Democide is a term that is used to refer to the murder of an individual or a group of people through direct actions that were taken by their government. This can include acts of mass murder, genocide, or politically motivated assassinations. This term has been revived by R.J. Rummel, who is a political scientist, because there were actions being taken by governments that the term “genocide” just didn’t cover.
Facts About Democide
1. 49% of the democide deaths in Soviet Russia between 1917-1987 were caused due to the conditions of camps people were forced into. Just 5% of people were killed because of deportation.
2. Between 1900-1987, 46.6% of the deaths that have occurred in China can be attributed to democide. In comparison, 42.6% of the deaths in the time period are attributed to famine.
3. Ten different government regimes between 1900-1987 murdered 1,000,000 people or more, but less than 10 million people.
4. Rwanda joined the 1 million murder democide club in just 4 months of being in power.
5. The total number of people killed by democide since 1900: 242 million.
6. If all these bodies were laid head to toe, with the average height being 5′, then they would circle the Earth 10 times.
7. Communist China is believed to be responsible for over 76 million deaths between 1949-1987, which is 15 million more than the USSR era in Russia.
8. Between 1948-1987, North Korea is believed to have murdered 1.66 million people.
9. The Allied Powers are also on the democide list. The United Kingdom is believed to be responsible for 816,000 democide deaths since 1900.
10. 5 different regimes are believed to have killed more than 10 million people. Two of those regimes are based in China.
11. China also has a place in the top megamurderer lists and the centi-kilomurder lists as well, which when all totaled together means China has been responsible for about 1 in 3 democide deaths in the last century.
12. A vast majority of the incidents of democide from non-Communist governments occurred duing the years before and during World War II.
13. Between 1900-1920, Mexico was responsible for 1.4 million democide deaths.
14. In 4 years, Cambodia became the #8 ranked democidal government, killing 2.035 million citizens.
15. Turkey, Russia, and China all make the list of top governments responsible for democide on at least 2 occasions.
16. The Top 5 government entities that have killed people through demoide are responsible for over 219 million deaths.
17. During the years before and during World War II, Japan was responsible for 5.9 million deaths.
18. Vietnam has been responsible for 1.67 million deaths by democide from 1945-1987.
19. In the broad category of colonialism, it is estimated that 50 million people were killed in total by their governments or an opposing government regime.
According to information provided by Rummel, democide is the leading cause of non-natural death in the 20th century. It doesn’t have to be a direct action of murder to qualify under Rummel’s terminology. The British actions in shipping away food supplies from India to create an artificial famine and the Holocaust would both be considered instances of democide.
What does this mean? In some ways, the statistics of democide aren’t necessarily credible. They are based on definitions of one individual and are ever changing. For example, the estimates of colonial democide were recently upgraded from 870,000 to 50 million in the 20th century. On the other hand, this information does help to track in staggering detail how many people are being killed by governments around the world.
What Can We Do To Stop Democide?
The most practical thing that we can each do is promote the importance of individual freedoms. When humans have rights that are associated with those freedoms, it begins to take the power and control away from the governments and put it into the hands of the people being governed. Instead of governments each fighting for power and causing wars that trap people into a bubble of potential democide, there is a common striving toward a greater good.
There will also be people who try to rule by fear and long for greater amounts of power. That will probably never change. If we as a people can band together and allow our differences to make us stronger instead of weaker, democide doesn’t have to occur. It’s been said that to destroy an enemy, one must be able to love them first. If we truly love someone, then how can we ever consider democide?