Chinese Government Confiscates Bibles

Originally Posted by Rigmarole
[i][QUOTE]Originally Posted by sun
[i]Really, if major social problems are solved, China will became even stronger, that’s what US want? US is giving millions of dollars to the “Democratic activists” in China, hoping to change China’s centralism, but if China really change, these “Democratic activists” will lose job. Did they really want to change the country or they just want asking US for money?

Most of the media don’t care about the reality in China, they just kept on saying how bad China is, and how miseriable Chinese’s life are, makingpeople in the other world feel content. [/i]

I haven’t got anything to do with the U.S. But since you’re asking, yes, I’d like a China without social problems, with human rights and with greater communication with the rest of the world. I mean, who wouldn’t like more Chinese poems?[/i][/QUOTE]

Seconded. (Though try telling that to the current writers of our foreign policy, which, currently consists of either blockading, shoot first then asking questions later, or throwing money at the problem till they seem like they’re trying to solve the problem.) Would also enjoy a cleaner China since California ('cept for LA) won’t shut up about smelling you guys from way over there.

It’s also regrettable that our news channels spend too much time trying to emulate talkshows these days. They really shouldn’t have more than an hour (nevermind whole channels) of air time to make their point.

I forgot about this one.

Thats not what every law does, and thats not what governments about. Governments are around so that mass amounts of people can communicate without all talking at once or an entire country having to gather somewhere to decide something (hence, the idea of representitives). Laws are designed for peoples safety. The institution of Communism, as exemplified by the Soviet Union, uses it’s law to keep the public ‘down’ and docile. Logical though it may be, it is in clear opposition to liberty and freedom ( I feel like I should be waving a flag…).

Cmon Arac, you’re smarter than this.

Well, I do believe all laws really are to keep people “down and docile,” it’s just that some have more reasonable excuses behind them than others. Laws forbidding murder don’t really keep people safe from murder. They give an illusion of people being safe from other regular people murdering them, and give the family of the murdered an easy vengeance against the murderer, at best. At worst, they make people less safe from murders provided the murderer is a member of a certain social group. In conception and practice, laws are just a rather polite, almost consentual form of terrorism designed to keep certain people in power over others. In the Soviet Union, laws were executed in such a way that they were clearly keeping the people down, but the propaganda surrounding them was such that people believed it was justified, and actually supported it (Patriot Act ring any bells?); Nabokov bitterly mentions the brilliance of the soviet dictatorship in not only turning public sympathies against rebels, but also turning the rebels’ own sympathies against themselves, so that they even sometimes believed they had simply gotten what was coming to them when carted off to cruel gulags.

However, my generally flippant tone probably indicates that I think that makes what China is doing okay, which isn’t true. I’m cynical enough about government that I believe this sort of thing, which is terrible, is to be expected with their existance. This is more blatant, and arguably worse, than most contemporary governments when it comes to religious freedom. I think my hostile tone originated in the feeling that it was sort of picking on China rather than having a discussion on all the places and ways religious freedom in the modern world is attacked. Which is sort of irrational, now that I consider it, since it was just discussing a news article. I think it just seemed weird to me to single out one country for doing a bad thing that so many of them do.

About that “falun gong” thing.
I already saw someone I knew (Yes, not from the media.) who got cancer but refuse to go to the hospital. Because the falun gong followers tells her ( OK, she is a mid-age lady) that the medicine and surgery won’t work, give money to them, they will teach you falun gong and you will be saved. I saw her dead, and I completely support the goverment to take them out.
And I saw a old lady who practice falun gong is arrested, she kept on saying “the world wil be destroyed, believe master Lee and you will be saved!” The local communist committee send several psychologists to help her.
Then falun gong followers went to US, and they become “Freedom Fighters”… Just like those terrorists trained by Bin Laden to attack China, the US army got them in Afghanistan, but released them last year, and declared them, yes, “Freedom Fighters” again. I remember Bin Laden was once a “Freedom Fighter” when he’s against Russa, right?

