The Devil and Communist China | From Mao Down to Xi

The Devil and Communist China | From Mao Down to Xi
(Steven W. Mosher, April 13, 2024)

Transcript available below

About the speaker

Steven W. Mosher is an internationally recognized authority on China and population issues, as well as an acclaimed author, speaker. He has worked tirelessly since 1979 to fight coercive population control programs and has helped hundreds of thousands of women and families worldwide over the years.

In 1979, Steven was the first American social scientist to visit mainland China. He was invited there by the Chinese government, where he had access to government documents and actually witnessed women being forced to have abortions under the new “one-child policy.” Mr. Mosher was a pro-choice atheist at the time, but witnessing these traumatic abortions led him to reconsider his convictions and to eventually become a practicing, pro-life Roman Catholic.

Steven has appeared numerous times before Congress as an expert in world population, China, and human rights abuses. He has also made TV appearances on Good Morning America60 MinutesThe Today Show20/20, FOX and CNN news, as well as being a regular guest on talk radio shows across the nation.

He is also the author of the best-selling A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight Against China’s One-Child Policy. Other books include Hegemon: China’s Plan to Dominate Asia and the WorldChina AttacksChina Misperceived: American Illusions and Chinese RealityJourney to the Forbidden China, and Broken Earth: The Rural Chinese.

Articles by Steve have appeared in The Wall Street JournalReader’s DigestThe New RepublicThe Washington PostNational ReviewReasonThe Asian Wall Street JournalFreedom ReviewLinacre Quarterly, Catholic World Report, Human Life Review, First Things, and numerous other publications.

Steven Mosher lives in Virginia with his wife, Vera, and their nine children.



Robert R. Reilly:

Hello and welcome to the Westminster Institute. I am Robert Reilly, its director, and today we are particularly delighted to welcome back to the Westminster Institute programs Steven Mosher, who is an internationally recognized authority on China and population issues as well as the president of the Population Research Institute. In fact, the last program we did with Steve, which was last year, was on the subject of demographic problems in China, and whether they can be fixed or not. He is also the author of the bestselling book A Mother’s Ordeal: One Woman’s Fight against China’s One Child Policy. Other books include Hegemon: China’s plan to Dominate Asia and the World, a book that came out some years ago and proved particularly prescient in terms of China’s behavior since then in claiming the entire South China Sea. Other books include China Attacks, China Misperceived: American Illusions and Chinese Reality, Journey to the Forbidden China, and Broken Earth: The Rural Chinese.

Steve’s articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Readers Digest, The New Republic, The Washington Post, National Review, the Asian Wall Street Journal, and a number of other distinguished publications as well. He has made many TV appearances on Good Morning America, 60 Minutes, The Today Show, 2020, Fox, and CNN news among others. He is a regular guest on talk radio shows across the nation. We are delighted that he is joining us today to discuss his latest book titled, The Devil and Communist China from Mao to Xi, which will be the subject of today’s program. Steve, welcome back to the Westminster Institute.

Steven W. Mosher:

Well, it is good to be with you here today. Bob, let me just begin by telling people that I have been an observer of China for, well, since 1972 when I first visited the border between Hong Kong and China as a young naval officer, stood on the border on the Hong Kong side, and looked into the rice patties on the other side, at the black clothed villagers who were working on the rice patties there, and wondered what life was like on the other side of the bamboo curtain. Well, that bamboo curtain has disappeared now. Unfortunately, along with it disappeared freedom in Hong Kong, where I still have many friends, having lived there for several years.

China has changed over the last 50 years, but in many ways it has remained the same because the founder of the People’s Republic of China, really one of the early founders of the Chinese Communist Party, the longtime leader of the Chinese Communist Party, Mao, still haunts that country. His ghost still haunts that country, one might say, along with the structure of the government that he put in place.

Now, I have looked at Chinese history before. I have written books about Chinese history, one of which was China Misperceived, how America got China wrong for hundreds of years, and in fact, in some respects at least some people in Washington are still misreading China today, like the toothless Janet Yellen who recently went over to China to tell the Chinese leadership, Xi Jinping and others, that they should stop dumping their products on the world market at prices below the cost of producing them.

She was there to tell them they should stop overproducing. Well, we have been telling China to stop overproducing for 30 years, and they just laugh at us. They smile and nod, and of course they continue overproducing because that is the whole name of the game they are playing. So there is deceit and deception built into the way China, the Chinese Communist Party, not only treats the world but treats its own people, and I trace that back to Mao Zedong himself.

I have written books about the ideology of China. This book, though, is a little different. It is really a look at the spiritual side of China in the sense of looking at what is the driving spirit behind the last 75 or so years of communist misrule in China. And I trace that spirit back to Mao himself. I knew before writing the book a great deal about Mao, of course. I had read his collected works. I even memorized phrases from his Little Red Book and used them in different writings. I had read the standard biographies of Mao, many of which are filled with fabrications, quite frankly, but I wanted to get to the real Mao.

I wanted to see Mao through the lens of the natural law; that is the law that is written in every human heart. And the best way to do that, I concluded, was by tackling Mao from the perspective of the Ten Commandments. And you know, one might say, well, you are being ethnocentric, or Christocentric, which I would actually be proud to be, but I respond that no, that law is written in the human heart irrespective of times, and places, and civilizations, and religions. And in fact, many of its precepts are embedded in the stated principles of Confucianism and Buddhism.

