Erika Johnsen

In practice, communism is not and has never been about the cause of 'equality and brotherhood through redistribution and central planning,' or whatever it is that its misty-eyed proponents are getting at. Communism, just like feudalism and fascism, is about keeping the few in power over the masses. That's really it. If all of these Occupy Protesters want to see a little 1%-action, they should take a trip to China, and see how the CPC lords it over their billion peasants living in degradation, poverty, misery, and oppression.

Not only does China have a perfidiously politicized economy, but they spew out pollution like there's no tomorrow. So this report from the NYT is just more gravy on top of the myth that once was communism:

As it turns out, the homes and offices of many top leaders are filtered by high-end devices, at least according to a Chinese company, the Broad Group, which has been promoting its air-purifying machines in advertisements that highlight their ubiquity in places where many officials work and live.

The company’s vice president, Zhang Zhong, said there were more than 200 purifiers scattered throughout Great Hall of the People, the office of China’s president, Hu Jintao, and Zhongnanhai, the walled compound for senior leaders and their families. “Creating clean, healthy air for our national leaders is a blessing to the people,” boasts the company’s promotional material, which includes endorsements from a variety of government and corporate leaders, among them Long Yongtu, a top economic official who insists on bringing the device along for car rides and hotel stays. “Breathing clean air is a basic human need,” he says in a testimonial.

In some countries, the gushing endorsement of a well-placed official would be considered a public relations coup. But in China, where resentment of the high and mighty is on the rise, news of the company’s advertising campaign is stirring a maelstrom of criticism. “They don’t have to eat gutter oil or drink poisoned milk powder and now they’re protected from filthy air,” said one posting on Sina Weibo, the country’s most popular microblog service. “This shows their indifference to the lives of ordinary people.”

News that Chinese leaders are largely insulated from Beijing’s famously foul air comes at a time of unusually heavy pollution in the capital. In recent weeks, the capital has been continuously shrouded by a beige pall and readings from the United States Embassy’s rooftop air monitoring device have repeatedly registered unsafe levels of particulate matter.

Despicable. As with pretty much everything else, we can't know the real extent of air pollution is China, because the CPC lies about it. Their epic struggle to portray a country of bright, shining cities full of happy, well-fed, productive people is nothing but a farce, and one fine day it will all come crashing down around them.

President Obama is uber fond of telling us that China is busily engaged in winning the future and that our own federal government should be subsidizing certain industries so that we can be more like them. But as Jonah Goldberg ponders over at NRO, why the heck would we ever want to be more like China?

Up to 40 million Chinese people still live in caves. That’s more than the populations of Texas and Illinois combined. In fairness, a fraction of these caves are apparently pretty nice, complete with electricity and well-compacted dirt floors. But that’s grading on a curve because, well, they’re still caves.

Meanwhile, 21 million Chinese live below what the Communist party calls the “absolute poverty” line. That sounds pretty good if you have in mind our poverty line, which is just under $11,000 per year for an individual and roughly $22,000 for a family of four. The absolute poverty rate in China is $90 a year, or $7.50 per month. And 35 million live on less than $125 per year. Hundreds of millions of Chinese live on $1 or $2 a day.

Michael Levy, who recently wrote a book on his stint as a Peace Corps worker in rural China (yes, China still asks for Peace Corps help), put it well in an interview with NPR: “Imagine that there’s a country exactly like the United States. Exactly the same size. It’s got the same cities. It’s got the same number of rich people and poor people. It’s just like us. And now add 1 billion peasants. That’s China.”


Erika Johnsen

Erika Johnsen is a Web Editor for Townhall.com and Townhall Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @erikajohnsen.