Yes, I know most people in the west will say they want a with human rights and democracy and so on. They are good people. The problem is that most of them too like to see the complex problem of the world like a simple tyranny-opression and rebelling “Freedom Fighters” problem. They and their goverment spent billions for this, but none of the world problem is solved, none of the poor country adopped a US style human rights and democracy goverment become rich(really, I haven’t find any example yet). While at the same time, money are used for war and “Democratic activists”, it become a huge macket, with millions of media reporters, politicians, and other liars involved in. Cheating on you guys and make the world worse.

I agree China should be more open, blocking the net is silly. I agree the communist committee is stupid sometimes, and the Chinese goverment is full of shameless retarded politicians.
But I’ll still support Communism Party, and most of their policy.
There’s no better one than them now. They know society stable no matter what is the most important, then they try to find the same interests with others and do it quick.
They also know what is said in the Communism theory, “the most competitive society is the most productive society, productivity determine the social system, the social system most suit the increase of the productivity win.” That’s much better than human rights and democracy win idea. Human rights is good, but it still no compare to raising the living standard, most people’s happy life and having a fast ecnomic growth.

Using your homicide example, the law against such action enforces the consequences which are a deturrent to the act being performed. In Georgia, Driving Under the Influence was recently turned into a felony. Clearly, this is an attempt to make the consequence a deturrent from the action.

This is absurd, theres a difference between laws and rules of government. The rules of government (using the US as an example again) are outlined in our Constitution. They are “laws” but there is no police force to enforce them because they aren’t intended to govern the people as a whole, but to govern those who have been elected to authority.

The clear topic of this thread is Liberty vs Persecution, all of the examples you cite support persecution; as Americans I think this is in clear violation to what we all believe and support. What Nabokov did can be compared to a rape victim thinking that they are at fault for what happened to them. Just because these women feel they are at fault for an action against them (which they aren’t), does that make the action against them any less wrong? If Nabokov convinced these rebels that they had it coming, does it make their cause any less just? This is neither here nor there.

Cynicism of government is a good thing; to always eat what is fed to you is an opportunity to be poisoned by your benefactors. China is a cul-de-sac in this regard as it forces people to take what is handed to them then poisons them anyway. Not that the people of China are poisoned, but this is further exemplified by the discrepency in the name of the country - The Peoples Republic of China is neither run by the people or a republic. The whole undertone of the thread was the hypocrisy of the Olympics being held in such a country, hence why I singled out China.

The government should ban all laws.

Given that America has some of the strictest consequences, but one of the highest rates of violent crime, my point is that the deterrants don’t really work. As I said, they give an illusion of safety.

Terrorism is defined as using fear, usually that of physical harm, to coerce another into following one’s own political beliefs. Laws, like you just said, work upon a system of deterrants, which have their basis, essentially, in fear.

The examples I cite are examples of how people are often tricked by rational-sounding proposals into supporting their own persecution. I may not have phrased that sentence the most clearly; Nabokov was a Russian writer who, living in America, looked back at the homeland he’d been forced to flee and noticed that the reason rebellions weren’t successful there was because the government got even the people involved to believe that what they had done was wrong, and immoral. The example was brought up to indicate that often, people aren’t really able to tell when a law is really more about keeping them down than protecting them. Or, in other words, Nabokov was merely observing the tragedy of how many rapists get away with their crime because of the mislaid belief of their victims.