I mean, Buddhism has a respect for all life, not just human life. It rejects lust. It rejects using other people. It promotes the well-being of others. Confucianism, for its part, promotes respect for parents and respect for those in authority, and you know some other admirable things like not stealing and not cheating.

So looking at Mao through the lens of the Ten Commandments, he stands revealed as one of the most evil people in human history. Now, human history is filled with evil, make no mistake about that, but he declared as a young man that he was lawless and godless, and he was quite proud of that fact.

Well, if you openly reject God, you are rejecting the First Commandment. He did not hesitate to take the name of the God that he pretended did not exist in vain. The Third Commandment, of course, he had no time for religious right or ritual of any kind. In fact, he put in place of a Catholic understanding of right and ritual, or even a Daoist or Buddhist understanding of right and ritual, communist rituals. For example, when he was in Yanan in North China in his red base there, his first red base where he was supported every month by a cash infusion from Stalin, along with arms and advisors and so forth, he decided to cancel all of the regular holidays and festivals of the traditional Chinese calendar.

And he said they do not need to celebrate these holidays anymore, they need to be working in the fields, producing food for the Red Army. And he said, besides, if you add up the total amount of time that they are in meetings every month, that is the equivalent of five full days of rest. Mao was talking about the propaganda sessions that the peasants, villagers, after working all day in the fields were forced to attend for a couple hours every evening. That, he said, was their rest period that he said was an adequate replacement for the Chinese Lunar New Year, and the annual grave sweeping festival, and the other festivals that dot the Chinese lunar calendar. So that was his view of the matter. He replaced Sundays with political meetings.

And [then there is] the Fourth Commandment, honor your father and your mother. He detested his father from an early age. He was resentful and rebellious and behaved [badly. He] consciously rejected the Confucian admonition to honor his parents and respect his parents, and instead said later in life that his father had been a rich peasant. He was not rich by any means. Villagers in China were not rich in those days. They still are not today, by the way, but it just meant that he had a little more land than he could farm himself, so sometimes he had to hire people to come in and help him plant and harvest his rice crop. And Mao said later in life that his father as a rich peasant should have been put up on a stage and airplane, put in a torture position, mistreated and possibly killed. So you know, you cannot be more disrespectful to your father than to at least contemplate patricide.

The Fifth Commandment [is] Thou shalt not kill. My goodness, Mao I describe quite accurately, I think, as the killingest man in human history. I apologize for the grammar, but it makes the point. Mao is responsible for more deaths, I believe, than any other human being in human history, more than Hitler, more than Stalin, more than Pol Pot, more than any other murderer, mass murderer, in human history by far. Because if you total up the number of deaths during the civil war, in which he deliberately increased the number of civilian casualties by blockading food from going into cities to force them to surrender, causing the deaths of millions of people, civilians, not soldiers, and then of course the purges and persecutions of the 1950s, the Great Leap Forward, which resulted in a great failure, the Great Famine, the 50 million victims of the Great Famine, the people who died during that famine, the Cultural Revolution victims.

And I also add to that total of 100 million, the 400 million little victims of the one child policy. And you might say, well, you know, the one child policy began in 1980 when I was in China and Chairman Mao had already passed away a few years before. Well, that is true, but what he did was he put in place the conceptual framework and the political structure that enabled the enforcement of the one child policy, and he very explicitly said in 1958, 22 years before the beginning of the one child policy, he said you know, we do state planning for all aspects, all sectors of the economy. He said now we need to plan births in the same way. We need an office of state planning of births in the same way we control the production of tons of steel and numbers of bicycles, he said we need to control the production of human beings.

So there you had the first argument, that I am aware of, that the Communist Party should control the number of children born in China and the party leaders acted on that subsequent to his death, and put in place the one child policy, which ran from 1980 to 2016, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of millions, unborn and newborn, because there was state sanctioned infanticide, there were babies killed at birth by government doctors under orders not to allow illegal children, ‘illegal children,’ to live. So add the 400 million to the 100 million, and you have a truly jaw-dropping death toll carried out on the orders of Mao and his successors through the mechanism of the totalitarian control that he put in place, that resulted in a half billion deaths.

That is 500 million people, a number so large you cannot wrap your mind around it.

That is the Fifth Commandment, Thou shalt not kill. He killed with abandon, he killed with glee, he killed without remorse. When tens of millions of people were dying of famine in the early 1960s, a famine that he himself caused by forcing people into communes where not enough food was produced to feed the hungry, he simply shrugged. Mao said what viewing the deaths? He said, well, deaths have benefits. What does it matter if one-third of the population dies? Their bodies will fertilize the soil. Well, he thought of his fellow Chinese as nothing more than fertilizer, as nothing more than human compost. Their bodies, he thought, would fertilize the soil.

In the meantime, he continued, of course, to eat his fill. He also had his fill of women, talking about the Sixth Commandment, Thou shalt not commit adultery. Well, he was a serial adulterer. He abandoned one wife after another, but I think the worst thing he did in the sexual realm by far stems from the fact that at one time he read that the mythical Yellow Emperor, who supposedly lived 5,000 years ago in China but for the existence of which there is no archaeological evidence or written evidence at all, supposedly the mythical Yellow Emperor had achieved immortality by sleeping with a thousand virgins.

Mao, as he entered his 60s and felt the pressure of passing time, decided that he was going to emulate the Yellow Emperor and achieve immortality in the same way, and so beginning in the early 60s he would started sending out his secret police into villages all around China to scour the villages for young nubile virginal girls, 12, 13, 14 years of age, just past puberty, who were brought to him in the years subsequent every night for him to deflower. And he did this year after year after year.

