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Today — July 1 — the Chinese Communist Party (or "CCP") celebrated the 100th anniversary of the party's founding.
Church Militant's David Nussman lays out some of the history of how communists took over.
Our Lady appeared on multiple occasions to shepherd children in the town of Fatima, Portugal in 1917. She called for prayer and penance — and for the Church to officially consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. In one of her messages, the Blessed Mother warned, "If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, then Russia will spread her errors throughout the world."
Fr. James Altman: "Unfortunately, these errors of Russia, when people think of them, they tend to consider them only in terms of economics. ... Worse are the spiritual errors."
She delivered this message during the First World War, on July 13 of 1917. This was also a time of great instability in Russia. Just months after Mary's warning was the so-called October Revolution — a violent uprising that led, within six years, to the forming of the Soviet Union.
Altman: "Communist societies, because of their philosophy, their spiritual errors, just treat people like disposable cogs in a machine — not as a beloved child of God."
Vladimir Lenin was the founding head of this new regime. He died in 1924, and his successor was Joseph Stalin. In the first few decades of the Soviet Union, 18 million people were sent into gulags — a Russian nickname for a sprawling network of prison camps. Around 1.5 million people died in the gulags.
Inspired by events in Russia, the Chinese Communist Party was founded in 1921, a hundred years ago this month. Civil war broke out in 1927 between communist and nationalist forces — the latter supporting a more republican form of government. Communist leader Mao Zedong got backing from the Soviet regime in Russia, as warfare continued on and off for decades.
In 1930, a paranoid Mao began turning on fellow communists, executing thousands of party members dubiously accused of betraying the party. He would do this to countless more over the course of his life.
The Chinese civil war resumed at the end of World War II. Communists won a series of major victories, and, on Oct. 1, 1949, Mao Zedong officially declared the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Though the civil war was over, it was only the beginning of bloodshed for China's civilians.