Communist Party Leaders and Dictators Cannot Escape Accountability for Their Crimes
(Minghui.org) The U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill (H.R.8491) on October 4, 2020, designating the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a transnational criminal organization. Once passed, the bill would provide a legal basis for the CCP to be prosecuted, punished and eradicated, along with the dark shadow of global communism to be completely cleared out.
For over 100 years since the establishment of the communist system, the Party has perpetrated slaughter, disease, famine, cultural destruction and genocide. According to “The Black Book of Communism” by Karel Bartosek, as many as 100 million people died as a result of communist revolution in the 20th century alone, including 20 million in the Soviet Union, 65 million in China, 1 million in Vietnam, 2 million in North Korea, 2 million in Cambodia, 1 million in Eastern Europe, 150,000 in Latin America, 1.7 million in Africa, and 1.5 million in Afghanistan. Scholars believe that the above figures are lower than the actual death toll.
For example, there are at least 80 million victims of communist ideology in China, while the death toll caused by the Great Famine in Ukraine in the former Soviet Union amounted to 30 million.
In 2015, former Baltic communist countries in Eastern Europe, including Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and others, appealed for the formation of an international tribunal to try the crimes of communism. Some scholars believe that it would be more difficult and complicated to prosecute communism than Nazism because under a communist system, many are both perpetrators and victims.
Other scholars believe that although the prosecution of the communist system is more of symbolic significance than one of actual impact, history shows us that once the iron curtain of a communist regime collapses, the top leaders of the Communist Party in a totalitarian system will still be held accountable for their crimes.
The Fate of Communist Leaders in East Germany
There was a joke circulating in East Germany (officially known as the German Democratic Republic, or GDR) before the fall of the Berlin Wall: Three prisoners were sharing why they were put in jail. Prisoner A said: “I was late for work, they charged me for destroying the country’s productivity and said that I was a societal pest;” Prisoner B said: “I came to work early, and they said I must be a spy sent by the West to steal important secrets;” Prisoner C said: “I always got to work on time, neither early nor late. They said that my watch must be made in West Germany and I therefore was not patriotic.”
The East German secret police agency “Stasi” had a staff of 91,000 and 173,000 non-staff informants before the regime collapsed. After the disintegration of East Germany, people learned that the Stasi files on tracking, monitoring, and interrogation, if stacked together, would measure 180 kilometers long. In addition, there were 40 million cards and hundreds of thousands of phone tapping records. The files involved 5 million people, nearly 1/3 of the total population.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Erich Honecker, leader of the East German Socialist Unity Party (Communist Party), escaped to the Soviet Union, but Gorbachev had no intention of taking him in. He was imprisoned by the German people upon returning to his home country. He was released on bail for late-stage cancer and died in Santiago, Chile six months later.
Honecker’s successor Egon Krenz, General Secretary of the East German Socialist Unity Party, was arrested by the presiding judge at the Berlin Federal Court on August 5, 1997. The 60-year-old communist party leader was accused of killing people who tried to escape from East Germany. He was later given six-and-a-half years in prison. His followers, former Politburo member and economist Günther Kleiber, 65, and former East Berlin First Secretary Günter Schabowski, 67, each received a three-year term.
Markus Wolf, former head of the foreign intelligence division of East Germany’s secret police, was listed as a wanted criminal on the run. Denied entry wherever he sought shelter, he returned to Germany and was arrested. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison in 1993 for treason, bribery and other crimes. The charges were later dropped, but he was convicted again in 1997 for unlawful detention, coercion, and bodily harm, and was given a suspended sentence of two years of imprisonment.
On August 17, 1962, two German border guards shot and killed 18-year-old Peter Fechter, a young man who tried to cross over the Berlin Wall. Fechter’s pelvic bone was crushed and he fell in a pool of his own blood. He struggled in pain for 50 minutes before he died. Thirty-five years later, two former border guards in their 50s were charged with manslaughter and sentenced to imprisonment on probation by the Berlin State Court. Fechter’s younger sister appeared in court to testify against the criminals, saying: “I came here today only for justice, not for hatred.”