I mean, we have no way of knowing whether he ever reached the number of a thousand, and we do know that he died like every other human being who has ever lived, so it didn’t work to achieve immortality. The only thing he did achieve, I think, in doing that was destroy the innocence of hundreds of naive village girls who were, after he used them, simply thrown away. And I like to contrast here the way that the emperors treated their concubines with the way that Mao treated the young girls that he used, abused, and then threw away.

I am not defending concubinage, of course. God intended for men and women to marry one of each other, but the emperor, besides having an emperor, did have concubines. Some of the emperors had two concubines, some had 20, some had 200. I think the record was held by the Emperor Kangxi, who had 2,000, some of which he never even met. I mean, [he] certainly never even slept with [them]. They were just political marriages, but they were marriages of a sort, small m marriages, if you will, because there was a ritual that accompanied concubinage.

So a woman came into the Forbidden City, she was formally inducted into the ranks of concubines, and the emperor pledged to take care of her ever after, food, shelter, clothing, take care of any children who emerged from the union. Mao dispensed with all of that. He did not take care of these girls at all. He just used them and threw them away, so from the standpoint of a violator of the Sixth Commandment, he has got to be right up there at the top.

Now, [there is the] Seventh Commandment, Thou shalt not steal. Mao stole everything. He stole from his own party. During the civil war he had set aside a secret stash of gold and silver in a cave because he was uncertain of his position within the Chinese Communist Party, and he wanted to have a stash of money to fall back on in case he was thrown out of power by another faction. Once, of course, he succeeded in becoming the uncontested emperor, the Red Emperor of China, he did not need that stash anymore because he had the whole country at his disposal, every material good, in fact, every person, you might say, given the way he abused young girls.

Every person was at his disposal. He had resorts everywhere he had palatial residences in every province where he would go from time to time. As he grew older, he became increasingly paranoid, afraid of being assassinated, so he would move from place to place quite frequently, thinking to confuse his enemies inside and outside of the party. But every asset in China, all of the hard work, sweat, and tears of the Chinese people in those years and even today is, you know, taken, expropriated, used by the Chinese Communist Party, and whatever amount at whatever time the party and its leaders choose to take it and use it. So private property does not really exist in China today.

The villagers are farming plots of land that the government has given them back, but only on leases. The government can take it back at any point in time and does so. Nobody really owns anything in China today. CEOs and billionaires are disappearing left, right, and center as they are charged with corruption and their wealth expropriated by corrupt Communist Party officials, and in doing that they are following Mao, because after all, he was the head of the gongchandang. Gong means public, chan means property, and dang means party. It is the public property party. It is the party that claims, then and now, that all property in China, including the people, belong to the party and can be disposed of by the party and its leaders at will. So that is the Seventh Commandment.

Thou shalt not bear false witness, you know, lying, [is the Eighth Commandment]. Mao lied without blinking, as the Chinese say. That is a Chinese saying, to lie without blinking. He was very good at that, and Mao was a curious creature who, if he had a choice between telling the truth to a subordinate or to a rival and achieving his end by telling the truth, or by lying to someone and achieving his end, he would always choose to lie. Why, Bob? Because that way he could achieve his end, his goal, by deceit and deception. He could count himself clever in the process, so if the devil was the father of lies, Mao was kind of the son of lies because he reveled in lying and deceit. That is how he worked his will in the party and outside of the party.

And then the coveting goes along with all the rest of the Ninth and Tenth Commandments.

So if you look at him through the lens of the Ten Commandments, you see this is a man who if he was not possessed by the devil, [his behavior could not have been more inconsistent with the Ten Commandments]. And there is no indication that he was. Unlike Marx, he never wrote poems of praise to the devil. He never suggested that he had signed a pact with the devil. In fact, he rejected the very existence of God because he was intent upon making himself into a kind of demigod, deifying himself, as it were.

But if he had been possessed by the devil, if one were to do a a mental experiment and say if Mao had been possessed by the devil, would he have behaved any differently? The answer is no. Would he have killed more? It is hard to imagine. Would he have violated the innocence of more girls? No, I mean he was at his physical limits already. Would he have lied more? No, he lied at every occasion he could. And of course, finally, the structure that he put in place, the Communist Party that he led for so many decades, reflects his views and his behavior to the present day.

Xi Jinping is not the son of Mao’s loins. Mao did have children, but they were lost to war. He abandoned them and they were killed in the civil war. One son was killed in the Korean War when a U.S. bomb struck the headquarters of the Red Army. Another son was schizophrenic and never held any official position because of his mental illness. Mao probably had other children, but he never recognized any of the children by his liaisons, by the women he abused, but the structure he put in place and the people who inherited that structure, like Xi Jinping, [derive from him].

While Xi is not the son of his loins, there is no biological connection between them except through history, but in terms of his behavior, in terms of his megalomania, in terms of his leading China down the socialist road to ruin one more time, in terms of his personality cult, in terms of the behavior of Chairman Mao, Xi Jinping is almost perfectly channeling the greatest mass murder in human history, which does not bode well for the Chinese people and its future. That is the Devil and Chairman Mao.

