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Presentation at the University of Toronto on August 5, 2005:

China Conference Series II:

Imminent collapse of Communism in China: Truth or Speculation

  By Brian McAdam


Hong Kong was my second posting in my Foreign Service career. I arrived in 1968 from London, England about two years after the madness of the Cultural Revolution, had begun when young Red Guards terrorized China from 1966-1976, when 1-2 million persons were killed and between 12-20 million people were forcibly sent to live in the rural areas to be re-educated. 1

During my first three years in Hong Kong I interviewed many applicants to Canada who had just recently fled the Cultural Revolution and a few that had survived the great famine when an estimated 30 million starved to death between 1958-1962, because of another of Mao’s harebrained schemes. 2

A new book “portrays [Mao] as a sociopath who loved killing and allowed millions of peasants to starve to death while he exported food to pay for his nuclear weapons; a man whose legendary achievements in the Long March were an invention; a man who turned China into a cultural desert of misery and violence, while maintaining dozens of luxury villas and a troupe of female sexual partners.”  3

My views of the Communist regime became established at that time from what I heard and read then and later.

I returned again to Hong Kong from 1989-1993; arriving a couple months after the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4th 1989.

The views I express today are my personal views and do not reflect in any way the Canadian government’s position on any of these issues.

My views however parallel and reinforce the brilliant analysis contained in the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party.

So I speak to you as a private person who has been a “China Watcher” for many decades. 

The China Gold Rush

Strangely most Westerners do not realize that the Communist Chinese party is the greatest mass murderer and destroyer of humanity in the history of the world.

 In spite of the reality that the Communist Party of China (CCP) is responsible for the deaths of more people than both Hitler or Stalin combined: an estimated 47-75 million people, and has an abominable record of abuse of human rights, why have many in the Western establishment tried to give the Communist regime and its leaders a positive image and a patina of respectability?

For centuries Western businessmen have lusted over the prospect of selling goods in what they saw as the world's largest market, with China's teeming 1.3 billion people just waiting for an opportunity to buy their wares. Many are lured by the idea that if you can sell a widget to every person in China then that's a billion dollars and you can go play golf the rest of your life.” 4

“ Deng Xiaoping threw the doors open to capitalism in 1978. “To Get Rich is Glorious” became the slogan of the new China. Then he “launched the new economic reform campaign of 1992, which caused a surge of economic growth and triggered an explosion of entrepreneurial activity." 6

Major Western multi-national companies and governments closed their eyes to human rights abuses to appease China. They rushed out in the 1990s to make multi-billion dollar deals with the “Butchers of Beijing” who murdered thousands of unarmed students in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

China, which is still one of the most repressive and blood stained regimes in the world, invited Western companies to locate new factories there, where health, safety and pollution standards are ignored and workers are paid only $2 a day. China has subsequently become the world’s factory. 7

As the price of access, Beijing demanded that Western companies transfer technology to Chinese partners. What the companies did not transfer, China extorted, or stole or counterfeited. Most Western countries now have massive trade deficits with China causing the loss of thousands of jobs, as they continue to be willingly deceived. 8

Only a  minority of the companies who have invested in China are actually making any profit. 

“Half of all Mainland business deals involve blatant corruption,” Stirling Seagrave, author of the book Lords of the Rim explains: “the new elite hides its money offshore, causing one of the greatest financial riptides in history,” with an estimated $28-40 billion a year leaving China in what he terms “black money.” 9

The number one concern of people in China is corruption. Many of the corrupt hold high political and government offices. This may eventually be the reason that will cause the collapse of the regime.

For example, the deputy mayor of Beijing embezzled more than U.S. $38 million. . He insisted he only received Y300 a month (Cdn$50), even though he lived a luxurious lifestyle, with a $130 million villa. 10

Five officials embezzled US$500 million from the Bank of China at a branch in Guangdong. 11  Predictably we find that three of these bankers are now believed to be hiding in British Columbia since October 2001, with US$75 million they allegedly stole from the Bank of China.  12

“Love is blind and greed is insatiable,” according to a Chinese proverb.

