Below is my reply to a comment on a facebook thread that claimed that the anti-Chinese propaganda today is much like the Cold War hype against the Soviet Union. In other words, pure invention and not to be believed:
Some of the anti-Soviet rhetoric wasn’t BS, but our ideological blinders and political commitments didn’t allow us (in the Communist Party) to make a distinction between Cold War hype and the democratic distortions and crimes of the Soviet Union. And not just in the Stalin period.
We acted as if (and said that) the Soviet state was free of authoritarian practices and constituted a new type of democracy in which workers ruled. In effect, we mistook proclamation and form for essence and practice. Or to put it differently, we assumed that the formal and proclaimed relations of democracy and democratic governance were a more or less exact representation of the real, actual relations. How naive (or opportunistic) we were.
One would hope that the communist movement have learned from this experience, which reflected negatively on it then. But the uncritical embrace of current Chinese political practices and rhetoric makes me wonder if the thinking of some has shifted at all.