Let me just make one more point about the book. So far everything we have discussed is fairly depressing. I mean, contemplating evil is never a happy thing to do, but it is necessary for us to understand the evil that is about in the world, and it is necessary because so many people in the United States and elsewhere have been lured into thinking that evil does not really exist, that there is no absolute evil, there is no absolute good, everything is shades of grey. You are taught in college and university, if you go to college and university, that everything is shades of grey, that morals are relative, that ethics are situational, that it might be alright in some circumstances to do horrible things and so forth.

That is not true. There is evil in the world, and the evil has a name, and the evil has followers. And I like to point out that, you know, it is hard to imagine two men who had less in common than Chairman Mao and Archbishop Fulton Sheen, the great evangelist of the last century who had a half an hour TV show that reached millions of Americans once a week. What a thing to contemplate in the current age. But the difference between these two was the difference between heaven and hell. They agreed on one thing. Communism, Archbishop Fulton Sheen and Chairman Mao insisted, was inspired not by love but by hate, and it was precisely that hate that gave it its terrible power to destroy.

Chairman Mao, in fact, said that openly. I mean, he exalted in the power that this hate unleashed. He once gloated, saying communism is not love, communism is a hammer that we use to destroy the enemy. And boy did he use it effectively to destroy the enemy. And communism, of course, Marxism, always requires an enemy. The system feeds on hatred, and it feeds on the hatred generated by creating enemies of different classes, of different groups, of different ethnicities, of different religions, and it requires that constant fuel, that fuel of hate, to power the system forward.

Of course, we propose and we support the creation of a civilization based not on hate but on love, civilization based on life and love that we Christians have been charged for the last 2,000 years with creating. And we have not done a very good job of it, Bob. We have come close at different places and times, and I believe the United States at one time was probably fairly close to what could be achieved with a political structure in terms of promoting that kind of civilization of life and love, although we are falling away from it now, but young people need to know that there is evil about in the world, and the evil has a name, and so it is a salutary thing to read about the evil.

But I do not end there. I end each chapter and each section, as you know, by reflecting on the good, by turning our hearts and minds, the hearts and minds of the reader and my own heart and mind. After spending a day immersed in the mind of Mao, I had to read the Bible or the catechism and go take a shower, but the book ends on a happy note because we know that the time ends on a happy note.

Robert R. Reilly:

Steve, I was very intrigued when you began this analysis based upon the Commandments. I thought, how are you going to pull that off? You not only achieved what you just told us about in that respect, but you also used that to see what exactly Mao was putting in as a replacement, that there was a need for this totalitarian regime, if it is going to be divine, to replicate something like the Commandments but directed toward his person or the Communist Party, substitute sacraments, substitute salvation, etc., etc. You know this very well because every ideology in the 20th century and previous centuries had the same fundamental background in terms of principles.

Dr. Patrick Sookhdeo is the founder and chairman of the Westminster Institute, a man of great learning and the author of many books. I scribbled down this line when we were having a conversation because I was so taken with it and it comports perfectly with the theme of your book, so I am going to read this just one line from Patrick about Mao Zedong. He said, “Marxist word made flesh.” That is it, I mean, that is his divinization by the ideology that he is the Incarnation, so that is their substitute for the Incarnation.

Steven W. Mosher:

That is a sobering thought, Bob, and you know I believe that a Godless creature like Mao Zedong, a man thoroughly possessed by evil without being formally possessed by the devil (I am not making that claim), is a kind of prefiguring of the Antichrist, if not himself a lesser example of what awaits us at the end of time. And as I say, he may not have made a conscious pact with the devil, as Karl Marx seems to come close to doing, anyway, but he certainly embraced every evil known to God and man. He longed to be the prince of this world, which is a dangerous ambition because those who long to be the prince of this world generally wind up serving, whether they are aware of it or not, the real prince of this world who is Satan himself.

And the other parallel here that I would like to draw is that Satan was the original rebel, and he and the fallen angels were cast out of heaven because they refused to serve in heaven. They would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven. And communism, full-blown Marxism-Leninism, always results in the creation of kind of hell on Earth, but it does not matter to people like Mao and Xi Jinping because, like the devil himself, they would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven, and that has even been clear in Chinese philosophy in years past.

There is a saying by the ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu who said at one point that an evil man will burn his own country to the ground to rule over the ashes. Well, that is very interesting, isn’t it? That sounds a lot like the devil would rather reign in hell than serve in heaven. Mao would rather reign over a destructive system that has killed 500 million Chinese than serve anyone other than himself and his own needs. So we need to get this message out to as many people as possible.

Being in China so many decades ago was my exposure to the results of massive social engineering. I mean the greatest social engineering project was undertaken by Mao. He wanted to create a new China, supposedly. He wanted to create a new socialist man and a new socialist woman, and you had many people in the West who fell under the spell of that fantasy, along with people in China themselves.

The difference is the people in China had to live with the consequences of that, which were famine and death and tyranny and constant political campaigns, whereas the people in the United States, people like economics professor Harris at Stanford University, or professor John Gurley at Stanford University in the economics department, both Communists, by the way, both great admirers of communist China and chairman Mao, they never experienced firsthand like the Chinese people did, and like I did when I was in China.

Professor Harris, by the way, is the father of our current Vice President, Kamala Harris, so if you wondered where Kamala Harris gets her nonsensical ideas about economic matters, she gets them from her father, who was a well-known Marxist in the economics faculty of Stanford University when I was there in the 80s. So we need to make clear to young people in this country that the road to socialism runs through increasing government programs, supposedly to solve this or that societal problems, but generally make matters worse.

And you see that, of course, in what was undertaken in China, the greatest social engineering project in human history which resulted quite predictably in the greatest number of deaths and the greatest amount of tyranny in human history.

