Chapter Three: Tyranny in the East (UPDATED)
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Table of Contents
1. The Rise of Totalitarian Communism
a. The Soviet Communists’ Rise to Power
b. The Chinese Communist Party’s Power Grab
2. The Brutality of Communist Rule
a. Soviet Communist Atrocities
b. The CCP’s Deadly Campaigns
3. A Century of Killing
A century has passed since the Communist Party seized power in the Soviet Union. According to records compiled by the US Congress, communist regimes have been responsible for the deaths of at least one hundred million people.  The Black Book of Communism details this history of murder, drawing on documents declassified by the governments of nations in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, as well as records on the victims of communist political campaigns in China, North Korea, and other communist countries. 
Communist totalitarianism is often compared to that of the Nazis during World War II. While there are many parallels between the two, one crucial distinction is often overlooked: The Nazis committed genocide, but the goal of communism goes beyond physical slaughter.
People of faith do not consider physical demise to be one’s true death since they believe the soul goes to heaven or is born again in the cycle of reincarnation. Communism uses killing as a tool to destroy the basic moral foundations of humanity; it aims to kill not just the physical body, but also the soul.
Communist regimes are wont to carry out intense political purges among their own ranks and select the cruelest of leaders. It is difficult for many to understand the rationale behind the barbarity inflicted by communist parties upon their own cadres, particularly when it comes to those who are purged simply for deviating on specific issues while otherwise being wholly loyal to the party and its leadership. One reason is that the communist specter, in its rebellion against the divine and humankind, possesses an instinctual fear that its doom is always around the corner. To reinforce itself, the specter needs individuals who have no regard for moral right and wrong. These individuals are identified by their brutality during mass killings, and their elevation to positions of party leadership enables the specter to ensure the perpetuation of its earthly tyranny.
In 1989, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cadres who refused to participate in the June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre were purged. Jiang Zemin, who demonstrated his cruelty during the massacre, was promoted to become leader of the CCP. After Jiang began the persecution of Falun Gong in 1999, he promoted officials such as Luo Gan and Zhou Yongkang to high positions, as they had demonstrated their ability to commit the most brutal crimes in the persecution.
Another of its motives for killing is to recruit participants from general society, as was done during the Cultural Revolution. By committing murder and other crimes amid the chaos, these people acted as accomplices to the CCP’s savagery, and the most brutal perpetrators became the staunchest followers of the Party. Even today, many former Red Guards who committed assault and murder during the Cultural Revolution express no remorse for the events of their youth.
Furthermore, by killing its victims openly and deliberately, the Communist Party terrorizes the general population into obedience.
Throughout history, rulers and tyrants have killed out of a perceived need to safeguard their power or their empires by defeating an enemy. Communist parties, however, cannot do without enemies. Even where no enemies exist, they must be invented so that the killing can continue. In a country like China, with its long history and rich culture, communism could not achieve its aims without continuous killing. The Chinese people, steeped in a cultural heritage of five thousand years, believed in and revered the divine. They would not bend to the will of the barbaric and blasphemous CCP unless they were brutalized. The Party’s fundamental means of maintaining its rule, as learned from the Soviet trial run, is through mass murder.
1. The Rise of Totalitarian Communism
Being the embodiment of an evil specter, communism’s starting point could not be anything other than dishonorable. After Karl Marx proclaimed that “a specter is haunting Europe — the specter of communism,” bandits and ruffians established the Paris Commune, laying waste to the French capital and its unparalleled works of art and culture. In Russia and China, the communist parties seized power through despicable acts of conspiracy and bloodshed.
Marxist theory and the various ideological tracts penned by communist regimes are replete with promises to support and represent the interests of proletarian workers and peasants. But in practice, the working class was quickly betrayed and suffered the worst abuses under communism.
a. The Soviet Communists’ Rise to Power
In February 1917, as the Russian Empire lost ground to German and Austro-Hungarian forces in World War I, food shortages and deteriorating working conditions drove Russian industrial workers to go on strike. As the turmoil spread across the country, Czar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate, and the Russian Provisional Government was established to manage the country until democratic elections could be held.
But on November 7, 1917 — or October 25 by the traditional Julian calendar — a group of communist revolutionaries led by Vladimir Lenin launched an armed insurrection in the Russian capital of Petrograd (today’s St. Petersburg). In what is known as the October Revolution, Lenin’s Bolshevik Party overthrew the provisional government and established the world’s first communist regime.
Less than three weeks later, during the democratic election for the Constituent Assembly, the Party of Socialist Revolutionaries won a plurality of the national vote and a majority of the seats. The Bolsheviks won less than 25 percent of the vote and only a handful of delegates.
