Dedicated to the 100 million victims of communism worldwide.
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National Exhibit
National Exhibit
History
China: An Unkind Century

The Soviet Army invaded Manchuria on August 9, 1945, the day of the atomic bomb attack on Nagasaki which shortly forced Japan's surrender, and coordinated the disarming of 1.2 million Japanese forces with prepositioned Chinese communist forces. Well-supplied, rested, and motivated, the Communists easily outfought Chiang's Nationalists, who were exhausted after nine years of fighting Japan, riven by warlord rivalries and dispirited by the corruption of Chiang's regime.

Moreover, President Truman had lost confidence in Chiang's rule. Despite the fact that the U.S. had "authorized aid to Nationalist China in the form of grants and credits totaling more than 2 billion dollars" between 1945 and 1949, there had been little accounting for its use and it was the opinion of the Department of State that "the Nationalist Armies did not lose a single battle during the crucial year of 1948 through lack of arms or ammunition"; rather they lost because of the regime's corruption. 6 Thus, by 1949, when Truman withheld political support and blocked last-ditch Congressional efforts to get even more military and economic aid to Chiang's regime, what was left of the Nationalist armies was obliged to withdraw across the Taiwan Strait and hope for the best. 7

Violence and the New Communist State

Mao Zedong pronounced the establishment of the People's Republic of China under the "leadership of the Chinese Communist Party" on October 1, 1949, and the Chinese people hoped a new era of peace would enable their nation to rebuild its wrecked economy.

It was not to be. In June 1950, North Korea invaded the South with the full support and encouragement of the Soviet Union. By October 2, Chinese leader Mao Zedong made an almost unilateral decision to send over a million "People's Volunteers" to fight the American Army which had arrived at the banks of the Yalu River, North Korea's border with Manchuria. 8 By mid 1953, when the Panmunjom Armistice was signed, "several hundreds of thousands" 9 Chinese soldiers had died and China was an extra $700 million in debt to the Soviet Union. 10

Three Anti's and Five Anti's

Away from Korean battlefields, China's new communist rulers also carried out new violent campaigns – against their own people. In 1949, they launched "land reform" which involved confiscating the land and possessions of at least one "landlord" or "wealthy peasant" per village in arbitrary tribunals. These tribunals required poorer neighbors to "speak bitterness" (su ku) against wealthier townsmen, and in many cases call for their deaths. 11 Party cadres could then cart off the more valuable possessions of the "convicted" class enemies, and parcel out what was left among poorer folk, thus co-opting otherwise hesitant citizens. Those who failed to "speak bitterness" were themselves accused of reactionary behavior. The land reforms and campaigns to root out -- first three, then five -- separate classes of counterrevolutionaries and other "bad class elements", the so-called "Three Anti's and Five Anti's" (san fan wu fan) campaigns of 1949-1952 are estimated to have involved over five million executions. 12

CCP historians now acknowledge that these campaigns were "a bit leftist" and "caused some intellectuals to suffer harm they ought not have suffered." 13 While CCP histories admit the excesses of the early "Anti's" campaigns, they nevertheless insist the "line was largely correct."

Anti-Rightist Campaign and the "Great Leap"

Not so with the "Anti-Rightist Campaign" that began in May 1957. There "several hundred thousand, or even more, good comrades and friends loyal to the Party and to the socialist mission suffered unjust persecution for a long time." 14 Clearly, the phrase "or even more" suggests the number was over a million – and that number is just the "unjustly" persecuted ones.

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China
Location:  East Asia
Capital:  Beijing
Communist Rule:  1949- Present
Status:  Under Communist Rule
Victims of Communism:
65 million