Robert R. Reilly:

I recall something Lenin wrote, “We must hate. Hatred is the basis of communism.”

I used that in a book many years ago, and I had a citation from Lenin’s complete works and so forth. Others say it is spurious. In any case, the substance of it is absolutely true as we know. Anybody experiencing modern China comes away confirmed that this is not a totalitarian society or a society under the grip of totalitarianism. Look at the shopping malls, the skyscrapers, the modern buildings, the modern museums, the highspeed trains, and so forth, and the evident prosperity of the Chinese, the men and women on the streets. Of course, they are not in the countryside, but what they see in a city is what you would expect to see in any Western city. In fact, Beijing as you know simply resembles any modern architecture because the buildings look the same no matter where you are in the world.

So I was struck by that in Beijing. I had wanted to see the kind of China I saw when I spent a summer in Taiwan, and that was back in about 1973. I loved it. I love the Chinese culture, the food, the gracious deference and politeness of the people, etc., and of course that is not there in communist China.

However, when we talk about the deception that Mao and other Chinese leaders practiced, you referred to the self-deception of Westerners. I remember when these economic reforms began. Someone said, well, when they have private property, then they will have private conversations. It is a very clever line, but as you pointed out, they do not have private property except for these plots, which they can use as if it it is private property, so people have speculated that there is a deal going on in China between the people and the communist rulers expressed in the following way.

You keep this economy growing, you keep creating opportunities for us so we can take care of our family and our aged parents, and as long as we are moving upward, you can be Marxist or whatever you like, just leave us alone in that sphere of family life and growing prosperity for us. That is the tradeoff, which would mean, number one, that whereas it is very clear in Chairman Xi as it was very clear in Mao Zedong, they are doctrinaire Marxist-leninists, but the people are not. Does that comport with your experience and knowledge?

Steven W. Mosher:

Well, here is what is happening in China, and it is happening in real time right now. And to make the point, we have to go back to the New Economic Policy of Soviet Russia. Lenin, of course, wanted to move overnight towards full-blown communism. Famine quickly struck Russia, as it always does when you go down the socialist road to ruin, so he embarked upon a New Economic Policy allowing the wealth creators to come back, the entrepreneurs to come back, and open up shops and go into business for themselves. That new class of entrepreneurs survived for about 10 years in Russia, and then Stalin decided to clamp down in the early 1930s, and they were they were eliminated, physically eliminated.

The same thing is happening right now in China, but it is happening on a longer time scale. Mao spent 30 years trying to achieve full-blown communism and he failed, and he failed so miserably and at such a high price in terms of destruction of the economy, and destruction of society, and destruction of human beings, 100 million people we are talking about, that Deng Xiaoping basically adopted China’s version of the New Economic Policy. It was called, of course, the Four Modernizations Program.

The difference between the Soviet Union in the 20s and early 30s and the Four Modernizations is that the West bought into the idea that China was embarking on a fundamental move away from communism that the Four Modernizations of science, and technology, and agriculture, and the military would lead China necessarily into a period of economic development that would rise, create a middle class, lead to the rise of a middle class, lead to demands for increasing decentralization of power, and would ultimately result in the end of one party dictatorship.

Robert R. Reilly:

There was also, if I may just interrupt you for a moment, that kind of optimism expressed over Lenin’s New Economic Policy.

Steven W. Mosher:

Yeah, we enabled the rise of the country that now wants to destroy us. We went in with literally hundreds of billions of dollars of investment. We went in with our cutting-edge technology. Importantly, we opened our markets to Chinese made goods, and so we created the export sector of the Chinese economy, and we created in the course of that rise a middle class in China of about 200 million people and almost as many billionaires in China as the United States has.

Now, China had a good run from in the 1980s there was a hiccup in in in the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989, and then after a few years in the doldrum. The economic takeoff continued, but it is now over. China had a good run, but it is now over it is over because there are 65 million homes, 1/5 of the nation’s total number of homes, are vacant. Real estate prices have collapsed. Tens of millions of middle class Chinese invested their life savings in an apartment in a high-rise building that they will never live in because it has either never been built at all, or stands half built, an uninhabitable empty shell.

The official youth unemployment in China is in double digits right now. They used to say 21%. Now they have changed. They have fiddled with the definition, so they are down at 16%. The real youth unemployment rate is probably 40% or 50%. The real numbers are much, much worse. China’s boom days are over when both capital and people are heading for the exits. $500 billion dollar fled the country in 2023 alone, and the hemorrhaging continues. There is a huge pool of money and people desperate to get out of China.

That is why tens of thousands are coming across our southern border. How did you know mighty China, which seem to be on pace in 2014, 2015 come to this, and the answer is Xi Jinping and the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. [They are] taking China once more down the socialist road to ruin. If you read his internal party speeches, he is committed to socialism with Chinese characteristics, he is committed to gradually taking over the public sector of the economy, and remember the only sector of the Chinese economy that really operates on market principles is what? It is the export sector of the economy.

Most of the rest of the economy, the domestic economy, has never really taken off, and state-owned enterprises, those huge white elephants, simply absorb hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies each year. The Chinese economy is suffering a kind of death by a thousand cuts perpetrated by the policies of Xi Jinping, a man who models himself on one of the most monomaniacal and deadly leaders in in human history.

So what has happened to the wealth creators? What is happening to the private sector?

