This summer, China’s ruling Communist Party celebrated its centenary (100th anniversary). The rally featured a military flyover. Fireworks burst in the sky. Chinese President Xi Jinping gave medals to loyal party members. A carefully chosen crowd waved Chinese flags and sang patriotic songs. The president spoke from atop Tiananmen Gate in Beijing. That’s where revolutionary leader Mao Zedong declared the start of communist rule in China in 1949.
The Communist Party of China was established in 1921. It was founded on Marxist-Leninist principles. These include the idea that the state should control the means of production (the materials, tools, machinery, etc. that are used to make goods). Over time, China has become more open to capitalism. Most businesses are state-owned. But now the state does allow some carefully chosen, privately owned businesses as well.
“All party comrades should take their faith in Marxism and socialism with Chinese characteristics as their life’s purposes,” Xi said to medal winners. How different from God’s plan for our lives! Micah 6:8 asks, “and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Xi also warned that anyone who tries to bully China “will face broken heads and bloodshed.” That seemed to be a jab at the United States and others that have criticized China’s trade and technology policies, military expansion, and human rights record. Xi talked about the country’s rise to power over the past four decades. China became the world’s second largest economy. It placed a space station into orbit. And the country expanded its economic and political influence throughout the world.
But Xi didn’t mention the famine of the Great Leap Forward beginning in the late 1950s and the violent class warfare of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution. Nor did he recall the bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square. Communist rule caused all these tragedies.
Western democracies accuse the Communist Party of abusing its power. Abuses include detaining more than a million Uyghurs and other minorities—including Christians. The party imprisons or intimidates into silence opponents from Tibet to Hong Kong. China threatens to invade Taiwan.
The party faces no serious challenges to its rule, but it’s difficult to gauge the public’s level of support. Few would dare criticize it because of fear of arrest.