OPINION: China Similar to Nazi Germany

It is often stated that history repeats itself, that the unavoidable components of human nature compel our species to act out similar overarching stories, almost moving circularly in time. This is certainly the case when comparing the socialist regimes of 1930’s Germany and modern China. The similarities in the use of concentration camps, hyper-aggressive foreign policy, and censorship of media are uncanny. The People’s Republic of China continues to tyrannize its people to this day, showing itself to be the modern day equivalent to Nazi Germany. 

First, China’s extensive use of concentration camps is too similar to those of Hitler’s death camps to be ignored. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute reports at least 28 camps used for the purposes of imprisonment, punishment, and indoctrination in the Xinjiang territory of northwest China. In Nazi Germany, Hitler used concentration camps for the purposes of population control and labor, primarily. Both situations have ethnicity-based imprisonment. In China’s case, the Uyghur Muslims are subjected to these prison camps, likely due to their putting religion before the state, and being a group strong enough to resist the government, not unlike the Nazi’s criticisms of Jews.

Nazi Germany’s equivalent was, of course, the Jewish religion. Both populations also have been, and in the Uyghur Muslim’s case still are, subject to genocide. In 1930’s Germany, Jewish people were systematically killed en masse through an ensemble of terrifying and industrial implements of death. In China, Uyghurs are subject to forced abortions, sterilizations, and many other methods of birth control (Associated Press). China is systematically eradicating an ethnic group while imprisoning them based on their religion and ethnicity, exactly what Hitler did.

The foreign policy of each regime also is very similar. The slow overstepping of agreements and disputable claims of ownership characteristic of Nazi Germany are frequently used by China. China’s most notable claims include those assertions over the South China Sea, the India-China border dispute, and not recognizing Taiwan. These are certainly not the limit to the country’s literal overstepping of boundaries, however, with China accumulating border conflicts with 17 other countries, according to The Print.  Most of these claims are based on agreements which vary in age from the tens to hundreds of years, and China claiming either the disobedience of these agreements or the illegitimacy of them, depending on what is beneficial to them. 

When compared to Nazi Germany, however, the People’s Republic of China not only rivals, but arguably exceeds in the area of hyper-aggressive foreign policy. In the case of Hitler’s Germany, claims to territory were made as far as the Middle East in countries like Turkey and Azerbaijan, on the basis of racial occupation. The National Socialists believed the Aryan people to be distinctly German, thus wherever Aryans lived was rightfully German. However, these assertions were primarily in Europe, the most prominent being those of Poland and Czechoslovakia. Both regimes coerce the extension of their territorial borders through the delegitimization of agreements and claims to territory.

Finally, the censorship of media toward the citizens of both regimes is almost out of the same playbook. In 1930’s Germany, media was censored for the expressed purpose of exterminating art deemed “degenerate”.  Led by Joseph Goebbels, the National Socialists of the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda believed the art current to their time to be “degenerate”. They saw it as elitist and devoid of true meaning, or as morally wrong.

Hitler and the Nazis organized several “book burnings”, in which written works deemed degenerate were publicly burned so as to cleanse the Germans from Jewish and degenerate writings, and to squander any opposition by preventing the spread of information. In the socialist Chinese regime of the modern day, censorship is used still, and for similar purposes. Censorship methods have evolved with modern technology, so now even text messages are censored to prevent any form of opposition against the government.

Now is the time to recognize the severity of malevolence, not against the National Socialists of ninety years ago who have long been recognized as some of the worst in authoritarianism, but against the modern day equivalents, the socialist government of modern day China. In dealing with China, America should be very aware, and very careful of what the PRC does, or we will learn the lessons of the second world war again, only this time it will be even more costly. Modern China is the equivalent of Nazi Germany, and it we do not treat them as such, history will repeat itself.