On May 18, I blogged about the Chinese "princelings" who get rich because they are part of the "communist aristocracy." Although those who are members in good standing benefit immensely, today's New York Times reports that those who do not play by the rules, or simply in some mysterious way offend a superior, suffer and lose everything they once possessed. China is a treacherous land.
In 2010, the World Bank stated there were 1,338,299,512 people living in China. The New York Times reports that there are 80 million members of the Chinese Communist Party. Between 2003 and 2008, 880,000 party members were punished. Embezzlement can lead to execution. 100 accused committed suicide, others have died under mysterious circumstances, and some are among the "disappeared."
|Photo Credit: Xpistwv, Beijing|
The system is called shuanggui, and it has its roots in the ancient imperial system of justice. The Red Army used it during the civil war as a way of punishing soldiers. To me, a student of Russian history, it is reminiscent of the Stalin purge.
Let's suppose for a moment you are a member of the Chinese Communist Party. You believe you are in good standing. The phone rings, you answer and are told to show up at a certain day and time. You arrive. You are accused of a number of things. Because you are innocent and don't confess. You are tortured until you confess. Then you are punished. At best you are stripped of all your privileges and wealth. At worst, you simply no longer exist.
Interestingly, Chinese legal scholars say shuanggui system is not unlike the methods used by United States in overseas detention centers in its battle against terrorism. The Chinese believe they are in a battle again corruption. Terrorism? Corruption? A rose by any other name is still. . .well, I think you get the picture.