Well, the domestic sector of the economy is collapsing because it was based on real estate. Real estate is now gone. What about the wealth creators? What about the people who started Alibaba like Jack Ma? Well, Jack Ma sort of disappeared. We do not know where he is. He appears from time to time. The most dangerous place to be in China in the world today a billionaire is China itself. Billionaires are being arrested, they are being tortured, they are being executed, they are being imprisoned for life, they are being suicided, which is a phrase in Chinese which means you happen to fall off the balcony, that of the 25th floor of a high-rise building in Beijing or Shanghai.

Xi Jinping will tell people that he has no objection to people getting wealthy as long as they use their wealth to serve the party, but what he has done is he has put, Bob, political commissars on the boards of directors of every company in China of any size. And you know as well as I that if you are sitting around in a board meeting and you are the chairman and owner of the company, supposedly a billionaire, and sitting at the opposite end of the table is a political commissar representing the Chinese Communist Party, newly arrived, you no longer own your company.

You have to do what the political commissar tells you, and those political commissars have gotten greedy because they have decided the best way to ensure that Xi Jinping’s dictate, that the people who are wealthy must use their wealth to serve the party, is to confiscate that wealth, and so CEOs and billionaires are being accused of corruption – probably correctly in many cases, probably falsely in other cases – and their wealth is being seized by corrupt Communist Party officials. And that is happening across the length and breadth of China, and we are talking about numbers in the hundreds of thousands of people who have been accused of corruption.

That is why the Chinese economy is dying, and that is why you will not see the Chinese economy rise again as long as Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party are in power. This is the end of the road. It will take some time to go down the socialist road to ruin, but they are well on their way down that road right now.

Robert R. Reilly:

I do not think anything could illustrate the point you are making more powerfully than what has happened to Hong Kong, this amazing city that was an economic engine of investment and capital, prosperous beyond the dreams of the people across the border, which he has shown is of no concern of his.

He has abrogated the agreement with Great Britain in turning it over, that for 50 years Hong Kong would maintain the two systems, one country approach, and that seemed to work in the short term, but that is clearly now over as the new national security laws make it possible to arrest Jimmy Lai and others who do anything jeopardizing the authority of the party.

It is very clear, and you make this point in your book very well, that what Xi is interested in is not wealth creation but control, and so he has politicized or is continuing to politicize the economy, not for it to produce wealth but to use as a very powerful instrument of control (if you have in your hands the means of well-being for anyone, any party, or in the country as a whole).

But what about this purported understanding between the Chinese people and, of course, the other ethnicities in China, when the economy is going down, confidence is shaking? Now that women, married women, can have three children, they are not having any because they are looking at both the husband’s income and the wife’s, and they see they are going to have to support their parents because there is no real retirement program except the children, and therefore the generosity of the party in saying you now may or even should have three children, they are not having any. And the last program we did together was on the demographic bomb that Xi is holding in his hands, so as their lives change in deleterious ways, certainly that has got to jeopardize the party if only in the way that the only thing they can do about it is to increase suppression if they are not to be changed.

Steven W. Mosher:

I think that the system in China is sort of collapsing in on itself, and its only response to any threat or any danger is continual and increasing overreach, overreach in tyranny. And you mentioned Hong Kong, my goodness, that once thriving, bustling, free city, which was one of the major cities in the world, inhabited by 7.5 million free people. The Chinese Communist Party has now destroyed confidence in the Hong Kong economy. The stock market is falling. People who still can get out are getting out. It is harder and harder to get your wealth out of Hong Kong and out of China because there are restrictions on currency, leaving China at least.

I had friends tell me 20 years ago, 25 years ago, do not worry about Hong Kong, the Chinese Communist Party will not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. And besides, they said, so many Communist Party leaders have secreted their ill-gotten gains, their gains from corruption, we are talking billions of dollars, in the Hong Kong stock market, in the Hong Kong property market. They do not want to. They will not touch it because it would destroy their own wealth. Well, guess what? Xi Jinping has decided that producing tyranny in Hong Kong is more important than having a rising stock market or rising real estate prices, and economic collapse follows as surely as night follows day.

The demographic collapse is underway. China’s population has been falling now for several years. They are filling more coffins than cradles, and with the economic decline, with the rise in youth unemployment rate, the youth are not getting married in any numbers. The youth are not getting married and having children. They are having fewer children than ever. The number of babies born continues to decline, and so the combination of the demographic collapse and the economic collapse are interrelated.

And it goes hand in hand with the increasing imposition of societal controls in China, the social credit system, for example, the increasing control of everyone’s movement, the constant watching by big brother through artificial intelligence and surveillance cameras where everyone is tracked in real time as far as where they go, and who they talk to, and what they say, and what opinions they express, and how much money they make, and how they spend their money.

And that is why, of course, we have these tens of thousands, probably 40,000 over the last 12 months, people crossing our open southern border. A lot of them are economic migrants, to be sure. I am sure salted in the flow, however, are agents of the Chinese Communist Party, potential terrorists, perhaps spies, certainly, who will be activated at the right time by the Chinese Communist Party if it finds itself in a conflict with the United States.

My point there is to say the Chinese Communist Party knows perfectly well who these people are. They have facial recognition technology. They are tracking them in real time on their cell phones. They are enabling them to withdraw money when they get to Panama and Mexico from their bank accounts in China. They are enabling websites to stay up, telling them when and where to cross the American border. All of that would be censored in a moment if the Chinese Communist Party did not approve of this human illegal migration into the United States by Chinese [migrants].

