China’s Night of the Long Knives

by John Mills at

Totalitarian leaders need two things to survive.  Unquestioned support of their “inner circle” and a pretense for action, i.e. an incident, real or made up.  The decisive point in time for the rise of totalitarianism in Germany in the 1930s were the decisive events of German leader of June 30 to July 2, 1934, normally referred to as “The Night of the Long Knives”.  In a swift action, the ascending German Leader took action against the SA, the Sturm Abeilung, or the Brown Shirts.  The leader of the National Socialists could not have gotten to this point without the Brown Shirts, the rough, violent, undisciplined element vital to his rise.  Yet he was on shaky ground and for years been developing the Black Shirts as his even more inner circle.  In several days of violence, the German leader used his Black Shirts to round up, execute, and eliminate the Brown Shirts citing their “crimes”.  It was classic, thuggish, treacherous, no boundaries, totalitarianism.  Mr. Hitler couldn’t live without the Brown Shirts until he needed them no more and dispensed with them like a used plastic utensil via the Black Shirts.

Mr. Xi is showing similar traits in his consolidation of power within the Chinese Communist Party.  He took power in 2012 but really didn’t begin his slow motion Night of the Long Knives until the unprecedented Party Congress in October 2022 where Xi had his predecessor unceremoniously and infamously marched out of the room.  A tactic the German Leader never performed, but something Mr. Hussein (an admirer of the German leader) of Iraq did routinely and would have been proud of.  This Party Congress marked the unprecedented third term election of Mr. Xi, from this point on, it was game on, as Xi created an accelerated wave of purges that resulted in the large-scale purge of late December 2023 where Xi proffered an unequivocal teaching point and life lesson to anyone that might consider opposing him for leadership of the CCP.  This was Xi’s “Night of the Long Knives”.