After this setback, Lenin trampled on his early promise to respect the outcome of the elections. When the Constituent Assembly convened in Petrograd on January 18, 1918, Lenin declared the assembly an enemy of the people. Having prepared in advance to enact martial law, and having seized government administration from the Provisional Government, the Bolsheviks mobilized troops to disband the assembly by force, destroying the democratic process in Russia.
Like the Russian Marxist movement itself, Lenin’s rise was not entirely a Russian phenomenon. Despite the end of czarist rule, Russia continued to fight in the war on the side of France and Great Britain against the German-led Central Powers. Calculating that the Bolsheviks could throw Russia into political chaos — and thus remove a major threat from Germany’s eastern front — Kaiser Wilhelm II arranged for the exiled Lenin’s safe passage back to Russia via Germany and Sweden into Finland, a territory of the Russian Empire at the time. Wilhelm II also provided Lenin with money, weapons, and munitions. By the end of World War I, the Bolsheviks had received at least 50 million marks from Germany. 
Winston Churchill had this to say about Germany’s role in Lenin’s return: “They turned upon Russia the most grisly of weapons. They transported Lenin in a sealed truck like a plague bacillus from Switzerland to Russia.” 
The October Revolution, and subsequent Leninist takeover, was the origin of all violent communist movements throughout the world in the twentieth century. It triggered the international rise of communism and the countless catastrophes that followed.
Immediately after seizing power from the Constituent Assembly, the Bolsheviks turned on the Russian workers, who in early 1918 were the first to resist the communist dictatorship. Tens of thousands of workers from Petrograd and Moscow held parades and demonstrations to protest the dissolution of the democratically elected assembly. Bolshevik soldiers cracked down on the unrest with lethal force, gunning down demonstrators and filling the city streets with the workers’ blood.
The country’s largest labor union, the All-Russian Union of Railwaymen, announced a strike to protest the Bolshevik coup and gained the broad support of many other labor organizations. The Bolsheviks put down the strike with its armed forces, just as it had done to the workers of Petrograd and Moscow. The All-Russian Union and other independent unions were banned.
In March 1918, the Bolsheviks rebranded themselves as the All-Russian Communist Party. (In 1925, following the 1922 establishment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the party was again renamed the All-Union Communist Party. Finally, in 1952, it formally became the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.) Those labor organizations that remained were gradually forced under the control of the Communist Party.
In the summer of 1918, Russia faced a massive food shortage due to the ongoing civil war between various communist factions (including the Bolsheviks), regional independence movements, and the White movement, led by anti-communist Russian military officers. In June, with the country on the verge of famine, Lenin dispatched Joseph Stalin to Tsaritsyn to seize grain from the Volga basin, traditionally a breadbasket of Russian agriculture.
The Communist Party’s tyranny prompted resistance from the peasants. In August 1918, peasants in the Penza region rose up in an armed revolt, which quickly spread to the surrounding areas. The Party sent troops to suppress the uprisings, and Lenin sent a telegram to the Penza Bolsheviks:
- Hang (and make sure that the hanging takes place in full view of the people) no fewer than 100 known landlords, rich men, bloodsuckers.
- Publish their names.
- Seize all their grain from them.
- Designate hostages in accordance with yesterday’s telegram.
Do it in such a fashion that for hundreds of kilometers around, the people might see, tremble, know, shout. … 
In the spring of 1919, starving workers in cities across Russia went on strike several times to demand the same rations as Red Army soldiers, as well as the right to free speech, democratic elections, and the abolition of political privileges afforded to the communists. All these movements were handled by the Cheka secret police (the forerunner of the KGB), who jailed or shot the workers.
Tambov, southeast of Moscow, had been one of the richest provinces in Russia prior to the October Revolution. After the Soviet Union sent “grain-requisitioning teams” to seize the region’s stores, more than fifty thousand Tambov farmers formed local militias to fight the Communist Party’s requisitioning teams, in what came to be known as the Tambov Rebellion. In June 1921, the Soviet regime authorized military commander Mikhail Tukhachevsky to fight the so-called bandits with poison gas.  Tukhachevsky’s use of chemical weapons, combined with fires that burned across the region, rendered much of Tambov completely desolate. An estimated one hundred thousand Tambov peasants who took part in the resistance and their relatives were imprisoned or exiled. About fifteen thousand people died in the insurgency.  In the 1930s, Tukhachevsky himself was tortured and executed during Stalin’s purge of the Red Army.