[These Chinese migrants] need, by the way, a passport and an exit visa to get out of China in the first place. And yet the Chinese who cross the border are instructed to drop their identification and then go to the nearest Chinese consulate in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and they will be issued new identification papers. The Chinese Communist Party knows exactly who is crossing our southern border, spies and economic migrants alike. They refuse to tell us who these people are.

Robert R. Reilly:

Steve, can I get back to the corruption issue for just a short time, particularly as it is related to the military in China? Now, we know not too long ago that the way to promotion in the ranks of the officers, particularly when you get in the higher echelon, is to pay so that you will be promoted to that post. And if it cost you a million dollars, you would be sure to get a million and more from the corruption that your predecessor had practiced. To tell you the truth, I was tremendously encouraged by this when I learned about it years ago because that will, of course, result in the kind of incompetence that we saw in the early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with trucks breaking down. Maintenance had not been performed for a couple of years [so] the tires exploded, etc.

However, the reform of the military, the anti-corruption campaign in the military; I know the first response from you is that is so Xi can put his own people in who will be beholden to him and obey him. First of all, could there be an element of reality in the anti-corruption campaign in the military because Xi intends to use it and he needs a level of competence in the officer class and so forth that can stand up to U.S. military forces?

Steven W. Mosher:

Well, he certainly does, and I do not think he is there yet, and he may never, given the nature of the system, actually be there. The anti-corruption campaign continues, and as I mentioned, has been targeting not just corrupt Communist Party officials in the military and in the party but also wealth creators in China. And anyone with any wherewithal really has a target on their back in China today, so they have to tread very lightly.

When the Four Modernizations began, the generals and colonels in the People’s Liberation Army who controlled factories or army posts, navy posts went into business for themselves in a big way. They started producing goods for the consumer market. They started hiring out soldiers for various tasks, including constructing buildings in which they had an investment stake, so the level of corruption is just mind-boggling for an American to contemplate. I mean, imagine the commander of Fort Bragg going into business, competing with the private sector and producing goods and services and renting out his soldiers for different construction projects. It is inconceivable here.

Well, that is what was happening in China. And of course, that would cause whatever war fighting capacity the People’s Liberation Army Navy, Air Force had to disappear virtually overnight because all the officers were interested in using the soldiers under their command to make money in one way or another. It took a long time to get the People’s Liberation Army out of the business of doing such things, and I am not sure they have completely succeeded. They have purged the ranks of the military of everyone who is suspected of not being loyal to Xi.

Can you end the corruption in the communist system entirely? That is the question, whether you are talking about the party or the government or the military, and the answer is you really cannot because the communist system in China of governance is really an organized criminal conspiracy which flouts the law, which is a law on to itself where there are no checks and balances. It is whatever the local official is able to extract from the people under his control and his immediate subordinates.

And it may have cost several million dollars to become a one-star general in the PLA, but that one-star general was in a position to promote people to majors and lieutenant colonels, for example, and make some of that money back, so it was an investment in his own, increasing his own, what you might call, circle of corruption, increasing the area in which he was able to practice corruption and extract more money from the people under his control.

This goes way back in Chinese history. The emperor never provided his officials with sufficient resources to actually run their government offices. They were expected to collect in taxes, and in bribes, and through corruption the resources they would need to actually govern the county, or the prefecture, or the province they were in charge of, so this sort of institutionalized corruption goes way back in Chinese history. And I do not know how short of changing the hearts and minds of tens of millions of Chinese through what, through the influence of Christianity, Thou shalt not steal, I do not see how you can root out this corruption.

What you have done is you replaced one faction with another, and the Xi Jinping faction is entirely dominant now. We saw that a few months ago at the last party Congress when on the last day of the party Congress something remarkable happened. Sitting at Xi Jinping’s left hand was the former president of China, Hu Jintao, now a man in his early 80s. And he, apparently, according to a rumor which I believe to be true, had been promised that his faction would receive a certain number of members, three or four members, on the roster of the Politburo. That folder giving the names of the new Politburo members was not handed out until the last day of the party Congress.

You see Hu Jintao, who had been a faithful supporter of Jiang Zemin, had supported Jiang Zemin’s promotion to provincial party secretary, supported his promotion to the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, had his back for 15 years – you see Hu Jintao in that meeting of the party Congress in front of 400 members of the Central Committee and alternate members of the Central Committee, opening the folder and looking at the list and a look of surprise and anger comes across his face. And he turns and begins talking urgently to Xi Jinping, I believe complaining about the fact that members of his faction have been left off the list and replaced with members of Xi Jinping’s faction.

And all Xi Jinping does is he does not even look or talk to Hu Jintao. He just waves his hand, and his security, the chief of his security, comes, bodily lifts Hu Jintao out of his seat, and leads him out of the hall while he is protesting. This was in full view of all of the other leaders of the Chinese Communist Party, thus cementing in everyone’s mind the understanding that Xi Jinping is now the absolute uncontested ruler of the Chinese Communist Party and thus of all China.

So this concentration of power is now almost complete. Xi Jinping’s megalomania is now growing apace. And because he is getting older and because he, as you tend to when you are a dictator getting older, see threats everywhere, he is becoming increasingly paranoid. We have seen this story before with Chairman Mao, and it does not end well.