Americans passed the Patriot Act in the name of increased safety, a law many later came to believe was persecuting them, taking away their freedom, et ceteras. This is because the propaganda behind it was ineffectual and wore thin rather quickly, thanks in part to a lack of charisma from its proponents and a lack of basic rationality behind it. Other laws, with more rational excuses, still exist to keep people down, if in no other way than forcing them to believe they are, and thus be, dependant upon a government. The laws against murder have been used as a political tool for a long time, even in America (Sacco and Vanzetti). Some laws, such as drug laws, are even more obviously created to achieve political ends; Marijuana’s illegalization was the white supremicist’s answer to Prohibition. My point is that all laws are, in essence, there to keep one subservient to the government. Some, perhaps, actually help people and keep them safe, in the process. Laws against murder, rape, and theft, might protect people to some degree, but the amount of murder and rape that go on despite the laws against them, I can’t believe they help more than they hurt. Some, like the one in this article, are more blatant attempts than other laws, but less effectual. Confiscating bibles is whack, but in comparison to imprisoning and murdering political enemies, it’s tyrannical child’s play.

America’s freedom is more of an illusion. Instead of confiscating books we believe to be a threat to our government, we just add the name of those who check them out from a library or buy them through a method that can be traced to one list or another and remove their freedom (perhaps them, someday) from behind the scenes, so that they might still have the freedom to buy one of any thousand brands of cola, but will be the first one taken in if they try and exercise the more important freedom to peacefully assemble and protest. Our government doesn’t use muscled thugs to put on the poison in your mouth and make you swallow it, to continue the metaphor; our government simply slips it in the water.

I wrote a satirical short story after someone I knew suggested the death penalty for anyone who misused social or political power. In the story, sentencing someone to the death penalty was considered a misuse of this power.

You don’t mention why she was arrested. Was the first woman a member/practicer of falun gong?

I agree China should be more open, blocking the net is silly. I agree the communist committee is stupid sometimes, and the Chinese goverment is full of shameless retarded politicians.
But I’ll still support Communism Party, and most of their policy.
There’s no better one than them now. They know society stable no matter what is the most important, then they try to find the same interests with others and do it quick.
They also know what is said in the Communism theory, “the most competitive society is the most productive society, productivity determine the social system, the social system most suit the increase of the productivity win.” That’s much better than human rights and democracy win idea. Human rights is good, but it still no compare to raising the living standard, most people’s happy life and having a fast ecnomic growth.

But the West won that game by having a better quality of life than the Communist USSR or China while “affording” their people more rights. China actually reformed its economy to experience an economic boom.

You support the Communist Party, but if someone else doesn’t think it’s the way forward, they aren’t allowed to act on their beliefs. Doesn’t sound fair :wink:

Perhaps the people would follow that last law and not allow it to stand :wink:

Presumably she was arrested for openly practicing Falun Gong.

And communism, as practiced by the USSR and China, is not communism. China is a capitalist dictatorship, and not communist in any sense of the word. In fact, communism is a <i>social force</i>, not a form of government per se. All this “democracy vs. communism” nonsense is rather silly, especially when no communist country actually exists.

We were taught [STRIKE]brainwashed[/STRIKE] that we lived in the socialist type of political system, and we were building communism. And I swear, we were very close to our goal: I could have almost smell it in that 3 hour line-up for oranges and peaches that some Georgian dude was selling from the back of his truck.

And China= NEP on steroids.

I don’t know the difference between Catholicism and Christianity, and of course the most of the local police don’t know, too. They just ask those guys to swear loyalty, have a lience, and then practice.

You guys kept mentioning the Soviet Union, but though China and Soviet Union both declared accepting the theory of communism, they go complete different ways. Actually just the time China declared socialism state in 1958, the Soviet-China war broke out in the same year. You can’t find much similarity in the social structrue in the two countries, because lack of the communication between them. That’s why when the Soviet Union bankrupt in 1991, many people in China feels happy, “I said their way will fail, Look! Just like what Mao predicted!”

That’s what in the Confucian said. In old China, in the Confucian society, they don’t use laws. Emperor will only send one, or two men who is selected by an national examination to a town (the whole country 3000 ), as a moral judge. He will hire someone himself to build a goverment and try to get along with the locals, he have to judge himself and tell people in the name of the Confucian what is right and what is wrong, the locals will do as he said in respesct of the emperor (in an ideal situation).