The Soviet regime’s establishment of totalitarian dictatorship, utter betrayal of the Russian workers, and later mass murder of millions of ordinary citizens would be repeated by the CCP in textbook fashion. Starting with its own seizure of power in the late 1940s, the CCP would bring about catastrophes unprecedented in Chinese history.
b. The Chinese Communist Party’s Power Grab
Marxism and other left-wing ideologies were introduced to China from abroad prior to the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911 and gained currency among radical scholars and youth desperate for solutions to the perils facing their nation.
In the 1910s, communist Chinese activists led the New Culture Movement to criticize traditional culture, which they blamed for China’s backwardness. In 1919, supported with funding provided by the new Soviet regime, Chinese communists assumed a guiding role in the May Fourth Movement, a series of student protests that had grown out of the New Culture Movement and which targeted both foreign powers and the Chinese political elites.
In 1920, the Bolsheviks dispatched Grigori Voitinsky to China to establish a local communist organization. In July 1921, the CCP was founded in Shanghai by Chen Duxiu, Li Dazhao, and other Chinese Marxists.
The newly formed CCP operated through subterfuge. In 1923, Lenin dispatched Mikhail Borodin to broker an alliance between the Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) and the Soviet Union. Under the terms of the partnership, the Kuomintang took in the nascent CCP as a branch party, giving the communists further opportunities to subvert the Nationalist cause.
Aware that the CCP was trying to co-opt the Kuomintang in order to seize power, Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek launched a purge of the communists in 1927. Over the next few years, the Kuomintang mounted several military campaigns intended to destroy the CCP’s “Soviet” enclaves in southern China. These operations were partially successful, but the communists managed to escape to a new base area in Yan’an, northwestern China. In the 1930s, the growing threat from Imperial Japan forced the Kuomintang to pause its campaigns against the CCP rebellion.
The CCP took full advantage of China’s instability in the face of Japanese expansionism, which had exploded into all-out war by 1937. As Nationalist forces bore the brunt of the fighting, the CCP grew its strength. In 1937, the year of Japan’s invasion, the CCP’s Red Army had been on the verge of defeat by the Kuomintang. By the time of China’s victory in 1945, the communists boasted 1.32 million regular troops and a militia force of 2.6 million.  Following Japan’s surrender, the CCP used the cover of peace talks with the Kuomintang to position its forces for the coming civil war.
Millions of people gave their lives on the battlefields of World War II, yet the unexpected result was the meteoric expansion of totalitarian communism. The CCP’s diplomatic efforts during and after the war led the United States and the Soviet Union to abandon their policies of support for the Nationalists. In 1949, the CCP defeated the Kuomintang and founded what would become the most brutal totalitarian communist regime on earth, the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
At their peak, communist powers controlled one-third of the world’s population, as they comprised Russia and China, the world’s largest nations by size and population. Communist governments extended across large swaths of Europe and Asia, and many countries in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia became clients or allies of the Soviet Union or the PRC.
China has a broad and profound culture with a history of five thousand years. Its people are steeped in a tradition of worshipping gods and revering the divine. The communist specter could not destroy traditional Chinese culture by conspiracy alone.
After seizing power and establishing the PRC in mainland China, the CCP targeted the elites of society, who had served as the bearers of traditional culture; it destroyed the physical artifacts of Chinese civilization; and it severed the connections between the Chinese people and their gods. Through mass killing, China’s traditional heritage was replaced with Communist Party culture. With each passing generation, Party culture has only become more deeply ingrained in the mainland Chinese worldview.
The CCP began to invent enemies as soon as it took power, beginning with the elites. In the countryside, it slaughtered landlords and gentry. In the cities, it killed businessmen, creating an atmosphere of terror as it looted the wealth of civil society.
To rouse the peasants to kill landlords and “rich farmers” in support of the new communist regime, the CCP implemented a so-called land reform that promised the peasantry their own land. But after the landowners were murdered, the CCP claimed the land would be turned over to the peasants in the form of cooperatives. This meant the land still did not belong to the peasants.
In March 1950, the CCP issued the “Directive on the Strict Suppression of Counter-Revolutionary Elements,” also known as the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries, which focused on killing landlords and rich peasants in the countryside. The CCP declared that by the end of 1952, more than 2.4 million “counterrevolutionaries” had been eliminated. In fact, more than five million people had been murdered. 
After killing the landlords and rich peasants in the countryside, the CCP launched the Three-Anti and Five-Anti campaigns to slaughter wealthy urbanites. Under this pressure, many capitalists chose to commit suicide with all of their family members.
The CCP did not stop with the extermination of landlords and capitalists. It also robbed the wealth of peasants, small merchants, and craftsmen. After this class genocide, the vast majority of the working class remained impoverished.