Romanian Communist Leader Ceausescu and His Wife Were Executed
Nicolae Ceausescu, leader of the Romanian Communist Party, left behind a legacy of a crazed, cruel dictatorship. In 1980, he promulgated The Great Romanian Typewriter Decree to control typewriters as if they were murder weapons. He also had a dog called “Comrade Corbu,” which was given the rank of colonel. When he visited a hospital in Bucharest, “Colonel Corbu” was bitten by a cat. Ceausescu was so furious over the incident that he ordered the demolition of the hospital that treated 50,000 patients every year.
Ceausescu had a total of 62 palaces and villas, 22 hunting lodges across Romania, as well as 17 luxury private jets. He and his wife had thousands of management and security staff, and more than one hundred service personnel. During his 24 years in power, the first family’s food expenses were equivalent to 15 million yuan (or US $2.3 million). The living expenses of “Comrade Corbu” amounted to 3 million yuan (or US $460,000). Take the menu for “Colonel Corbu” on December 2, 1982 for example. It included: Two French croissants, one kilogram of Bersania meat rolls, one kilogram of milk, and LATZ dog biscuits for breakfast; four kilograms of beef vegetable soup (beef pieces, 500 grams of noodles or rice, carrots, celery, salt) for lunch; one kilogram of Bersania meat rolls, 500 grams of macaroni or vermicelli, and 500 grams of cheese and sweet pudding for dinner. The food and drink had to be tasted by a “specialist doctor” to confirm its safety before being fed to “Colonel Corbu.” All of this was happening when ordinary Romanian people had to wait in long queues on the street for a piece of bread.
A mass gathering of 100,000 people was held in the Central Square of Bucharest on December 21, 1989, at which Ceausescu was to make another one of his public speeches. However, to his great dismay, he did not hear the usual “Long live Ceausescu” from the people, but a thunderous “Down with Ceausescu!” The situation soon went out of control and his orders failed to take any effect; the army turned to support the people and Ceausescu fled with his wife and a few close followers. He and his wife were arrested the next day, and four days later on Christmas Day, a special military tribunal sentenced them to death. They were shot dead in an open space in front of the toilet block in a military barracks.
Former Communist Leaders in Czech Brought to Trial
Criminal proceedings were filed in 2019 against 97-year-old Miloš Jakeš, the last leader of the Czech Communist Party, 95-year-old Lubomír Štrougal, former prime minister of the Czechoslovak Republic, and 89-year-old Vratislav Vajnar, former head of the Interior Ministry.
Jan Leleko, Prosecutor General of the Prague Region Public Prosecutor's Office, said that the Communist Crime Investigation Bureau accused these men of abuse of power and causing deaths when they used military weapons on the Czech border. Jakeš served as leader of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1987 to 1989. On November 24, 1989, a week after the outbreak of the “Velvet Revolution” that changed history, Jakeš stepped down amidst waves of national protests. On November 29, the Czechoslovak communist regime collapsed.
According to documents provided by the police and data from the Communist Crime Investigation Bureau, 9 people were shot dead from March 1976 to the end of 1989 and no fewer than 7 people were attacked by border police dogs. In 1976, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights came into effect, which guarantees that every citizen has the freedom to leave any country, including his own.
Leleko said that these three people knew that incidents on the border of Czechoslovakia had gone so far that the border guards used military weapons on citizens who tried to leave the Czech Republic. “Nonetheless, they did nothing to prohibit the use of military weapons [on civilians].”
Former Hungarian Communist Party Leader Arrested for Suppressing Civilian Uprising
Former Hungarian Communist Party leader Béla Biszku was arrested towards the end of 2012, after being accused of suppressing the people’s uprising in 1956 by force. He is the only member of the Provisional Executive Committee of the Communist Party in 1956 who is still alive today. He was also the first Communist Party leader subjected to criminal investigation at that time.
On October 23, 1956, the Hungarian people staged an uprising against the rule of the Soviet Union. To suppress the uprising, Soviet tanks drove into Budapest. By November 4th, at least 3,000 Hungarian civilians had been killed and 200,000 fled to Western countries.