Well, I see you guys talk about law, but in most of the Chinese cilvilian, there is no law, how could anyone use something not-exist to keep people “down and docile” ?
China is still a half-Confucian society, a normal Chinese abound to his social relationship will not do a crime. That’s why you can see in the snowstorm and the earthquake this year, when all the social institutions are paralysed, no one do a robbery, all of the people act peacefully. But in that American hurricane, the US army should bring guns and shoot when they went into the area.

Over half of the police in China only equip a cellphone, and most of the one have a gun won’t bring them along, because they never see a situation they need to do that, while the US police take the gun and shoot all the time. In China again, if you punch a policeman, he won’t strike back, because he will lose his job for doing that. Sometimes when they really have to do something ruthless, they do not dare and they will hire some cilvilians to do it for them ( that course more problem actually).
These policeman know to deal with stealing, robbery, murder, but almost nothing more. They do not read law and do not care. The goverment may teach them to attack illegal copy this month, they do it this month very strictly but forget it in the next (initiatively maybe) when the goverment tells them to attack prostitution. The judge in China is unprofessional, too. Half of them have never study law.

One of the main and crucial problem is lack of law, when the modern life is becoming more and more complicated, all the old Confucian way does not work sometimes. Especialiy when a open macket needs a whole complex legal system, the goverment tried hard to add a legal system to people’s life, but they haven’t success yet.

Win? China is on the US side in the Cold war, OK?
But after the USSR fell, China found himself become the next taget, they add publishing control (actually in 1980s China’s policy on culture is far more open than now) and at the same time support Russa to rise again. Putin turns Russa back to its own way to experience an economic boom. China will contine to support Russa, Cuba and so on to make trouble for the US side, while the US do the same, and officially they are like friends.

The only one win is the open world macket idea.

Yes, that’s not fair. And yes, birth control and something like that is violation of humanrights. Then what? The world is not a simple place for idealism.
“the social system most suit the increase of the productivity win”, not the idealism one, just like natural selection. Fair play, human rights is great, but they needs a better productivity level to practice, just like a fair election needs better educated, rational people with certain property. China is still so poor and low productivity that we need a long time to get to a better society. Like driving a car, we need low level for low speed, high level for high speed.

People in China want a longer life, better ecnomic, while “none of the poor country adopped a US style human rights and democracy goverment become rich”, then what should they do?

(When I talk about democracy for China it means socialism democracy, not the capitalism one.)

Well, that’s a gross oversimplification of how Mencius interpretted what Confucius says. There’s another line of Confucianists that believe the exact opposite, that laws and rules are the important things that keep society intact, while Mencius argues that humanity is inherently good and bad conditions, most often bad leadership, are the reason it turns bad. In this, he doesn’t argue so much for a government to ban laws as a government to exist as a purely organization and advising body, insofaras the fact that, if it needs to use force to make the people obey it, it isn’t the sort of thing that should be obeyed, and laws are almost defined by the ability to be enforced, thus related to force. Thus, Mencius could be said to argue for a government that gave advice instead of strict laws. His ideas are similar to those of Tolstoy and the quasi-anarchist societies that existed in Spain for a time. In that the traditional idea of anarchy, which is looked at as an absence of government and associated chaos, instead become an absence of enforced social order, simply, a conditional, soft meritocracy. Unlike the traditional view of anarchy, this is actually somewhat viable, in a long-term sense; it isn’t a stupid idea that is also hopelessly idealistic. Instead, it’s a pretty reasonable idea that is hopelessly idealistic.

The Mencian view is that the emperor is afforded respect if he deserves it. If he does not, the people can and, even, should remove him from power, according to Mencius. This is the big break, since Confucius himself argued for deference to social roles, but also gave strict instructions for how those in the higher roles should behave, and it essentially comes to one interpretation not believing that two wrongs made a right, while Mencius believed that, in forsaking the righteous path of occupying a social station, one similarly abandoned the station.