Robert R. Reilly:

We have also seen before, Steve, non-status quo powers who have decided that their time in the sun has arrived, and whereas that used to be done through the acquisition of colonies which Germany did in Africa, and you have status quo powers that just respect the borders that exist, and against which the non-status quo powers like Imperial Germany kept pushing, so we end up with World War I. And of course, World War II and Hitler were just a continuation of that war until the country was entirely conquered.

Now, China clearly is a non-status quo power, and in that audacious move while President Obama was in office, China claimed just about the entire South China Sea, the limits to which are more than a thousand miles from any border of the People’s Republic of China. And as you well know, they built artificial islands and militarized them, airfields, fighter planes, anti-aircraft missiles, etc., so it would be, of course, a horrible war should one break out between China and the United States, perhaps precipitated by their takeover of Taiwan or their intended takeover of Taiwan. And we know a couple of things.

Well, why would Xi imperil his country by doing this?

Well, if you control the South China Sea and you control Taiwan and the Straits of Taiwan, you have within your grasp about almost half of the world economy because the ships, the container ships, have to go through those sea lanes. And if he controls them, that changes the complexion of the world in a major way. And he is constantly complaining about the hegemony of the West, the United States-created world system, and obviously he wants to replace it, as does his friend, Putin.

A number of very responsible people and analysts of some standing have said that this is a pre-war period, and in Japan there is a new term that refers to our time as the new pre-war, so they see the potential there. Germany’s military in 1914 and so forth was highly competent. Obviously, so were the military forces of the Third Reich.

That is why I keep returning, Steve, to the military part of this equation, this adventurism of Xi. In order to give the revitalized China its place in the sun which it deserves, he is going to take some great risks which could precipitate a world war. No one can see this taking place with less than a catastrophic war.

Steven W. Mosher:

It certainly would be. And of course, the German general staff was the first general staff ever organized, I believe, and performed very well in the First World War and the Second World War. I do not think the Chinese General Staff [would match that performance]. The People’s Liberation Army is divided into the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and they have been very slow to start because of territoriality within the [armed forces], rivalry between the services. They have been very, very slow to start joint exercises, so they would not collaborate very well together in the event of a conflict. But it is true that China has territorial claims at all points of the compass.

I mean, you talk about Japan. Japan is worried about China’s territorial claims, not necessarily because of the Senkaku islands but because China now says that because the Daimyo, the ruler of Okinawa in 1772, sent tribute to the Qing Emperor, the ruler of the time of China, that the Ryukyu islands, Okinawa and the islands stretching south to Taiwan, really belong to China. That is a territorial claim that could be seriously resurrected at any point in time. The claim to Taiwan, for example, the claim to the offshore shoals of the Philippines which clearly lay within the Philippines 200 mile wide exclusive economic zone, the violation of the claims to the Spratly and Paracels by a half a dozen other nations surrounding the South China Sea, an extraordinary territorial claim equivalent to the United States suddenly claiming that all of the Caribbean belongs to the United States historically because of a map that someone had created.

And then you have got territorial claims to the west, to the south, to India, to Kyrgyzstan. You have got a territorial claim actually to Russia, which is currently being muted a bit, but there is talk of how the Russian ambassador after the 1898 Boxer Rebellion when the Eight Nation Alliance invaded China and captured the capital city of Beijing, the Russian ambassador (it is said by the Chinese Communist Party) tricked the Qing Dynasty into signing an agreement on borders that ceded 250,000 square miles north of the Amur River, including the city of Vladivostok, which has a Chinese name, by the way, 海参崴 Hǎishēnwǎi, to Russia. And might they one day demand that back? Might they one day demand the territory in Central Asia that was taken from them by the Russians a couple centuries ago?

I mean, time has no limits for these territorial claims by the Chinese Communist Party. But I would say this: saying that China is a non-status power is in my view somewhat understating the case. China is a power that fundamentally wants to transform the current world order into one centered on China. It does not merely want to nibble away at the margins. It is unwilling to reach any sort of long-term modus vivendi between our two separate spheres of control, so the idea that we can somehow cede power to China [is unrealistic].

Some people have proposed that we simply let Taiwan go. That would only whet the appetites of the Chinese Communist Party, which longs for world domination, and has for a long time. In 1958, Chairman Mao set up an earth control committee – an ‘earth control committee’ – leading into the Great Leap Forward, which of course was a disaster. We have talked about that, but he was already thinking less than 10 years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China of dominating wider parts of the world and eventually the entire world, and I guarantee you that Xi Jinping still dreams that dream today.

The plan, of course, is world domination, world hegemony, by the year 2049 and Asian hegemony by the year 2035. And if you had asked me ten years ago, eight years ago under Obama, if China would possibly be able to realize this plan, I would not be certain of my answer because they did seem on track in 2014, 2015 to overtake the United States, at least in terms of the gross size of the economy, by the late 2020s. That will not happen in large part because of President Donald Trump and his tariffs, and his policy of encouraging closer relationships with our allies in the Asia-Pacific, and the encouragement that he gave to companies to relocate their supply chains back to America and to democratic countries that respected and practiced our values and had similar institutions, like Japan, and Taiwan, and India.

Robert R. Reilly:

I am afraid that we have run out of time, and I would like to thank you for appearing on the program today. And as I did in making the introductions, I encourage you to go to the Westminster Institute website and see the other programs that we have done with Steve Mosher, and of course you are welcome to watch other programs on a variety of topics, the real causes of inflation, the Ukraine Russia conflict, etc. Thank you again, Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute and most recently the author of The Devil and Communist China from Mao Down to Xi. Thanks for joining us today. I am Robert Reilly.

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