Béla Biszku served as minister of the Interior in the Hungarian puppet government controlled by the Soviet Union. During war time, he failed to protect civilians and ordered security forces to shoot and kill 51 people. If convicted, he could face life imprisonment. On May 14, 2014, the Budapest Court sentenced Biszku to 5 years and 6 months for war crimes and other offenses.
Bulgarian Communist Party Leader Todor Zhivkov Accused of Abuse of Power
Todor Zhivkov became head of the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1954. After the dramatic changes in Eastern Europe, he was relieved of his posts as General Secretary of the Central Committee, member of the Politburo and Chairman of the State Council in November 1989, and was expelled from the party in December of the same year. He was detained and interrogated in January 1990, and was sentenced to 7 years in prison in September 1992 by the Bulgarian Supreme Court for the crime of “abusing power to obtain benefits for himself and others.” He died of illness on August 5, 1998.
Poland’s Former Leader Wojciech Jaruzelski Tried for Suppression of the People
Wojciech Jaruzelski became the only general in Poland in 1973, and became leader of Poland in 1980. Later, he held top positions as the First Secretary of the Party Central Committee, Prime Minister, and Minister of Defense. When Poland undertook a dramatic change in 1989, Jaluzelski was also elected as President of Poland, but he had already lost real power by then. On September 12, 2008, Wojciech Yaruzelski, 85 years old, was tried by the court, mainly because he used the army to suppress the people when he was in power. He passed away in 2014.
Milošević of Yugoslavia Charged with War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
Milošević was elected secretary of the Belgrade City Committee of Yugoslavia in 1984 and began to purge anti-communists. In 1989, Milošević abolished Kosovo’s autonomy and declared war with Croatia in 1991 and Bosnia in 1992. In May 1999, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague brought charges against Milošević and four other Serbian high-level politicians with war crimes and issued arrest warrants. The charges included murder of Albanians in the Kosovo region and serious violations of international humanitarian law. He was the first sitting head of state in history to be charged with such crimes. His wife and his children were also charged with multiple crimes. Milosevic died in prison in April 2001.
Former Khmer Rouge Leaders Sentenced to Life Imprisonment
During the reign of the Khmer Rouge, 1.5 to 3 million Cambodian people died of unnatural causes across the country, about a quarter of Cambodia's total population at the time. Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge received strong support and assistance from the CCP and Mao Zedong himself. According to academic statistics, in 1975 alone, the CCP offered Khmer Rouge at least US$1 billion in the form of interest-free economic and military assistance and US$20 million as a “gift.”
After the Khmer Rouge gained real power in Cambodia in April 1975, it began to vigorously promote communism. During this period, Mao Zedong personally met with Pol Pot, and Zhang Chunqiao (one of the “Gang of Four” of Mao’s close followers) personally visited Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge regime copied the CCP’s “Great Leap Forward” and forced all the urban population to migrate to the countryside, where a huge number of people died from disease, overwork or malnutrition as a result. Pol Pot declared that he would “cleanse the civilians” and began mass killings and purges within the party. At the same time, he carried out a massacre in Baju in Vietnam.
Pol Pot died in 1998 and therefore could not stand trial. The UN-funded Special Cambodia Tribunal sentenced Khmer Rouge’s notorious Tuol Sleng Prison chief Kaing Guek Eav (better known as “Comrade Duch”) to life in prison in 2006. In 2014, the special tribunal convicted Khmer Rouge’s chief ideologist Nong Chea for crimes against humanity, alongside Khieu Samphan, former head of the state presidium of Democratic Kampuchea. In 2018, 92-year-old Chea and 87-year-old Khieu Samphan were convicted of genocide and imprisoned for life.
Dr. Yang Jianli, founder of human rights organization Citizen Power, said although such a trial was a bit late, it was still very necessary. This is because red terrorist regimes built on the basis of communism still continue to exist in the world, including in China, North Korea, Cuba, and Vietnam. The trial in Cambodia tells everyone that any ruler’s brutality will eventually be judged by history.
Dictator Saddam Hussein Sentenced to Death by Hanging
When Saddam Hussein was in power, an estimate of 2 million Iraqis were killed and 4 million fled the country. The Iraqi overseas human rights organization, Iraq Foundation, pointed out that Iraq was turned into a Nazi-style police state after Saddam and his Baathist accomplices came to power after a coup in July 1968. Forty-two years later, on November 5, 2006, after the US-Iraq War, the Iraqi Special Tribunal sentenced Saddam to death by hanging.