Whether the rules of Confucianism are laws is heavily debatable. They are rules of social conduct that in many ways function like laws, however, there is hardly some power that enforces the manner in which one, for instance, pets a dog (contrary to other moral rulesystems in the world, where this is or at least has been pretty thoroughly enforced).
The aspect of laws in this debate came up with China’s laws as they deal with the outside world, which exist in a much less arguable and more tangible sense; for instance, in our case, there is a hard-and-fast law about what amount of religious material one may enter into a country with. There are hard and fast laws about the internet and such things. Enforced social regulations upon others’ behavior. The efficacy of enforcement, especially laws dealing with information, is debatable anywhere. The existance and intent is less so.
The ineffectual legal system of China has been a problem since the Yuan dynasty, I think largely because the philosophy on which it is based is difficult to find a single, absolute interpretation for (Confucius’ Analects are far more theoretical and vague than the US constitution, and we have plenty of problems with that, as it is), and the large amount of people it is intended to govern. Part of the problem with the “old, Confucian system” is that is just that, old. Confucian theory holds a large amount of merit, it’s one of the philosophies I most admire for its intelligence and complexity, but it is now literally thousands of years old. The basic principals are still brilliant, of course, but the specifics need modernization. Quite simply, the advanced capitalist society in which the free market world operates is not the world Confucius lived in. I’d much rather see an economic/political system based on his principals (at least the Mencian interpretation of them), than the Ayn Rand bullshit which seems to be the order of the day for the moment.

Well, that’s a gross oversimplification of how Mencius interpretted what Confucius says.


Any attempt try to conclude Confucianism in a short artical will be a “gross oversimplification”. There are so many people and their idea in it, with thousands of books. But the Confucian social system works in China almost based on two philosophers, Dong Zhongshu in Han Dynasty and Zhu Xi in Song dynasty.

About the “that laws and rules” in Confucian, that’s obviously not a modern law we talk about.
A ture story happened in my hometown(Wuhan) in the 1990s, one day a judge saw an old lady crying to him “my house was taken, some guy cheated in the contract and now I have no place to live…” The judge feels sympathized for her and write a court verdict. The one who receive the verdict asked “why there’s a verdict? Isn’t there should be a trial first?” The judge looked up the rules and finally found it’s ture. After this all the judge here know there should be a trial, but you still can’t expect them too much, they already make this huge advance.

Sadly, It’s been proofed that a world of commercial lure people to be greed, buy a lot of goods more than their actual needs, and ask them work hard to to get more money so they can consume even more, is the most productivity one. World’s natural selection will be the commercial society.

The Chinese goverment always say their policy now is not all their invention but partly based on Lenin’s NEP.

You don’t know that falun gong’s “the world wil be destroyed, believe master Lee and you will be saved” idea? They fooled many people and took all of their money. So the goverment got every practicer and let a psychologist “eduacate” them until they swear they do not believe master Lee again( intention is good, but they should have a better way).

About the execution problem in China. Actually the highest communist committee always want to stop execution, they survey about it, and asked people’s opinion on the goverment website several times. But most people ware angry about it, they protest and voted online to show over 90% of people want the execution remain. first they want to see the corrupt officials die, and they assume it’s those corrupt officials who want to live try to change the law. Second in China if you do not sentence a murder death, relatives of the victim will protest, parade, or even start a riot. So even the highest communist committee (maybe they really are the corrupt officials) stop their attemping.

I couldn’t agree more about any brief statement being an oversimplification.

Dong Zhongshu is the more legalist interpretation of Confucian doctrine, if I recall, (I’m not familiar with Zhu Xi, unfortunately), although a legalist interpretation of Confucianism still far less formal than a lot of other ideologies, since it places a lot of influence, like in your example, in individuals above protocol. I think a lot of it comes down to necessity given the scale laws are supposed to be implemented over; trust must be placed by the system in those responsible more than their supposed guidelines, since micro-managing those responsible to adhere to the guidelines isn’t really viable.