2. The Brutality of Communist Rule
Though communist regimes come to power through deception and violence, their worst atrocities are committed in times of peace. In both the Soviet Union and the PRC, the revolution was immediately followed by bloody political campaigns to eliminate “class enemies,” mass famines, the establishment of concentration camps, and ruthless purges of Party cadres as well as terror among the general populace. Similar brutality was ubiquitous across the communist bloc, and the world’s surviving communist states all remain repressive authoritarian regimes.
a. Soviet Communist Atrocities
In 1922, after the conclusion of major military campaigns left the Bolsheviks the de facto victor in the Russian civil war, the Soviet Communist Party faced immediate crises of its own making. Enthusiastically implemented Marxist policies had led to widespread famine across Russia, killing millions of people. The communist leadership was forced to roll back much of its political program — retroactively termed “war communism” — and institute the New Economic Policy (NEP). This was an effective truce with the Russian peasantry, as they were allowed to work their own land and sell crops without intervention from the state.
However, the Soviet communists never intended the NEP as anything other than an emergency measure to stave off imminent rebellion. During the famine caused by war communism, a friend of Lenin’s remarked that the disaster he’d orchestrated was good in that it would “destroy faith not only in the tsar, but in God too.” 
Communist regimes use terror and mass murder as a means to reinforce their dictatorship. In 1928, the NEP was scrapped and replaced with collective farms controlled by the regime. Russian peasants, who objected to having their land and grain seized, put up stiff resistance to the Communist Party. They would pay dearly for their disobedience.
Killing by Famine
Most of communism’s victims were killed by man-made famines. Between 1932 and 1933, mass starvation caused by the Soviet Communist Party killed millions of people, mostly peasants, across the regions of Ukraine, southern Russia, and Central Asia. The Ukrainian famine, known as the Holodomor, claimed the lives of about four million people.
After the civil war ended in 1922, the Communist Party’s imposition of collective farming met with widespread resistance from the Ukrainian peasantry. To deal with this, the Soviet regime classified a majority of skilled farmers under the derogatory term “kulaks” and exiled them to Western Siberia and the republics of Central Asia. The removal of these farmers was a huge loss to Ukrainian agriculture, and in 1932, production plummeted.
In the winter of 1932–1933, the Soviet government cut off food supplies to Ukraine and set up security fences along the borders. At first, Ukrainians survived on the stored vegetables and potatoes in their homes, but these were soon requisitioned by Party authorities. A large number of farmers starved to death. The authorities prevented villagers from traveling to the cities in search of food. Many people starved to death as they walked along the railways. In desperation, people turned to eating the dug-up carcasses of cats, dogs, and livestock. Some even resorted to cannibalism. 
The Holodomor famine left more than one million Ukrainian children orphaned. Many of them became homeless and had no choice but to beg for food in the cities. To eliminate this embarrassment, Stalin signed orders authorizing police to shoot children as young as 12. During the famine, bodies of starvation victims could be seen all over the streets of Kharkov, the capital of Soviet Ukraine at the time.
The Gulags: Europe’s First Concentration Camps
On September 5, 1918, Lenin ordered the establishment of the first Soviet concentration camp on the Solovetsky Islands for the incarceration of political prisoners and dissidents who opposed the October Revolution. In the following years, the Communist Party built a constellation of concentration camps across the Soviet Union — the notorious gulag labor camps of the Stalinist era. (The term “gulag” is an abbreviation in Russian for “Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps.”)
The gulag system grew to a monstrous scale under the leadership of Stalin as the Communist Party intensified its political terror and carried out ever-greater purges. By the time of Stalin’s death in 1953, there were 170 gulag administrations containing more than thirty thousand individual camps scattered across the Soviet Union, in what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn would famously describe as “the Gulag Archipelago” in his book by the same name. Solzhenitsyn listed thirty-one different methods that the Soviet secret police used to exhaust their prisoners’ strength and force them to confess to any crime. 
Those sent to the gulags suffered from a constant shortage of food and clothing while being forced to perform heavy labor twelve to sixteen hours a day in the freezing cold of Russian winters. The death toll was enormous. Many people were imprisoned along with their entire families, with husbands incarcerated and wives exiled. Not even the elderly, some already in their 80s, were spared. The condemned ranged from high-ranking Party elites, state leaders, and military commanders, down to completely ordinary citizens from every walk of life, including religious believers, engineers, technicians, doctors, students, professors, factory workers, and peasants.
