Imagine if, in 2013, government buildings across Australia and New Zealand were decorated with swastika flags to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the founding of Nazi Germany. Yet, a precisely analogous festival of supine arse-kissing for a murderous dictatorship has been unfolding all week.

It matters not that Nazi Germany was blessedly defeated in 1945, or that Communist China is supposedly “reformed”. As Robert Harris’s novel, Fatherland, argues, a victorious Nazi state, its Final Solution finalised, would surely have looked little different than China today. An outwardly peaceful, prosperous “harmonious society”, founded in ongoing brutal repression of dissidents.

Not everyone is so besotted with this tyrants’ birthday party. Members of Melbourne’s Vietnamese community rallied to protest official celebrations of communist China. Eyebrows are being raised about flying the Chinese flag on state government buildings.

In Canada, too, not everyone is happy.

Two city-hall ceremonies to mark the founding of Communist China this weekend were cancelled at the last minute, as controversy continued over how the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic was to be celebrated in Canada — if at all.

The flag-raising events planned for Richmond Hill and Vaughan, both suburban municipalities north of Toronto with large Chinese-Canadian populations, were called off amid angry complaints from groups supporting protesters in Hong Kong.

A third in nearby Markham, Ont., went ahead on Saturday, with speeches from Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Chinese consul general Han Tao.

As with everything officially China, the dead hand of Beijing is not hard to find.

All three were organized by a group whose leader has in the past echoed a key demand of the Chinese government, calling for the speedy release of Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive arrested at the request of U.S. prosecutors.

The dead hand of the left, too.

Meanwhile, Chinese-language media coverage revealed that a second Liberal cabinet member — Mary Ng — spoke at a 70th-anniversary dinner last week. Harjit Sajjan, defence minister, appeared at a celebration in Vancouver, though said he did so as a candidate and didn’t stay long.

One of the mealy-mouthed excuses trotted out by officials has been that Chinese diaspora communities are apparently just dying to celebrate the regime they fled from.

The China events have been particularly contentious this year in the face of Canada’s bitter diplomatic feud with Beijing, the mass protests in Hong Kong and growing concern about human-rights abuses in China.

Two Canadians have been imprisoned by Chinese authorities on ill-defined espionage charges in what is widely considered a tit-for-tat response to Meng’s arrest.

“While our Canadian citizens have been bullied, while our country has been bullied by this totalitarian regime, why should we still continue with this kind of celebratory event?” asked Gloria Fung, head of the group Canada-Hong Kong Link…

The flurry of commemorations did not sit well with those troubled by Beijing’s increasing grip on Hong Kong, prompting many to email the cities’ mayors in protest, said a spokesman for the group Torontonians Stand with Hong Kong.

“A lot of Hong Kong Canadians, when they found out there were three of them, people got furious,” said the spokesman, who asked only to be quoted by his first name, John, because of safety concerns related to his advocacy. “At a time like this, where two Canadians have been detained and our relationship with China is at a very low point, is it really necessary to have all these celebrations?”

So long as school curriculua ignore the crimes of communism for a simplistic, “Nazis are bad, mmmkay?” narrative, and so long as civil authorities crawl subserviently to a cashed-up Chinese Communist regime, too many people in the West will be unable to learn from the lessons of history. The ghosts of the past go unheard and ignorant children will think that socialism will work this time.


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