Excuse me, but human organ harvesting is pretty low, in my honest opinion.

The Cold War was also a clash between economy systems and the communism-based systems proved to be less efficient. There were plenty of Maoist groups in Europe, but most of them wilted when the USSR dissolved.

Yes, that’s not fair. And yes, birth control and something like that is violation of humanrights. Then what? The world is not a simple place for idealism.
“the social system most suit the increase of the productivity win”, not the idealism one, just like natural selection. Fair play, human rights is great, but they needs a better productivity level to practice, just like a fair election needs better educated, rational people with certain property. China is still so poor and low productivity that we need a long time to get to a better society. Like driving a car, we need low level for low speed, high level for high speed.

People in China want a longer life, better ecnomic, while “none of the poor country adopped a US style human rights and democracy goverment become rich”, then what should they do?

A more totalitarian style of gov may bring changes that can be measured in monetary units, but that isn’t always the case when talking about quality of life. Anyway, it’s not true that human rights and democratic governments don’t jive with economic progress. After WW2 Japan and Germany built great economies (along with many European countries). Spain had some growth under Franco but when he died its development was even greater.

Anyway, I understand how a more totalitarian system may keep e.g. the wages even lower (kinda funny for a Worker’s Party) but many of China’s advantages aren’t a result of its political system. Its 1,3 billion people would have clout under a democratic government as well, the wages would still be low with all that labour supply, so the investments would keep flowing. We’ll see how India -which follows a more open system- will develop.

This gets to the heart of the matter. The Chinese government will not tolerate any breach of its political authority. They fear Christianity as a political force, not as a religion. This distinction is probably meaningless, though, considering most religions are politically active.

Sun, why do you believe its moral for the government to behave that way?

When Westerners think of China, we think of a homogeneous nation of like-minded peoples acting as one giant swarm. Nothing could be further from the truth. China has deep, numerous divisions based along social and economic lines. Rural vs. Urban, young vs. old, etc. Throughout its history, China has erupted in periods of intense social chaos. the civil wars in the 19th century, the Cultural Revolution, etc. This is probably where the huge emphasis on maintaining social unity comes from. And, it may be that a totalitarian government is the only thing that can hold together a society like that.

What would be an example of the social divisions I’m talking about? Here’s one. You all know about the ‘one-child’ rule, right? For decades, rural Chinese were allowed to ignore that law. Urban Chinese were not. As a result, the two different factions developed much differently from each other.

I’d be interested to see zeppelin’s opinion on this. As long as he doesn’t tell me I’m completely full of crap :stuck_out_tongue:

Don’t worry my business goes quite well since some one provided me 1.2 million bodies from Iraq. These dead men can finaly have their human rights organicly, I guess.

What’s been proved by the USSR is that a Stalin style plan economy system can quickly change a poor agriculture society into a modern heavy industrialized society while it will have a side effect of economic unbalance because the lack of a macket auto regulating. Just like the Great Depression proved that a free macket economy will cause economic crisis eventually. You need to balance the two economic system.

There will always be some people trying to describe a far away land a heaven or something, in order to oppose the social reallity they faced in their country. Didn’t those Maoist groups wilted because the Culture Revolution ends?

Japan and Germany? They’re already among the worlds most rich and advanced countries when they changed to a democratic government, right? I already said the problem is that human rights and democratic governments don’t jive with economic progress in the poor (former colony) countries, especially the large scale countries. From Africa to South American, none of those countries really become a developed country no matter how hard they tried.
Actually the way to a better human rights and democratic society is full of big economic and social trap. You can’t change it by push a button or something. Russia pushed that button in 1991 and directly jumped into the trap, why China follow anyway?
In 1911, China built a US copy democratic government, they failed in economic, social stability and national security. That’s the main reason the Communist Party won the civil war in 1949. And you can see now in Taiwan, there’s plenty of bad examples since they changed to a democratic government in 1990s. You can see they are having a economic stagnation and failed to reduce corruption. While in another Chinese society- Hongkong, there’s never democracy but they succeeded in becoming one of the world’s least corrupt region with a high efficiency.
You talk bout India, in 1950 the average GDP in India is 2 times more than China while in 2000 the average GDP in China is 2 times more than India. In 1950, the average life expectancy in India is 41 and in China is 35, while in 2007, the average life expectancy in India is 69 and in China is 73( In China’s industrialized large cities and east and south coastal area, the life expectancy already reaches 78, the same like the US. India is the best example of a open system didn’t work.
The most recent example is Iraq.

