The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is about to turn 100 but Xi will be the real star, headlined a June 30 CNN report. Large parts of the celebration, wrote author Ben Westcott, will focus on Xi, arguably the countrys most powerful leader since Mao, and his vision for the country. In addition, the partys influence inside global organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization, is growing and many Western nations are heavily reliant on China for their economic growth.
The glowing CNN report prompted conservative commentator Dinesh DSouza to wonder, Can this be distinguished in any way from the kind of propaganda the CCP itself might put out? Thats a tough call, but this was not the first time foreign apologists have outdone the Communist regime on the propaganda front.
Back in 1972, when Mao Zedongs Cultural Revolution was still going on, American socialists Janet Goldwasser and husband Stuart Dowty took a trip to China. The result was Huan-Ying: Journey Through Workers China, published in 1975. We wrote it to combat misinformation, Goldwasser explained in 2019, China had a different way of setting priorities in terms of healthcare and working conditions, so we intended to get information to readers who werent able to visit themselves.
Stuart Dowty showed up in China: People-Questions, published by the National Council of Churches (NCC) in 1975, while the Great Helmsman (Mao Zedong) was still in power. While Liberation turned the whole society towards socialism, the Cultural Revolution deepened and continued that process. Mutant social growths were identified and unceremoniously uprooted. And, the Chinese conclude, there will be more cultural revolutions in the future as their society moves along a socialist direction, wrote Dowty, identified as an automobile worker who visited China in 1972.
The mutant social growths is a reference to anyone less than worshipful of the Communist regime. These were unceremoniously uprooted, a novel way of saying they were murdered by the millions. This was necessary for progress to take place.
Layoffs and unemployment were no problem, Dowty wrote, because Chinas planned economy could handle such changes rationally. The American referred to Maos writings, cited various happy workers, and concluded: There is no doubt that socialist motivations, as opposed to individualist perspectives, have produced an impressive record of social and economic growth during the past two decades.
The editor of China: People-Questions was Michael Chinoy, who explained that Chinas Communist revolution has propelled a backward, poverty-stricken, virtually medieval society into the modern world, adding that a violent revolution and bitter civil war were necessary to sweep away the decay, exploitation, and backwardness of old China. And with the Communist victory, the revolutionary process did not stop. Indeed, it was accelerated, wrote Chinoy, who went on to become a China correspondent with CNN.
The most prolific apologist for Communist China was American journalist Anna Louise Strong, who started with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. One must not make a god of Stalin, Strong wrote in her 1935 autobiography I Change Worlds, he was too valuable for that.
In 1949, Strongs enthusiasm for Chinese Communists got her arrested, interrogated, and deported from the USSR. Undaunted, the American moved on to the newfound Peoples Republic of China and became a disciple of Communist Party boss Mao Zedong. He set her up with an apartment, automobile, secretary, cook, and maid. From these comfy quarters, Strong put out the monthly Letter from China, a worshipful account of the Communist regime.
On March 30, 1970, Strong died of a heart attack in Beijing. As the New York Times reported, Strong joined the Red Guard movement, and as NPR explains the Red Guards were shock troops and executioners who persecuted, tortured or even killed millions of Chinese, supposed class enemies. American Red Guard Anna Louise Strong was okay with all of it.
Like her Letter from China, China: People-Questions was essentially recycled Communist propaganda, though Stuart Dowtys mutant social growths, may have surpassed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on the demonology side. Dowty is now listed as an attorney in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and chairman of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party.
In 2019, Ypsilanti teacher Janet Goldwasser proudly displayed Huan-Ying: Journey Through Workers China as the most memorable thing she had ever written. The book is still available on Amazon, but no second thoughts on the misinformation she and her husband had set out to combat, and nothing on Communist Chinas record of mass atrocities.
In his June 30 report, CNNs Ben Westcott did explain that China has been responsible for some of [the] darkest chapters of the last century, including the brutal repression of student protestors in Tiananmen Square, the decade of mayhem under former Chairman Mao Zedongs Cultural Revolution, and the millions who starved to death as a result of disastrous CCP economic policy decisions.
To adapt the famous saying of Milan Kundera, the struggle against the Chinese Communist Party is the struggle of memory against forgetting.