Recent statements by top CPM leaders in Kerala hailing the authoritarian regimes of China and North Korea may have come as a shock to the uninitiated, but are on predictable lines. The outrageous comments reveal the role models the Communists have in mind, should they ever get a chance to translate their ideology into action in India.
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, the Kerala state CPM secretary and Politburo member told delegates at his party’s Alappuzha district conference that India was a partner of an “axis of imperialist powers led by the US that was attacking China from all sides”.
“The 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party had decided not to allow any country to interfere in China’s internal affairs. It also decided that China would not remain silent if any country interfered in another country’s internal affairs. An axis of countries like US, Japan, Australia and India has taken shape for attacking China,” he was quoted as saying. According to Kodiyeri, India (in cahoots with several other countries), is an attacker and China an innocent victim of an imperialist plot.
He also justified North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un for using his country’s resources for strengthening the defence forces in order to resist US designs instead of expanding welfare programmes.
This is not the first time the CPM has extolled North Korea for its anti-American stand. A few days ago Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, another senior Politburo member, said that the US had been exerting pressure on North Korea but Pyongyang had been able to effectively resist it.
The party’s admiration for the North Korean leader was again underlined when CPM posters featuring images of Kim Jong-un emerged in Kerala’s Nedumkandam. The posters showing the autocrat giving out a salute, were supposed to announce the details of a party gathering in the town.
What sort of societies have the CPM’s role models created in their respective countries? China has a crony capitalist system under a draconian Communist dictatorship. The much publicised economic might of the country is built on a merciless exploitation of it’s hapless citizens who have no human rights, no access to free press or an independent judiciary.
Communist China has one of the world’s highest levels of income inequality, with the richest one per cent of households owning a third of the country’s wealth, a 2016 report from Peking University has found. The poorest 25 per cent of Chinese households own just one per cent of the country’s total wealth, the report said.
China’s Gini coefficient for income, a widely used measure of inequality, was 0.49 in 2012, according to the report. The World Bank considers a coefficient above 0.40 to represent severe income inequality. Among the world’s 25 largest countries by population for which the World Bank tracks Gini data, only South Africa and Brazil are higher at 0.63 and 0.53, respectively. The figures for the much-abused capitalist nations like the US and Germany are 0.41 and 0.30 respectfully.
Wei Shangjin, former chief economist of the Asian Development Bank, said in 2014 that around 30 per cent of China’s 1.35 billion population lived below the poverty line. The glamorous facade of bullet trains, swanky airports, glittering malls and skyscrapers with shining chrome and shimmering glass, dotting the skyline of Chinese metros, hides forlorn millions who remain invisible and suffer in silence in the absence of any recourse to vent out their misery.
Sandwiched between abject poverty and a ruthless regime, common citizens are forced to take their own lives to escape the regressive system. No wonder China has one of the highest suicide rates in the world, particularly among rural women. China is the only country where suicides among women outnumber men. At least 2,87,000 people end their own lives every year on the Chinese mainland.
China is the world’s top executioner as well, according to a recent report by Amnesty International. The true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is considered a state secret.
And how does China treat its minorities? The government has recently banned Muslim children from attending religious events during winter break in Western China which is mostly populated by Muslims. Officials in the region of Xinjiang, home to roughly half of China’s 23 million Muslims, have released a list of banned baby names. Children named Islam, Quran, Saddam, etc, will be denied all access to social services, health care and education.
The situation in North Korea is worse than in China. It’s a ruthless family dictatorship. Execution of suspects on flimsy grounds and without any evidence whatsoever is commonplace. The country operates ‘re-education and prison camps, akin to the gulag prisons of erstwhile Soviet Union and follows ‘songun’ or ‘military first’ policy. Famines and shortages of essential items are common. From 1994 to 1998, millions died due to famine.
A 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry report on human rights in North Korea stated that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations committed by the government included murder, enslavement, torture, rape and sexual violence.
Such are the role models of Indian Communists. Ironically they are the ones who head the “Intolerance” and “Award wapsi” gangs in the country. Violence is central to the Communist ideology. Have we not seen samples of it in West Bengal and Kerala, the two states where they still have some presence?
– By Balbir Punj
Former Rajya Sabha member and Delhi-based commentator on social and political issues
Courtesy: New Indian Express