Social reform needs careful and patience.
First you need to know if the specific change works here, if the people’s education level, productivity level, culture, economic circumstances suit to it. Try not to jump into a economic or social trap.
Second you need to know how urgent and how profitable it is, is this change is needed right now or not. Try concern on the real urgent matter.
Third you need to know a change will hurt someone and benefit someone at the same time, will the benefited one help you or not, and will the hurted one hinder you or not. Only when you have enough supportors and you know the opponents will not cause a big trouble for then you can you take action.
Finally you have to know you and the system’s ability, do what you can complete in an appropriate speed. Try not to do something exceed your ability and complete nothing.
Most westen media only fabricat or try to find the most unurgent, unprofitable, few supported and impossible to solve problem so they can keep shouting.

China’s advantages is both a result of its hard working people and a result of its goverment. This goverment can experiment different ideas in different cities and carefully spread the successful idea to the whole country (a totalitarian system advantage). They let several village vote, it’s a success, so all the village now can vote. They try to let some small town vote, the result is not very bad, so they want to try to let people select some administrative personnels in Shenzhen. This is how China step by step make small progress every year. This is not a idealism world, you can’t ask too much and do not face the reallity. China is so unadvanced that if you want a human rights and democratic standard like the US and Western Europe it will take at least 30 to 50 years.

Well. I’m not that kind of ultra-nationalist. I sometimes think the goverment suck because they are very very stupid. Like they restrict the import of game and anime and thought this would help the domestic industry grow, even without a publication law and copyright protection, actually they ruin the industry but they still don’t know and keep throwing money in.
And I make many underground comic to mock the goverment and society.

I have no sympathy for a religion. Religion(not mythology) is kind of political show tell lies to control people, it’s not justice anyway.

Of course religion should be kept. Because First it’s a huge cultural heritage to us, with a lot of results of the wisdom of our ancestors.
Second they sometimes tell people to do good things, help the social stability and save some helpless people. It’s stupid to force people to be antitheist when believe a God makes them feel better.

But when it comes to a religion tells people to fight for their God they should be stopped.

I don’t really want to get into the thick of the debate, but I guess I should toss my two cents out here as someone who has lived here for 3 years. First of all, I’m not going to get wrapped up in a debate with sun here. I don’t debate politics with Chinese people for 2 reasons. The first is personal: the fact is Chinese people and Western people approach politics with a completely different set of axioms. It would be like if two people were to compare math results, with one person working in binary and one person working in base-10, and then taking the answers at face value. Sure, you could convert the binary numbers to base-10, but it takes a level of sophistication and patience I just don’t really have. The second reason is that my job requires me to pretty much be neutral about this kind of shit. Contracts can hinge on the direction you nod your head when a Chinese person says some crazy shit. I just nod my head and move on.

First, as to the lady with the bibles. She knew exactly what was going to happen going into China with 300+ bibles. That being said, she pretty much achieved the goal she wanted, to bring light to the issue of freedom of religion in China. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, though. Change on these kinds of issues is not going to come from foreigners protesting in China. When shit like this happens, the Chinese government can easily twist it around to say that Westerners are still trying to imperially take over China and its values. When foreigners protest things like Christianity and Tibet, it’s so easy for the government to manipulate that shit and keep the anger of Chinese people pointed directly away from themselves and at the “outsiders” trying to change Chinese culture. It’s great that so many people back in the West care deeply about rights in China…however, it also seems like these people who come over to China to protest the issues are quite self-absorbed with themselves as well. This lady seems to be screaming more about “LOOK WHAT THEY ARE DOING TO ME!” rather than talking about how the system is unfair to Chinese people.

