Oct. 2, 2009
Wednesday night, the Empire State Building in Manhattan shone red and yellow as a tribute to the sixtieth anniversary of the Communist takeover of China.
When lit, the Empire State is a lovely sight. Yet last nights display cast a rather ugly glow. Why? Because given the nation it is honoring, we must ask the sponsors of this celebration which highlights of Chinas history during those sixty years they especially want to honor.
Might it be the murder of Christian missionaries in the late 40s and 50s? How about the killing of millions of Chinese during Chairman Maos Great Leap Forward campaign of the mid-fifties? During those years, Communist authorities pressed rural Chinese to modernize, demanding such insanities as backyard steel mills.
China enveloped Tibet in the late 50s. That ancient Buddhist land is still being suppressed and its unique culture eradicated fifty years later. The Dalai Lama and many other Tibetans still live in exile.
In the mid-60s, Chairman Mao initiated the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution which left more millions dead. Fanatical Red Guards beat and brutalized anyone who had exposure to Western Cultureand even trashed Chinas revered cultural heritage.
China scholar Simon Leys wrote in Chinese Shadows about the Little Red Book of Maos banal thoughts. Millions of Red Guards memorized, chanted, and used that book to beat their elders over the head. Leysthe nom de plume of a respected expert in Chinese antiquitiesdescribed the Cultural Revolution as an exercise in which people had their skulls opened, their brains scooped out, and their brain pans filled with Maoist concrete. He didnt mean it literally; at least, I hope he didnt.
When, in utter exhaustion and desperation, the rulers of China opened up to the West in the 1970s, Communist Party leader Teng Hsiao-p'ing charmed liberals here with his supposed reforms and rationality. But Teng also instituted one of the most brutal of population control programs in history.
Stanford University scholar Steven Mosher courageously exposed to the world the massive forced abortions that resulted from Chinas One Child policy. An estimated 50 million forced abortions have occurred in China, almost all of them attributable to the Communist Partys inflexible rule.
President Obama, in one of his first acts, revoked Ronald Reagans policy of preventing U.S. foreign aid from being used to fund abortion. Mr. Obama is once again giving our tax money to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which has been complicit in Chinas One Child policy since its inception.
And lets not forget Tienanmen Square. In 1989, thousands of student demonstrators were brutalized by soldiers ostensibly given drugs and alcohol to inspire them to murder. Tanks and armored vehicles rolled over young men and women. Others were gunned down by order of the Communist rulers in Beijing.
Wang Wei-Lin was the lone demonstrator who stood up to a column of tanks from the Peoples Liberation Army. His unforgettable image was seen around the world. What the world did not see, but what Chinese democracy advocates told me ten years ago, was that Wang Wei-Lin was escorted into a nearby hotel and there strangled to death by the regimes security forces. Also summarily executed, I was informed, was the tank driver. He was killed, they say, for not running right over Wang Wei-Lin.
Last year, Chinas Communist rulers put on a brave face and invited the world to come to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. Their factories had to be closed down, however, and motorists banned for weeks before the Olympic crowds arrived. That was to allow the deadly smog to clear so that the runners could be seen by the spectators and so that the archers could see their targets.
Its one thing for Communists to do vicious and shameful things. Its entirely something else for free peopleat least people who think themselves free and who, presumably, would like for their children to remain freeto honor such an odious regime. Sixty years of inhuman tyranny is nothing to celebrate.
Ive always been proud to be a New Yorker. I have an ornament of the Empire State Building on my Christmas tree every year. Not this year. Im too red-facedwith shame, shame for my city.