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a kinder, gentler tyranny

By Diogenes (bio - articles ) | Nov 06, 2003

We've had occasion before to point to the small but instructive idiosyncrasies of the Red Chinese People's Daily. Today's issue has a little "Today in History" sidebar on the front page, where the South Bend Tribune or the Orlando Sentinel might record the birth of the American League or the first production Oldsmobile, for example. Here are the two items in the current issue of PD:

*The 66-day-long Huaihai Campaign unveiled, which annihilated 550 thousand KMT troops (1948)
*Russian composer Tchaikovsky passed away (1893)

Mass murderer Joseph Stalin is credited with the remark, "One death is a tragedy; a million deaths are a statistic." Notice how this unsurpassably cynical perspective plays out in PD: Tchaikovsky is said to have "passed away," while half a million Kuomintang (anti-Communist) soldiers are described as annihilated -- that's a boast, not a lament -- in just over two months.

The PD is supposed to present the sunny, good-natured, likeable face of the People's Republic. The alacrity with which fellow countrymen are turned into "a statistic" shows that Stalin -- albeit a smiling Stalin -- lives on.

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