Communist China at 70

Helen Raleigh writes for the Federalist about a significant anniversary for China’s communist regime.

A quick survey of the 70-year history of communist China shows an authoritarian regime that demands absolute loyalty and never hesitates to use force against its own people.

The first 30 years of the People’s Republic, from 1949-1979, were written in the tears and blood of millions of Chinese people. From land reform to the Great Leap Forward, Mao’s socialist experiment destroyed property rights, brought the country’s economy to ruin, and failed to achieve the economic equality he promised. The only thing Chinese people equally shared was misery.

The worst chapter during this period was the famine from 1958-1961. In my autobiography, “Confucius Never Said,” I documented the suffering of my family at this time. My father lost a number of family members, including two uncles, his aunt and her family of five, his maternal grandmother, and his favorite teacher from high school during the famine. …

… In China, official archives about the famine are still largely sealed by the government and difficult to access. We can only estimate that the death toll during the Chinese famine ranged between 30 and 60 million. To understand the scale of this atrocity, it is important to know that the estimated death toll for World War II was 60 million. So Mao inflicted human suffering in one country possibly equivalent to that of the entirety of World War II.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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