The Demise of Dictator Gaddafi
Former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi always had a sentence on the tip of his tongue: “It’s not me who is in power, but the people.” He put forward the “third theory in the world” in May 1973, and wrote three “Green Papers,” which were made as “must read” for the Libyan people from childhood. During the 42 years of Gaddafi's administration, between 4,000 and 5,000 people disappeared in Libya. On one occasion, machine guns were fired for two hours in a prison to slaughter political dissidents. On October 20, 2011, the Libyan interim government announced that the country’s former leader Gaddafi had been killed in an attack in his hometown Sirte by the armed forces of the interim government.
Former Egyptian President Mubarak Was Sentenced to Life
Hosni Mubarak, former Egyptian president, was addressed by the CCP as an “old friend of the Chinese people.” He was ousted by the Egyptian people in 2011. In June 2012, the Cairo Criminal Court found him guilty of ordering the suppression of demonstrators, which led to hundreds of deaths. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, and died in Cairo on February 25, 2020.
Former CCP Leader Jiang Zemin Facing About 200,000 Criminal Complaints Against Him
In 1999, Jiang Zemin and the CCP launched a brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, resulting in hundreds of millions of people being unlawfully suppressed. More than 100,000 people were put in prisons or forced labor camps where they were subjected to torture, and even to live organ harvesting for huge profit in transplantation surgeries, the victims’ bodies burned to destroy evidence. The state-sanctioned organ harvesting scheme has been described by Canadian human rights attorney David Matas as a “form of evil yet to be seen on this planet.”
Judge Octavio Araoz de Lamadrid of the Argentina Federal Court No. 9 made a historic decision on December 17, 2009, issuing international arrest warrants for former CCP leader Jiang Zemin and Luo Gan, former head of the 610 Office, for their role in the persecution of Falun Gong. Earlier, the Spanish National Court had also, in an unprecedented move, prosecuted China’s former head of state Jiang Zemin and other five senior CCP officials for persecuting Falun Gong and their related involvement in torture and massacre.
In 2015, at least 200,000 people in China filed criminal complaints with the Supreme Procuratorate, Supreme Court, Ministry of Public Security and other central departments, using their real names, against Jiang Zemin, demanding that the authorities punish Jiang in accordance with the law for crimes against humanity committed in the persecution of Falun Gong.
On July 20, 2017, the World Organization to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (WOIPFG) announced at an anti-persecution rally in Washington DC that it had completed the preparation of evidence for the trial of the CCP.
WOIPFG stated: “According to the massive evidences obtained from WOIPFG's systematic investigations over the past 10 years, it is confirmed that since 1999, the CCP criminal group headed by the former CCP leader Jiang Zemin has manipulated the entire state apparatus, including the party, the government, the military, the armed police, the judicial system and medical institutions to systematically persecute Falun Gong practitioners. In particular, they carried out genocide of Falun Gong practitioners across China by way of criminal organ transplantation. This is a state-sanctioned crime against humanity under the order of Jiang Zemin and led by the CCP.”
As of June 29, 2020, a total of 26,117 responsible units and 88,483 individuals were reported, among them 11,682 were from the 610 Office system, and 15,709 in the Political and Legal Committee system; 9,519 doctors are suspected of participating in live organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners, with 891 hospitals involved.
On June 17, 2019, an independent people's tribunal, the China Tribunal, delivered a final judgment in London, concluding that the CCP regime has conducted large-scale live organ harvesting against a group of people, mainly Falun Gong practitioners, and was guilty beyond any doubt of crimes against humanity and torture. The tribunal found that the government under the CCP is a criminal regime.
Throughout the ages, good and evil have been duly rewarded or met with retribution. Those working within the CCP system who still regard the persecution of Falun Gong as their "job" should immediately stop at the edge of the precipice, recognize the evil nature of the CCP, be clear-headed about the coming demise of the CCP, and find a way out at this most critical moment in history.