German writer Christoph Rehage has become the CCP’s public enemy No. 1 after uploading a YouTube video in December, in which he likened former Chinese leader Mao Zedong to Hitler. A Communist Youth League website has since published three articles calling for Rehage’s punishment under Chinese law.
In response to popular actor Wang Baoqiang’s simpering celebration of the deceased leader’s birthday, Rehage was compelled to spill the tea, helpfully reminding everyone that tens of millions of Chinese died under Mao’s policies. Of course, this viewpoint is in opposition to the Communist Party, who claim to this day that Mao was mostly a force for good, or at least 70/30.
In retaliation, the Communist Youth Net website accused Rehage of “blaspheming,” ominously suggesting that he should be “shown the bright sword.” One of the articles quoted deputy director Zhu Lei, of China University’s Communications Law Centre, who reproached Rehage for violating Lu Wei’s Seven Bottom Lines:
If he compares Mao Zedong to Hitler, putting aside legal issues, I think he has violated the ‘social order’ or ‘moral standards’ of the Seven Bottom Lines… We have to look at his intention. If he meant the video just to be a commentary on something, without its being disseminated in China, then it has nothing to do with Chinese law. But if he made the video in order to have it disseminated on websites in China, or to have other people repost it in China, then he comes under Chinese law.
President Xi has said that, although the Internet is virtual, there is sovereignty. Internet sovereignty means that you can do things within your network as long as you don’t harm me. But if you enter our network, you must obey Chinese law…
In China, the 100 renminbi notes carry Mao’s portrait. There is a big portrait of Mao in Tiananmen. We have Mao Zedong Thought in textbooks from primary school on. He embodies the fundamental concepts or moral values of a considerable number of Chinese people.
This isn’t the first time Rehage has been the target of CCP hatred — after joking last July that historical figures Lei Feng and Mulan would have made a great baby together, Rehage was harassed off of Weibo by propaganda warriors. However, on the Party’s latest campaigns against him, Rehage is standing his ground:
A lot of the points they made are just really ridiculous. I was bewildered by the fact that they would first shut me out of their Internet… and then say, ‘What you say on the Internet is illegal! Our law governs what you said there.’ They always say people aren’t allowed to interfere in their internal affairs, but this is interfering in internal German affairs.
Not terribly deterred by the naysayers, Rehage posted another YouTube video in Mandarin, challenging all of his critics to confront him in Germany.
And on the matter of Mao, Rehage stands by his words: “Hitler was crazier. Any historical comparison is always going to be flawed,” Rehage defended. “It’s going to be generalized, to make a point.”
After studying Chinese and cinematography in Beijing, Rehage now resides in Hamburg. He plans to allow for a cooling-off period before re-applying for a visa. While admitting to being “a little concerned by the people who have been calling for my murder,” Rehage nonetheless has no plans to cease his commentary, with an entertainment book about China in the works.
By Pinky Latt