Public Remembrance of Communism’s Victims

From today’s Moscow Times:

Rights activists on Monday commemorated the victims of Soviet-era political repression and claimed that even today people were being prosecuted on political grounds.

“Today in Russia we are seeing the rebirth of authoritarian methods of governing the country,” said the organizers of Monday’s rally, including the rights organizations Moscow Helsinki Group and Memorial, and the liberal political parties Yabloko and Union of Right Forces.

“Everyone should remember this, know this, so that no one will ever have the slightest desire to bring back even the smallest elements of the past to the present or future,” Putin said in televised comments.

Now, can anyone tell me how similar opposition political parties and Human Rights organisations are dealt with in Beijing whenever they engage in any similar public remembrances of Communist Terror, or whenever they make any similar statements critical of the CCP’s authoritarian methods?

Oh wait, the don’t! Because in Beijing, opposition parties don’t even exist, and public commemorations of the Cultural Revolution are a one-way ticket to prison.

Now tell me which nation has truly been “rising” since 1989.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 7 Comments

By the way, the first three paragraphs were intended to be in “block” quotes. Someone else please amend, and tell me how to do this next time I cut and paste from another article?

October 31, 2006 @ 12:42 pm | Comment

Good points. But haven’t you heard, Russia is still reeling from the chaos caused by too much democracy thrust upon its citizenry too quickly. We wouldn’t want to see the curse of democracy inflicted on China, would we? (Disclaimer – that is not an endorsement for instant democracy in China, where you just add water, heat and serve. It will never happen like that.)

To do blockquotes, highlight the text you want to quote and then click of the quote-mark icon. To make a hyperlink, highlight the text you want to turn into a link, click the “link” icon (it looks like a chain) and paste the link into the little box that pops up and hit enter.

October 31, 2006 @ 1:07 pm | Comment

Russia is getting less democratic every year and since China has pretty much remained stagnate on this front, it might appear China is rising.

October 31, 2006 @ 3:08 pm | Comment

I always wonder whether in my life time I’ll be able to witness the coverting of the Mao Zedong’s Memorial Hall into an official memorial to the victims of the Cultural Revolution.

October 31, 2006 @ 3:12 pm | Comment

Thanks for the IT lesson, Richard.

China Law Blog: Sorry to gainsay your comment so simply, but Russia is not “getting less democratic every year.” Do you think it was more democratic under Yeltsin than it is today? HA! You HAVE heard of how Yeltsin used the military to attack Russia’s congress in the White House in 1993?

Gorbachev was a true hero. Yeltsin set the development of Russia’s democracy backwards (no thanks to the stupid policies of the US.) Putin is a son of a bitch, but he’s been saddled with the almost impossible job of trying to keep the country from exploding, and he has succeeded, and done so without wholesale destruction of Russia’s fragile, new, and growing civil liberties. That’s an almost impossible balancing act, and the Putin government has done almost as well as could possibly be expected….

…whereas the CCP not only have not tried to advance ANY kind of civil liberties, but rather continue to smash any hint of public dissent – let alone allowing the Chinese people to come to terms with the terrors of their recent Communist history.

Is Russia as “democratic” as long established liberal democracies like Canada or Britain or France? (Notice that I’m not incluing today’s America in that list.) No. But it has made a start, and the basic institutions (still newborn ones) of Russian democracy are firmly in place – the first and most essential one of which is SOME
scope of freedom to criticise the government and to challenge the ruling party publicly. Some, compared to zero in the PRC.

October 31, 2006 @ 6:43 pm | Comment

By the way, yesterday’s public commemorations of the victims of Communist terror took place right in front of the Lubyanka building – that is, the KGB’s headquarters (occupied today by the KGB’s successor, the FSB), part of which was used as a prison and torture chamber during Stalin’s terror.

It was the Russian equivalent of several Chinese political parties and human rights organisations holding a commemoration of the victims of the Cultural Revolution right in front of Mao’s tomb.

October 31, 2006 @ 6:53 pm | Comment

China rising towards real Democracy? Not a chance….

November 4, 2006 @ 9:59 am | Comment

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