According to conservative estimates, more than half a million prisoners perished in the gulag system between 1930 and 1940, during the years of Stalin’s prewar terror. The system was formally disbanded in 1960. While the true numbers remain unknown, it is thought that 18 million people were imprisoned in the gulags and more than 1.5 million died.
Concentration camps are usually thought to be a Nazi creation, but it was the Soviet gulag system that preceded similar forms of repression around the world, in both communist and non-communist regimes. According to former Soviet military intelligence officer and popular historian Viktor Suvorov, before World War II, Adolf Hitler sent Gestapo officers to Russia to tour and study the experiences accumulated by the Soviets in creating the gulags.
The Great Terror Against the Soviet Elite
Followers of the communist specter are also bound to become its victims. This played out during the Stalinist era, as the Communist Party carried out bloody purges throughout its own ranks. Following Lenin’s death, Stalin targeted the upper echelons of the communist leadership.
The repressions reached a height between 1936 and 1938, when millions of Party members and Soviet officials were put on show trial for ludicrous charges, in a brutal episode known as the Great Terror. Hundreds of thousands were shot, often after making full confessions under torture.
Out of the 1,966 delegates to the Seventeenth Congress of the All-Union Communist Party in 1934, more than half (1,108) were arrested on charges of counter-revolutionary activity. Of the 139 members and candidate members of the Central Committee elected at the Seventeenth Congress, 110 were killed.  Lavrenty Beria, Stalin’s secret police chief, once said, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.” Except for Stalin, all of the Politburo members remaining at the time of Lenin’s death in 1924 — Lev Kamenev, Grigory Zinovyev, Aleksey Rykov, Mikhail Tomsky, and Leon Trotsky — were executed or assassinated by 1940.
No section of society was spared in the Great Terror and other Stalinist purges. Repression in the religious, scientific, educational, academic, and artistic fields preceded the purges that gutted the military and political elite. But the main victims of Stalin’s terror were ordinary people, including not just relatives and friends of the accused, but workers and other rank-and-file Soviet citizens accused of and punished for completely fictitious crimes.
Nor did the executioners themselves escape the Terror: Genrikh Yagoda, chief of secret police until 1936, was arrested in 1937 and shot the next year. His replacement, Nikolai Yezhov, fell from power in 1939 after overseeing the bloodiest round of internal purges. He was shot in an execution chamber designed according to his own specifications.
Even today there are no answers concerning how many were arrested, killed, imprisoned, or exiled during the terror of the Stalin era. In June 1991, on the eve of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, KGB secret police chief Vladimir Kryuchkov said that between 1920 and 1953, about 4.2 million people were “suppressed” — including 2 million during the Great Terror alone.  Alexander Yakovlev, a reformist politician in the Soviet and Yeltsin eras, said in a 2000 interview that the victims of the Stalinist repression numbered at least 20 million. 
b. The CCP’s Deadly Campaigns
Deadly and traumatic political inquisitions have been a feature of the Chinese communist movement since even before it seized power over mainland China in 1949. In 1942, when the CCP was holed up in northwestern China, Mao Zedong launched the Yan’an Rectification Movement. Party cadres were subject to harrowing treatment, including torture, detention, and “thought reform,” ostensibly to root out those with insufficient ideological loyalty. Thousands were killed during the movement, which was the CCP’s first mass political campaign.
From 1949 — the year the PRC regime was established — to 1966, tens of millions of Chinese lost their lives in the Campaign to Suppress Counterrevolutionaries, the Three-Anti and Five-Anti campaigns, the Anti-Rightist Campaign, and the great famine caused by the Great Leap Forward campaign.
This period of mass killing was followed by bloody struggles within the CCP’s ranks. As a new generation of Chinese — raised to be atheistic “wolf cubs” indoctrinated in the education and Party culture of communism — came of age, the communist specter launched a campaign of even more rampant killing and destruction to wipe out five thousand years of traditional Chinese culture.
The Cultural Revolution was the last and in some regards the most destructive political campaign of the Mao era. Beginning in 1966 and spanning the final decade of Mao’s life, its objective was the violent replacement of traditional Chinese culture with Party culture.
The Great Chinese Famine
Between 1959 and 1962, China experienced the world’s deadliest famine. To deceive the world, the CCP still claims that it faced three years of “natural disasters.”
In fact, in 1958, the CCP had rashly begun the People’s Commune movement and the Great Leap Forward. These wild schemes, which depleted grain stocks and decimated Chinese agricultural production, were supported by a deluge of false reports claiming bumper harvests produced by officials across all levels of leadership, from rural regions to the cities. The CCP used these reports as justification for collecting grain from the peasants, who were forced to turn in their food, seeds, and animal feed to the regime.