Former Chinese leader Jang Zemin once said: “ Intimidate with force and seduce with money.”

The West was seduced and is being intimidated.

There are in essence two Chinas. One is glitzy and glamorous - where greed prevails. The other behind the façade, is rural China with almost one billion poverty-stricken peasants. Ironically, “In China, the divide between rich and poor is greater than before the peasant-led revolution that brought the Communist Party to power in 1949.” 13  Democracy activists are still incarcerated, tortured and murdered. 

Harry Wu, who spent 19 years in the Chinese laogai (slave labor camps), estimates that 50 million people have been sent to those camps since 1949.  Six to eight million are imprisoned in approximately 1,155 prison camps - making slave labor goods being consumed by free-spending Westerners oblivious or indifferent to the plight of those poor souls. 14

The tyranny is unchanged. 

The Demise of the Communist Party

However, some think that there are many signs indicating an imminent demise of the Communist Party in China.

Others think this is impossible and that the CCP will rule forever.

Some believe China is actually no longer a Communist state; it has become a mature fascist state.

I, and many others think change to democracy is inevitable.

“Revolution is impossible until it is inevitable,” said Leon Trotsky.

“All the experts acknowledge that the People's Republic faces serious challenges: failing state-owned enterprises and banks, rising corruption, a deteriorating environment, a slowing economy, and growing ethnic and religious unrest, just to name a few of the most obvious.  Peasants riot and workers go on the rampage, hundreds of times a day.  Demonstrations are becoming more frequent and larger-with every passing year.”   Joe Studwell, who is one of the most respected business journalists covering China, predicts a full-blown economic and political crisis for China. 15 

Fear of a regime collapse in China is part of the CCP’s propaganda. China’s late leader Deng Xiaoping told Singapore’s Prime minister, Lee Kwan Yew about the Tiananmen crisis, “If 200,000 students have to be shot, shoot them, because the alternative is China in chaos for another hundred years.” 16  There have been much scare mongering that fighters for democracy could cause a civil war with ‘blood flowing like a river’ resulting in ‘hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing the country’ leading to a ‘world scale’ disaster. 17

Bruce Gilley, a China hand for more than a decade, puts forward the hypothesis in his book, that within the next few decades, perhaps as early as 2010, China will become a democracy.  He says: “Where an authoritarian regime fails to respond to a prolonged crisis with political reforms, popular mobilization becomes more likely."   While this suggests violence Gilley believes that violence will be constrained as it was for the 1989 protests and because China is “tired of the violence by the Party and eager to demonstrate its civility.” Furthermore he argues that in the Third wave that began in the early 1970s, he writes that policemen and soldiers have laid down their rifles and welcomed change. 

A major new study released in May by Freedom House shows that nonviolent "people power" movements are the strongest force in most successful transitions to democracy.   The study finds that "people power" is a frequent phenomenon, and civic coalitions are a major presence in most transitions.” Non-violent civic resistance was a strong influence in 70 percent of the 67 countries where dictatorships have fallen since 1972, Civic resistance employs such tactics as mass protests, boycotts, blockades, strikes, and civil disobedience to challenge the legitimacy of and erode support for authoritarian rulers. 18


“The CCP’s main aim for the civilian economy is to support the building of modern millitary weapons and to support the aims of the PLA.” 19

The CCP has been posing an increasing threat to the rest of the world for a long time, with generals threatening nuclear attacks to maintain control.  China can launch nuclear weapons that in thirty minutes could kill one hundred million people.

China seems to be engaging in nuclear brinkmanship. 20

 “History demonstrates that a free people, who are free to choose, do not wage aggressive war. The only ultimate deterrence is democracy,” writes Constantine Menges.  21

The world’s best hope is to nurture and empower the pro-democracy forces in China to bring about a transition.