As for Christianity in China, it’s pretty much a joke. Sure, there is the often quoted statistic that China has the largest bible factory in the world. Of course, this bible factory is highly regulated by the state, and the translation of the bible being used was approved quite high up in the bureaucracy. You can guess that the translation is not exactly faithful to the version you would be familiar with. Many elements of Christianity fit quite well into Chinese culture. China is a pretty conservative place with strong family values, and many of these aspects of Christianity fit quite well into place. Elements such as devoting yourself fully to God can pretty easily be transformed into dedicating yourself to the State or the Society at large. The more egalitarian elements of the religion are pretty obviously downplayed though. I don’t think there’s a single person in China who would believe a statement like “it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.” If you thought America was money-obsessed and materialistic, you haven’t seen the real China.

As for the whole democracy isn’t suited to Chinese people bit…well I don’t even know what to say about this. China seems to have quite a bit more tolerance for giving up certain rights and priveleges for the sake of economic growth than other places I’ve seen. That’s their choice I suppose, and like I said before, any change in this manner would have to come from within and not from without. A lot of people seem to think that Chinese people traveling abroad and experiencing other cultures will naturally lead the country to become more open and free, but in my experience that isn’t really happening. I work closely with a lot of students who go to study abroad, mostly in the states and Australia. Many of them become even more obsessively insular and nationalistic in their new country than they were before. You can see examples of this in the anti-Tibet demonstrations during the olympic torch runs. Tens of thousands of Chinese students showed up to protest against free-tibet people. Some of the protests got so violent in places like South Korea that the countries sharply reduced the number of chinese students they would allow in from now on. And of course there is the well-known example of the Chinese girl in America who went and stood with the Free Tibet protestors, and her family’s house in China was subsequently burned down, her family forced into hiding, and tens of thousands of threats to kill the girl if she ever returned to China. The scary part about stuff like that is the government had absolutely nothing to do with it, except in that they have sowed the seeds of nationalism in these kids from a very early age. Chinese people often don’t have healthy outlets for these feelings, so they end up coming out in rather violent and destructive ways, focused on outsiders, “traitors”, and foreigners. I think the idea that China will “naturally” move into a more democratic system in 30 to 50 years is ridiculous. The ruling elite have too much to lose in this game, and lately I’ve seen more examples of China closing up areas that were once freer.

There have been many examples of autocratic Asian states turning more democratic in the last 50 years. First Japan, then South Korea, Taiwan, and recently Singapore. Many believe China will naturally follow along this path, but I’m not so sure really. These countries were more truly autocratic, with a single, enlightened head-of-state who chose to make the country democratic rather than pass along rule to another person. China is bureaucratic though, not autocratic. It is controlled from a multitude of different directions, from the politburo to the army to the extremely powerful state-owned enterprises, and they all have their own stakes in continuing the system. Anyone who thinks Hu Jintao is some despot is horribly mistaken. Hu Jintao was “allowed” to take over the reigns of the party as long as he promised to play by the rules. And you can be guaranteed that if he decides not to play by the rules, he’ll be quickly replaced.

Unfortunately, my rather pessimistic prediction is that as long as China’s economy continues to grow at a decent pace, Chinese people will be content enough to let the system chug along. But no matter how strong any economy is, a downturn is inevitable at some point, and the true test of the system will be if it can survive that
hurdle. China has a long history, but it by no means ever had a government that was permanent, and all Chinese people are aware of that fact. They can pay lip service to who is in power now, but if a new and stronger power appeared tomorrow, it’d be a safe bet to say allegiances would change quickly.