Pu Zhiqiang, a Chinese lawyer, writes in The New York Times that today’s Communist China has too many similarities to yesterday’s Imperial Japan.
"This comparison haunts me," Pu says. "When I think of the forced labor in Japanese prison camps, I am reminded of forced labor camps in China, and also of the Chinese miners who lose their lives when forced to re-enter mines that everyone knows are unsafe. Are the rights of China’s poor today really so much better protected than those of the wretched ‘colonized slaves’ during the Japanese occupation? There was the Nanking massacre, but was not the murder of unarmed citizens in Beijing 16 years ago also a massacre? Is Japan’s clumsy effort to cover up history in its textbooks any worse than the gaping omissions and biased blather in Chinese textbooks?
"China’s textbooks omit the story of how the Great Leap Forward of the late 1950s was actually the disastrous failure of a harebrained economic scheme by Mao that led to the starvation of 20 million to 50 million rural Chinese. No one really knows the numbers. Nor do we know how many were killed in the campaigns to suppress ‘counterrevolutionaries’ during the 1950s, in the Cultural Revolution during the 1960s, or even in the Beijing massacre of 1989. Yet we hold Japan firmly responsible for 300,000 deaths at Nanking. Does our confidence with numbers depend on who did the killing?"
Pu apparently practices law in Beijing and Hong Kong. If he is allowed to continue speaking his mind, all of China would benefit. It would be a sign of overdue democratic progress.