Menges writes in the final chapter of his book China-The Gathering Storm before he died:    “History has no guarantees about the future. China may become democratic in the next years or not for decades. We know that a nuclear-armed Communist China, where the regime controls an advanced technology sector and is far better armed, would be a state that could become ever more dangerous. We know that Communist regimes can reform and evolve from reform Communism to political democracy. We know that this is better for their people and for peace – these are the lessons of Eastern Europe since 1989 and in Western Europe and Japan since 1945.”

The Nine Commentaries are educating the population in China about the evil regime that has suppressed this information for years.

The Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party should be mandatory reading not only in China, but also in the West.

End Notes

 1. (a)  Stephane Courtois, Jean-Louis Margolin & others, (1999) The Black Book of Communism, Harvard University Press:  The Black Book of Communism estimates that 1-2 million were murdered during the Cultural Revolution by Red Guards who were primarily students and school children unleashed by Mao between 1966-76. Between 3-4 million cadres were imprisoned. “Among the intellectuals 142,000 teachers, 53,000 scientists, 500 teachers of medicine, and 2,000 artists and writers were persecuted, and many of them were killed or committed suicide.”  Between 12 million to 20 million people were forcibly ruralized. Harry Wu describes security guards eating the brain of a man just executed. His crime had been to scribble ‘Down with Chairman Mao’ on a wall.” 

(b)  Jonathan D. Spence, (1990)  Extracts about the Cultural Revolution from The Search for Modern China, W.W. Norton:    “The leaders of the Cultural Revolution called for a comprehensive attack on the ‘four old’ elements within Chinese society – old customs, old habits, old culture, and old thinking- but they left it to the local Red Guard initiative to apply these terms."  “Red guards eager to prove their revolutionary integrity turned on anyone who had Western education or dealings with Western businessmen or missionaries, and all intellectuals could be charged with ’feudal’ or ‘reactionary’ modes of thinking. The techniques of public humiliation grew more and more complex and painful as the identified victims were forced to parade through the streets in dunce caps or with self-incriminatory placards around their necks…before jeering crowds.”   “Thousands of intellectuals were beaten to death…others committed suicide”   Thousands more were imprisoned, often in solitary confinement for years. Millions were relocated to purify themselves through labor in the countryside”.

 2. Jasper Becker,  (1996)  Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine, Henry Holt  & Co.

 3. Jung Chang & Jon Halliday, (2005)  Mao: the Unknown Story,  Knopf 

 4.  (a) Ethan Gutmann, (2004)  Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal, Encounter Books: "…less than a third of of American companies, at best were making quarterly profits, and only 5 percent were making a profit if you factored in their original investment.”

(b) Joe Studwell, (2003) The China Dream: The Quest for the Last Great Untapped Market on Earth, Grove Press: “In 1998, a survey of 229 foreign invested businesses…showed that only 38 per cent of all manufacturers were covering their operating costs.”    The situation was further skewed by creative accounting. As “fewer still could have claimed to be breaking even.” 

© IBID:  – Ralph A. Pfeifer of IBM PC mused to the American press  ‘With their labor force, their resources, and their market, anything could happen. If we could just sell one IBM PC for every hundred people in China, or every 1,000, or every 10,000…He left the sentence unfinished.”   On December 8, 2004 IBM announced the sale of its PC business to China’s Lenovo for &1.75 billion. IBM sells PC business to Chinese firm in $1.75 Billion deal by Mike Musgrove Washington Post Staff Writer, Wednesday, December 8, 2004

 5.  Sterling Seagrave, (1995)  Lords of the Rim: The Invisible Empire of the Overseas Chinese, Putnam and Sons:  He also says“By 1995, it was estimated that the Deng family’s interests in fourteen publicly listed Hong Kong companies were worth more than two billion dollars.” 

