When Mao Zedong died in 1976, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) mutated from a totalitarian regime into a limited dictatorship under the rule, consecutively, of Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao. Deng foreswore the cult of personality. All three leaders resolved never to return to the days when any man could hold as much power as Mao. Slogans of “spiritual civilization” and “peaceful rise,” and promises of order with harmony, displaced the blood-soaked language of old.

Much has changed under President Xi Jinping. Not since Mao has the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) been as internally repressive and internationally belligerent as it is today. It has never been as wealthy and technologically capable of controlling its people. Forbidding rival sources of allegiance, the CCP locks up clerics and razes churches, temples, and mosques. Demanding total submission, it considers forced sterilization and mass internment to be acceptable methods of pacification. Even the compliant majority of China’s population finds its communications monitored, movements mapped, behaviors graded and recorded. That, of course, induces extreme caution—and further compliance.

Millions rallied in Hong Kong during the summer and fall of 2019 against Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor—a CCP client. Hongkongers fought to preserve their cultural and

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