ZHAO: The Current American Upheaval Echoes China’s Cultural Revolution


YuKong Zhao President, Asian American Coalition for Education
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As an American, I am appalled by the police brutality that led to the death of George Floyd. As someone whose family suffered miserably during China’s Cultural Revolution, I am also frightened by an unthinkable nightmare: Cultural Revolution has sprouted in America!

I feel obligated to share with my fellow Americans what went wrong in China 54 years ago, what has gone awry today in America and why we should not allow America to repeat the same disaster.

In May 1966, to regain political power, Chinese dictator Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution. As an uncontested demagogue, Mao mobilized an army of Red Guards — tens of millions of innocent college and high school students and staged a nationwide wave of ideology-driven social unrest. This movement quickly turned China from an orderly society into anarchy.

In order to suppress political opposition, Mao divided Chinese people into two diametrically opposed groups: the Revolutionaries, the ones who were born into poor families (the proletariat) and worshipped Mao’s ideology and the anti-Revolutionaries, the ones who came from affluent families or those who casted doubt on Mao’s ideology.

By defining the proletariat as “the exploited” and Mao as the “Great Savior for the Proletariat,” Mao manipulated innocent people’s conscience and rapidly established a moral supremacy in the country. In order to root out the “social injustice” and to protect the “Great Savior,” tens of millions of Chinese people quickly joined the camp of the Revolutionaries. These politically correct foot-soldiers swiftly submitted to Mao’s overarching doctrine and to the coercions of his zealous followers (Maoists) nationwide.

Ignorant of the importance of institutions and due process, Maoists started tearing them down and disrupting orderly governance, including police departments. Almost all leaders and intellectuals suffered from political persecution, forced labor and torture. This included my father and millions of others. Every one of them was forced to kneel down as the enemy of the proletariat. Many were tortured to death, including Mao’s political rival, former Chinese President Liu Shaoqi, after being labeled as a traitor and anti-revolutionary.

Because Maoists did not tolerate any opposing ideas, they purged people’s minds and destroyed relics and monuments of Chinese traditional culture and history. All politically incorrect books and forms of entertainment were either burned or banned. People were not allowed to say anything politically incorrect, or risk of being arrested. Most historical temples were destroyed.

Brainwashed by such an extreme ideology, many Chinese people lost basic moral values such as humanity, justice, trust and familial affections. They behaved like cult members. Many “righteously” sent their spouses to prisons because they said something politically incorrect in private. Parents were reported by children for criticizing Chairman Mao. Subsequently, one of these mothers was sentenced to death.

The turmoil lasted for 10 years. In the end, China’s Cultural Revolution did not bring social justice or a better life to the poor people. It only led to atrocity, anarchy, extreme poverty and the loss of political freedom for ALL Chinese people.

From the horrific lessons learned from China, I want to let my fellow Americans know: I oppose all sorts of racial discrimination. I share your pains and your anger after watching the tragic death of George Floyd. You have the right to conduct peaceful demonstrations and demand for constructive social changes. After the arrests of Derek Chauvin and his co-workers, we should rely on peaceful democratic processes, get all major stakeholders and experts involved, and jointly make police reform in a data- and fact-driven manner. We need to protect freedom of speech and embrace the rule of law. Only in this way can we eliminate police brutality, guarantee public safety and most importantly, address ALL root causes behind racial disparities in America.

Unfortunately, as of today, America under the manipulation of radical progressives, has slipped into the dangerous journey of a cultural revolution, which resembles what happened in China 54 years ago.

Similar to Maoists, radical progressives have asserted their moral supremacy by falsely claiming that in today’s America white privilege and systemic discrimination caused ALL sufferings of blacks and other minorities. To coddle this unfounded ideology, tens of thousands of people, including JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and political leaders of this free country, have knelt down to show their solidarity with Black Lives Matter. A white female runner was asked to kneel down to apologize for being white, just like many Chinese had to endure 50 years ago for being born in affluent families.

Like the Maoists, America’s radical progressives deem that anybody with opposing viewpoints must be severely punished. Many people were fired for posting “racist” comments on social media. LA Galaxy released its midfielder Aleksandar Katai because his wife posted an inflammatory message. Stan Wischnowski, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s top editor, lost his job for publishing an article titled “Building Matters, Too,” rightfully criticizing violence.

Bowing to the pressure of “American Red Guards,” in 2017, Christ Church in Alexandria, Va., the church President Washington used to visit, “relocated” George Washington’s memorial. Last week, Gone with the Wind was removed from the HBO Max streaming service amidst concerns over its “racist” depiction of black characters.

Similar to China’s Cultural Revolution, brainwashed zealots put politically correct ideology above family love. The CEO of Holy Land, Majdi Wadi, fired his own daughter after bigoted posts from Wadi’s teenage years resurfaced. A white girl posted her private conversation with her parents on the internet to shame them for not surrendering to BLM’s narrative. This could get her parents fired.

Besides suppressing freedom of speech and tearing apart families, the radical left wants to dismantle one of our most essential institutions — police departments. Surrounded by hundreds of emotional demonstrators, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey knelt down, apologized and bowed to demands to make a very serious decision on defunding the city’s police department. Though he resisted, the city council made an emotional and politically driven decision to defund the Minneapolis Police Department following the looting and arson of many neighborhoods. In Seattle, “American Red Guards” kicked out police and established the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.” Unfortunately, the American Cultural Revolution has started and is gaining momentum.

Akin to what happened to China, the American Cultural Revolution will not help black communities in a meaningful way. It will only take away our political freedom, democratic institutions, and robust policy-making process. The American Cultural Revolution must stop before it descends into human atrocity, anarchy and one-party dictatorship!

Yukong Zhao is an Asian American community leader and a Republican candidate for 7th Congressional District of Florida. He frequently contributes to Orlando Sentinel, Forbes, Daily Caller and other media outlets.