 6.  James Miles, (1996)  The Legacy of Tiananmen: China in Disarray, University of Michigan: 

 7.  (a) Stephane Courtois, Jean-Louis Margolin & others, (1999)  The Black Book of Communism, Harvard University Press

(b)  Details about the China gold rush:  Joe Studwell, (2003) The China Dream: The Quest for the Last Great Untapped Market on Earth, Grove Press

 8.  (a) Canada has been rapidly developing a significant trade imbalance with China instead of “a modest balanced trading relationship” we had a decade ago. China exported $15.9 billion worth of goods to Canada in 2002, a 150% increase in five years, while Canada only exported $4.1 billion worth of goods to them. “In 1995, Canada's trade deficit with China was barely $1.2 billion. By 2003, it had exploded to nearly $13.8 billion,” according to Statistics Canada. Principal Canadian exports to China have always been agricultural products, wood and wood products including paper since the beginning of the 20th century.  Now China is exporting hi-tech items to Canada like computers, cell phones, video recording equipment, etc., while Canada is still mainly exporting agricultural products to China; contrary to expectations. “”The structure of trade between China and Canada would make you wonder which one is the developed economy and which one is the developing country.” “As a percentage of gross domestic product, Canada’s trade deficit with China is actually bigger than the United States.” “That imbalance represents at least 50,000 lost Canadian jobs,” according to an economist.

(b)   Ethan Gutmann, (2004)  Losing the New China: A Story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal,  “As much as 30 percent of Chinese manufacturing was dedicated to counterfeit goods, According to Ethan Gutmann, Losing the New China – A story of American Commerce, Desire and Betrayal, Encounter Books, San Francisco, 2004: "China continues to tolerate rampant piracy of copyrighted U.S. material, with rates running above ninety percent across all copyright industries for 2003. This will cost U.S. industries an estimated $2.6 billion in lost profits in 2004," noted the 2004 report by the U.S. - China Economic and Security Review Commission.

In May 2005 the U.S. put Canada on a piracy watch list, as it has become a haven for pirated and counterfeit goods many of which were produced in China. "U.S. companies are sometimes forced to transfer technology to Chinese partners as a condition in business deals. The Chinese government violates its WTO (World Trade Organization) obligations when it expressly requires technology transfers as a condition of doing business. It is also able to compel such transfers through use of its regulatory powers as well as its extensive role in the economy. These technology transfers pose substantial economic and security concerns for the United States," states the 2004 U.S.-China report.”   

  9. Sterling Seagrave, (1995)  Lords of the Rim: The Invisible Empire of the Overseas Chinese

10.  Jasper Becker, (15JUL95) Wang’s villa costs $130 million, SCMP

11.  Jason Leow,  (Feb 2002) Bank of China admits officials stole $915m   Straits Times China Bureau

12.  Fabian Dawson,  (February 7, 2002)   Chinese bankers on the run hiding in BC  Asian Pacific Post   (April 22, 2004)  Banker who stole millions from China has been sent home to jail

13.  Peter S. Goodman, Rural poor aren't sharing in spoils of China's changes- Costs of Goods Rise, Standard of Living Falls, Washington Post, July 12, 2005

14.  George Vecsey & Harry Wu, (1996)  Troublemaker:: One Man's Crusade Against China's Cruelty, Crown

15.  Joe Studwell, (2003) The China Dream: The Quest for the Last Great Untapped Market on Earth

16.  Eric Margolis,  (2002) War at the top of the world: The struggle for Afghanistan and Asia,  Key Porter Books Ltd.  

17.  Bruce Gilley, (2004)   China's Democratic Future: How It Will Happen and Where It Will Lead, Columbia Univ. Press

18.  Freedom House: How Freedom is Won: From Civic Resistance to Durable Democracy  Washington: 2005

19.  The Cox Report – Report of the House Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military Commercial Concerns with the People’s Republic of China. 1999.  The Cox Report: Chapter 1 

20.  (a) Gary Schmitt, & Blumenthal, Wishful Thinking in Our Time From the August 8, 2005 issue: The Pentagon looks at China, and blinks.  
08/08/2005, Volume 010, Issue 44 As General Zhu Chenghu, dean of China's National Defense University, not so subtly reminded American visitors recently: Should the United States intervene in a conflict between China and Taiwan, "the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds . . . of [their] cities will be destroyed by the Chinese" nuclear weapons.

21.  Constantine C. Menges,  (2005)  China: The Gathering Threat, Nelson Current


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