The CCP’s administrative organs at all levels sent teams to the countryside. They used torture and interrogations to squeeze the last morsels of food from the hapless peasants. Following the example set by the Soviet communists, the CCP prevented villagers from entering cities in search of food, causing the mass death of families and even whole villages. The corpses of famine victims littered the countryside. When peasants were caught stealing to survive, they were killed. Cannibalism was widespread.
The grain seized by the government was traded for large amounts of Soviet weaponry or for gold that the CCP used to pay off debts as it turned a blind eye to the loss of Chinese lives. In just three years, the Great Chinese Famine had wiped out tens of millions of people.
The Cultural Revolution: Slaughter and Cultural Genocide
The Cultural Revolution repeated the frenzy of the Yan’an Rectification Movement on a national scale, with fanatical youth encouraged to smash, beat, torture, and murder for the sake of destroying the so-called “four olds” — old customs, old culture, old habits, and old ideas — of China.
On May 16, 1966, the CCP published what came to be called the “May 16 Notice,” which marked the beginning of the Cultural Revolution. In August, with the children of high-ranking CCP cadres leading the way, students from secondary schools in Beijing formed a band of Red Guards. The mob went on a rampage across Beijing, in a frenzy of ransacking, assault, and killing. By the end of the month, known as Red August, thousands of people in Beijing had been murdered.
In the Beijing district of Daxing, 325 people were killed between August 27 and September 1, across forty-eight production brigades of thirteen people’s communes. The victims varied in age from just thirty-eight days old to eighty years old, and twenty-two families were wiped out completely. The Red Guards bludgeoned, stabbed, or strangled their victims. They killed infants and toddlers by stepping on one leg and tearing the child in two. 
As the specter of communism directed people to beat and kill, it erased their human compassion, brainwashing them with slogans like “treat the enemy with the numb cruelty of the harsh winter.” With every crime against humanity, the CCP displaced the traditional culture and moral virtue of the Chinese. Envenomed by Party culture, many people became tools of murder.
When confronted with the bloodthirsty deeds of the totalitarian communist regime, most people are at a complete loss as to how anyone could descend into such inhuman barbarism.
Estimating the casualties of the Cultural Revolution is a daunting task. Most studies suggest a minimum death toll of two million. R. J. Rummel, an American professor who has researched mass killing, wrote in his book China’s Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900 that the Cultural Revolution claimed the lives of 7.73 million people. 
Dong Baoxun, an associate professor of China’s Shandong University, and Ding Longjia, deputy director of the Shandong Party History Research Office, co-authored the 1997 book Exonerate the Innocent: Rehabilitate the Wrongly Accused and Sentenced. It quoted Ye Jianying, then vice-chairman of the CCP Central Committee, as making the following statements during the closing ceremony of the Central Working Conference on December 13, 1978: “Two years and seven months of comprehensive investigation by the Central Committee have determined that twenty million people died in the Cultural Revolution, over one hundred million suffered political persecution, … and 800 billion yuan was wasted.” 
In August 1980, CCP leader Deng Xiaoping gave two interviews with Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci in which he described the difficulty of quantifying the Cultural Revolution’s ravages:
“People were divided in two factions that massacred each other. … It is hard to estimate because they died of all kinds of causes. Besides, China is such a vast country. But listen: So many died that, even if other tragedies had not taken place during it, the number of dead would be enough to say that the Cultural Revolution was the wrong thing to do.” 
Deng described a typical case: Kang Sheng, the head of the CCP’s secret police, accused the party secretary of Yunnan Province, Zhao Jianmin, of treason and of being an agent of the Kuomintang. Not only was Zhao imprisoned, but his downfall also impacted 1.38 million people throughout the province, of whom 170,000 were persecuted to death and 60,000 were beaten to the point of disability. 
Unprecedented Evil: The Persecution of Falun Gong
Decades of murderous violence and atheist indoctrination by the CCP have taken a massive toll on the moral fabric of society, bringing it far below the standards required of humanity by the divine. Even many of those who still believe in the divine are ignorant of genuine faith, since they are trapped in the sham religious organizations controlled by the CCP. Should the situation continue to degenerate, humanity will face certain extinction, as prophesied in the holy texts of every ancient civilization.
But the specter of communism is bent on preventing man from being saved by the Creator. For this reason, it destroyed traditional cultures and corrupted human moral values.
During the spring of 1992, to restore human morality and provide a path to salvation, Mr. Li Hongzhi began to teach Falun Gong — a spiritual practice based on belief in the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance — to the public.
