, he is an anti-American leftist, and appointing Charles Freeman, an apologist of the Tiananmen Massacre, to head the National Intelligence Council is not a good sign.

    However, Obama is now in power. War is a wonderful opportunity to those in power — one of those crises Rahm Imanuel councels exploiting.

    FDR used WWII for massive collectivist action at home, including rationing, militarizing industry, putting some 16 million people on government payroll, and devaluing the dollar by half in four years. War is a statist’s dream! You think Obama would pass up a chance to get the whole nation sacrificing as one under his leadership as we went to war against China?

    William Graham Sumner argued in his speech, “The Conquest of the United States By Spain,” that the Spanish-American War left America an imperialist power. Look for a war against China to leave us looking more like communist China.

    What would be a disaster — and this is a real possibility — is if Obama got us into a war, and used the war crisis to expand the power of the state and destroy freedom in America as he never could have during peacetime — and then fought a neoconservative, altruist, half-assed war against the Chinese. This would be devastating. It would leave Ameria weakened at home and abroad.

    Of course, this is all speculation and should be taken as such.