The modern police state of the People’s Republic of China began in 1935 when Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai led their rag-tag communist army away from the Nationalists (under the command of Chiang Kai-shek) to the province of Yenan. There Mao created his fledgling soviet state with its accompanying secret police, indoctrination, torture, and execution of all dissidents and rivals.
His police state expanded as Mao finally conquered all of mainland China in 1949, and then extended his network of informants, secret police, and concentration camps/labor camps throughout China. Since 1949 his concentration camps have continued to swallow up millions of Christians, Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and anyone else (including
rival communists) who dared challenge the official party line from Beijing.
Today, the tyrants in Beijing have targeted a large amount of the ethnic group known as the Uighurs (also spelled Uyghurs). They are Sunni Muslims, and some of them have been involved in an independence movement–trying to separate Xinjiang Province from communist control. Some of them are jihadists and are allied with ISIS, so Beijing is rightly concerned about a terrorist threat. But how has their Public Security Bureau (their version of the KGB) responded? By created the single most massive and oppressive police state outside of North Korea. In the city of Urumqi, there are police stations on every corner, with facial recognition cameras at every intersection. There are police checkpoints every few blocks, and you had better show “your papers, please”. There are screenings before you enter department stores. The Chinese government has collected DNA samples of virtually every Uighur in the country. If you want to buy a tool with a blade at the hardware store…and RFID chip with YOUR DNA is inserted into the blade! There is precious little freedom to travel. Uighurs are not allowed to give their children Muslim names, and all religious observations are strictly monitored by the police.
Currently there are approximately 44 concentration camps (the Chinese call them “vocational education training centers”), but there are numerous reports of forced indoctrination and torture in these “boarding schools” that people are dragged into (literally). Our state department estimates some 3 MILLION Chinese citizens (mostly Uighurs) are held in captivity in these camps. (There are only about 11 million Uighurs in China.)
It is not much better for Christians who refuse to participate in the government sanctioned “Three Self Church.” Christian pastors are constantly harassed, imprisoned, and tortured for their faith. House churches are banned and locked up. Christians who refuse to tow the party line cannot expect to get into college or the jobs they really want. The police state is even harsher against the cult known as “Falun Gong” and also the Tibetan Buddhists who just want to have their own independent nation.
The government has also instituted a “social credit” system online to assess Chinese subjects in regard to their adherence to the decrees of the government. If they comply to the dictates from Beijing, they have better access to plane tickets, health care, apartments, jobs, etc. If the government does not deem them so compliant, then they just might not get such “benefits”.
In Mao’s China today, there may be increasing material prosperity (although that is a bubble about to burst), but there is zero freedom to buck the rulers in Beijing.
We’ll see how long the party lasts in free Hong Kong.