Falun Gong, also called Falun Dafa, spread across China in a few short years. As practitioners, their relatives, and their peers experienced miracles of improved health and character, tens of millions of people took up the practice in China and around the world. With so many people practicing cultivation in Falun Gong and holding themselves to higher standards, society began to rediscover its moral bearings.
Since the year it first seized power, the CCP has never relaxed its persecution of spiritual faith. Naturally, it regarded Falun Gong as its greatest adversary.
In July 1999, then-CCP leader Jiang Zemin unilaterally ordered the systematic persecution of Falun Gong and its practitioners. In a brutal campaign that reached every corner of China, the CCP applied every method imaginable in its efforts to fulfill Jiang’s directive to “kill them physically, bankrupt them financially, and ruin their reputations.”
Party mouthpieces subjected the Chinese people to constant propaganda filled with hatred and slander of Falun Gong, rejecting its principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance in favor of falsehood, wickedness, and struggle. The specter brought society to new lows in moral degeneration. In an atmosphere of reactivated hatred and repression, the Chinese people turned a blind eye to the persecution happening around them, betraying Buddhas and the divine. Some abandoned their conscience and participated in the campaign against Falun Gong, ignorant of the fact that they were damning themselves in the process.
The communist specter did not limit the persecution to China. It silenced the nations of the free world while the Chinese regime engaged in the frenzied jailing, murder, and torture of Falun Gong practitioners. Sated with economic incentives, the free world remained silent or even accepted the Party’s lies, giving the persecutors free rein to commit the worst crimes.
In the persecution of Falun Gong, the CCP introduced an evil never before seen: live organ harvesting. As the largest group of people imprisoned for their faith in China, Falun Gong practitioners are killed on demand, vivisected on the operating tables of state and military hospitals, and their organs are sold for tens of thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
On July 6, 2006, Canadian lawyers David Matas and David Kilgour (former Canadian secretary of state, Asia-Pacific) published a report titled Report Into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China. Examining eighteen types of evidence, they shed light on the CCP’s monstrosity, calling it “a grotesque form of evil … new to this planet.” 
Matas and Kilgour, along with investigative journalist Ethan Gutmann, worked with a team of international investigators to publish Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update in June 2016. Running over 680 pages and containing more than 2,400 references, the report proved beyond any doubt the reality and scale of the live organ harvesting carried out by the Chinese communist regime.
On June 13, 2016, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed Resolution 343, demanding the CCP bring an immediate end to the forced organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners and other prisoners of conscience. 
In June 2019, after a yearlong investigation, an independent people’s tribunal in London unanimously concluded that prisoners of conscience have been — and continue to be — killed in China for their organs “on a significant scale.”  The tribunal was chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who previously led the prosecution of former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic for his war crimes in Kosovo. The tribunal further concluded that adherents of Falun Gong have been one of the main sources of organs to fuel the Chinese regime’s transplant industry. This lucrative business has sustained support for the persecution of Falun Gong and attracted clients from China and around the world, making them complicit in the CCP’s mass murder.
3. A Century of Killing
The introduction to The Black Book of Communism provides a rough estimate of the death tolls of communist regimes around the world. It verified a figure of ninety-four million, including the following:
- Twenty million in the Soviet Union
- Sixty-five million in China
- One million in Vietnam
- Two million in North Korea
- Two million in Cambodia
- One million in Eastern Europe
- One hundred and fifty thousand in Latin America (mainly Cuba)
- 1.7 million in Africa
- 1.5 million in Afghanistan
- Ten thousand due to “the international Communist movement and Communist parties not in power.” 
Apart from Russia and China, lesser communist regimes have shown themselves no less willing to engage in absolute evil. The Cambodian genocide was the most extreme incident of mass murder carried out by a communist state. Various estimates place the number of Cambodians killed by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime between 1.4 million and 2.2 million — up to one-third of Cambodia’s population at the time.
Between 1948 and 1987, the North Korean communists killed more than one million of their own people through forced labor, executions, and internment in concentration camps. In the 1990s, famines killed at least 220,000 people, according to estimates based on North Korean census data. In total, based on the North Korean data, between 600,000 and 850,000 people died unnatural deaths between 1993 and 2008.  Other estimates place the real figure of those killed by the famine alone at between 1 million and 3.5 million. After Kim Jong Un came to power, he committed more overt murders, with the victims including high-ranking officials and his own relatives. Kim also has threatened the world with nuclear war.
In just one century, since the rise of the first communist regime in Russia, the specter of communism has murdered more people in the nations under its rule than the combined death toll of both world wars. The history of communism is a history of murder, and every page is written with the blood of its victims.
