Reflections on the Earthquake in China
At a time of a natural disaster and the associated death and destruction, it is important to support relief efforts, as well as offer the best of moral support -- in this case, to the Chinese people.
We'd like to take a moment to offer our own condolences to the many that have died. At this time of tragedy, our hearts go out those Chinese that were affected, who died or who lost loved ones, friends, or their homes and livelihoods.
There is now an outpouring of stories from China, stories of people helping each other through the worst natural disaster of the last 30 years (as it is being billed), and also stories of corruption leading to sub-standard building construction, and corresponding outrage.
The Chinese regime seems to have allowed an unprecedented level of transparency in the media. I write 'seems' because in any communist regime, things are rarely what they seem. But let's say, for the purposes of this reflection, that we believe that.
While initially rejecting foreign aid for the crucial first three days post-disaster, the regime reversed its position and allowed foreign workers and capital in. Hu Jintao himself has come down from the halls of the communist elite to walk among the people, another move breaking with tradition. Inquiries have been promised into the shoddy construction that needlessly led to so many deaths.
Is it a sudden change of heart? In a sense, I think, that's exactly what it is. It would seem that top regime people have finally decided to start taking cues from the Western public relations experts and spin doctors that they have been paying such large salaries to employ.
If the China of today was the China of days long gone, the majority of the population would be seeing this disaster as a direct consequence of the actions of the people, or the actions of the government. But many of the Chinese people of today (but certainly not all), and indeed many of us in the West don't believe in such things.
For the Chinese regime, accountable for so much death and misery past and present, a disaster that renders them largely unaccountable by most Western standards is a dream come true. Virtually all indications to present suggest that the regime cares little about individual Chinese lives, but instead focuses on 'stability' (read: keeping power at all costs). With the first four months of the year dedicated to exposing the regime's instability and darker side, the CCP central committee and their charges are now working overtime to turn the disaster into a propaganda coup, especially internationally.
Let's not fall into that trap. Let's offer our unequivocal support to the Chinese people, but not to the regime that has abused them for so many years.
We appeal to all those who have taken the regime to task over its human rights abuses and crimes against humanity, or who have planned to: Do not let up because of this earthquake tragedy. Do not allow Beijing's apparently Western and compassionate response to disaster to make us believe that the litany of crimes and abuses they are currently responsible for are any less valid.
The current confirmed death toll due to the quake is said by Chinese state media to be around 30,000. It will always be unclear how many of those were caused obviously by regime corruption, i.e. cutting corners in building costs. We can be sure that there were many more who received cash in the pocket or felt obligated to turn a blind eye, than there are those who may be charged. The current ruling clique will certainly use the opportunity to pick some scapegoats and do a little internal cleansing.
Yet there are also numbers to be talked about that rarely get attention. The Chinese regime's sale of 40,000 organ transplants, harvested from innocents over the last five years, most likely from Falun Gong practitioners. At least 14 million dead to Mao's forced famine, ironically named the Great Leap Forward, 1958-60. Untold thousands dead during the CCP's 'liberation,' 'pacification,' and assimilation of Tibet. These deaths are obviously not accidents, but deliberate deaths perpetrated by the Chinese Regime. Let's not forget about these crimes, and continue to expose them in coming months in the runup to the Olympics, and onwards. And for those crimes that are still happening today, let's continue to work to stop them.