Read Next: Chapter Four
Updated April 21, 2020
Read the series here: How the Specter of Communism Is Ruling Our World
1. US Congress, House, “Remembering the Victims of Communism,” remarks by Rep. Christopher Smith, 115th Congress, 1st sess., Congressional Record 163 (November 13, 2017) https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2017/11/13/extensions-of-remarks-section/article/E1557-2.
2. Stéphane Courtois et al., eds., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, trans. Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999).
3. Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: Vintage Books, 1991), 411.
4. Winston Churchill, The World Crisis, Vol. 5: The Unknown War (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).
5. Robert Service, Lenin, a Biography (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 2000), 365.
6. Courtois et al., eds., The Black Book, 177.
7. Robert Gellately, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe (New York: Knopf Publishing Group, 2007), 75.
8. “Zhongguo Gongchandang da shiji. 1945 nian” 中国共产党大事记·1945年 [“A Chronicle of Key Events of the Chinese Communist Party 1945”], News of the Communist Party of China, accessed April 16, 2020, http://cpc.people.com.cn/GB/64162/64164/4416000.html. [In Chinese]
9. Frank Dikötter, The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945–1957 (London: Bloomsbury Press, 2013).
10. Martin Amis, Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million (New York: Vintage Books, 2003).
11. Roy Medvedev, Let History Judge: The Origins and Consequences of Stalinism, trans. George Shriver (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), 240–245.
12. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Books I–II, trans. Thomas P. Whitney (New York: Harper & Row, 1973).
13. Medvedev, Let History Judge, 396.
14. Reuters, “4.2 Million Were Victims of Purges, KGB Chief Says,” LA Times, June 15, 1991, https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1991-06-15-mn-496-story.html.
15. Alexander Yakovlev, Yakeliefu fangtan lu 1992–2005 雅科夫列夫訪談錄（1992–2005） [Alexander Yakovlev: Selected interviews (1992–2005)], trans. Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 234. [In Chinese]
16. Wen Yuluo 遇罗文, “Daxing tusha diaocha” 大兴屠杀调查 [“An Investigation of the Beijing Daxing Massacre”] in Wen Ge da tusha 文革大屠殺 [Massacres in the Cultural Revolution], ed. Song Yongyi 宋永毅 (Hong Kong: Kaifang zazhishe, 2002), 13–36. [In Chinese]
17. R. J. Rummel, China’s Bloody Century: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900 (New York: Routledge, 2017), 253.
18. Dong Baoxun 董宝训 and Ding Longjia 丁龙嘉, Chen yuan zhao yun—pingfan yuan jia cuo an 沉冤昭雪—平反冤假錯案 [Exonerate the Innocent: Rehabilitate the Wrongly Accused and Sentenced] (Hefei: Anhui Renmin Chubanshe, 1998), 1. [In Chinese]
19. Oriana Fallaci, “Deng: Cleaning Up Mao’s ‘Feudal Mistakes,’” The Washington Post, August 31, 1980, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1980/08/31/deng-cleaning-up-maos-feudal-mistakes/4e684a74-8083-4e43-80e4-c8d519d8b772.
20. Ding Longjia 丁龙嘉 and Ting Yu 听雨, Kang Sheng yu Zhao Jianmin yuan’an 康生与赵健民冤案 [Kang Sheng and the Unjust Case of Zhao Jianmin] (Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe, 1999), as referenced in Hu Angang, Mao and the Cultural Revolution, ed. W. H. Hau (Honolulu: Enrich Professional Publishing, Inc., 2016), 2:98.
21. David Matas and David Kilgour, Bloody Harvest: The Killing of Falun Gong for Their Organs (Ontario: Seraphim Editions, 2009), 13.
22. US Congress, House, Expressing concern regarding persistent and credible reports of systematic, state-sanctioned organ harvesting from non-consenting prisoners of conscience in the People’s Republic of China, including from large numbers of Falun Gong practitioners and members of other religious and ethnic minority groups, HR 343, 114th Cong., 2nd sess., introduced in House June 25, 2015, https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-resolution/343.
23. China Tribunal: Independent Tribunal into Forced Organ Harvesting from Prisoners of Conscience in China, “China Tribunal: Final Judgment 17th June,” March 1, 2020, https://chinatribunal.com/final-judgment.
24. Courtois et al., eds., The Black Book, 4.
25. Thomas Spoorenberg and Daniel Schwekendiek, “Demographic Changes in North Korea: 1993–2008,” Population and Development Review, March 21, 2012, accessed via Wiley Online Library, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1728-4457.2012.00475.x.