September 11, 2018
#China CCP starts burning the Bible and crosses in Henan. Last time burning Bibles campaign happened in late 1960s by dictator Chairman Mao’s wife Jiang Qing in Shanghai. She was arrested in 1976 but Christians grew to millions. Will Never be successful河南文革重现，烧圣经十字架 pic.twitter.com/T5esv16NXI
— Bob Fu傅希秋 (@BobFu4China) September 5, 2018
I look at this, and I experience a sort of twitch reaction, one which was probably experienced by the millions of Westerners who consumed this story. It felt something like this:
The thing is, though – I’m forced to take a step back from this, and remember:
No Chinese ever called me “nazi.”
The Chinese position on the rise of nationalism in the West has always been to politely observe it, and say nothing, because it’s really none of their business. I don’t want my country to turn into Wakanda, and they don’t care.
I like that about the Chinese.
I really do. It’s a refreshing contrast to a certain Western attitude of “I don’t even know where this country is on the map but I think we should bomb it,” one that is fortunately going out of style thanks to the noble efforts of glioblastoma. So, in approaching this subject, I feel that I should treat them with the same respectful detachment.
Still, I wrote about their hitlerious crackdown on Turkroaches, so I feel it would be dishonest to write nothing here.
China’s government is ratcheting up a crackdown on Christian congregations in Beijing and several provinces, destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to sign papers renouncing their faith, according to pastors and a group that monitors religion in China.
The campaign corresponds with a drive to “Sinicize” religion by demanding loyalty to the officially atheist Communist Party and eliminating any challenge to its power over people’s lives.
Bob Fu of the U.S.-based group China Aid said over the weekend that the closure of churches in central Henan province and a prominent house church in Beijing in recent weeks represents a “significant escalation” of the crackdown.
Under President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, religious believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival.
Fu also provided video footage of what appeared to be piles of burning bibles and forms stating that the signatories had renounced their Christian faith. He said that marked the first time since Mao’s radical 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution that Christians had been compelled to make such declarations, under pain of expulsion from school and the loss of welfare benefits.
A Christian pastor in the Henan city of Nanyang said crosses, bibles and furniture were burned during a raid on his church on Sept. 5.
The pastor, who asked not to be identified by name to avoid repercussions from authorities, said several people entered the church just as it opened its doors at 5 a.m. and began removing items.
Chinese law requires religious believers to worship only in congregations registered with the authorities, but many millions belong to so-called underground or house churches that defy government restrictions.
A local official reached by phone at the Nanyang city government disputed the account, saying officials respected religious freedom.The man declined to give his name, as is common with Chinese bureaucrats, while a person answering phones at the local religious affairs bureau said they were “not clear” about the matter.
In Beijing, the Zion church was shut on Sunday by around 60 government workers who arrived at 4:30 p.m. accompanied by buses, police cars and fire trucks, the church’s pastor, Ezra Jin Mingri, said Monday. Zion is known as the largest house church in Beijing, with six branches.
The officials declared the gatherings illegal and sealed off church properties, Jin said, after already freezing the pastor’s personal assets in an apparent attempt to force him to comply with their demands.
“Churches will continue to develop. Blocking the sites will only intensify conflicts,” Jin told The Associated Press by phone.
A notice posted Sunday on the website of the Chaoyang district government in Beijing said theZion Church had been closed because it failed to register with the government.
China has an estimated 38 million Protestants, and experts have predicted that the country will have the world’s largest Christian population in a few decades.
So, first polite observation:
I’ve seen bad optics in my life, and then I’ve seen really bad optics. At one point, I had come to think that I had seen the baddest of all optics.
Then, I saw this headline, and that video.
It is viscerally offensive to Westerners to see Chinese people burning the symbols of our own ancient civilization. While China is facing an escalating trade war with the United States and the tensions of their expanding power in the South China Sea, I don’t think that they need press days like this one.
By now, I’m sure they’ve figured this out.
China is a culturally hermetic country with the largest bureaucracy in the world, and so we could assume that this burning thing was the result of some unwise bureaucrat who did not consider that one anti-government activist could tweet this out and create a very unfortunate day for the public image of China.
The Party should make sure their people do not do this again. If they want to close unregistered churches, I don’t really know enough about those churches to opine about that. They can just give the holy objects to registered churches, instead of burning them, and achieve the same thing, without antagonizing the West with the highly publicized profanation of our symbols.
As for the broader issue of Christianity in China:
On a purely philosophical level, I don’t think this should be a problem. I consider that Taoism provides a succinct and lucid explanation of the origin and nature of metaphysical reality, Confucianism offers a perpetually timely prescription for social order, and Buddhism offers a clear and methodical process of escaping egoism. None of these are in conflict with Christianity – they simply address different subjects.
Passionate autists tend to weigh on them with meaningless problems such as “does John McCain burn forever in hell, or is he cursed to be reborn, to suffer, and to die, again and again and again?” Really, as long as he suffers forever, I’m fine with this either way. It’s just not a question that bothers me.
Unlike Judaism or Islam, whose current existence is predicated on their rejection of Christianity, the Eastern religions simply existed before it. Like the classical Greek philosophers, they are not anti-Christian, they are just pre-Christian, and it seems unfortunate to me that we have not made better use of that foundational wisdom.
That, however, is our own problem, and not theirs.
The problem of the Chinese is that, if the press is to be believed, they have a large and growing Christian population. Even if this should not be a philosophical problem, it would be a real political and institutional problem, since this signifies the growing influence of potentially subversive Western institutions in their society.
So, second polite observation. I know a Chinese guy, a Party member, and I asked him once about the Cultural Revolution. He told me it was a “very dark and unfortunate period” in Chinese history, and he seemed to be all about traditional Chinese culture and Neo-Confucianism. From what I can tell, this is more or less the official Party line.
I don’t even know how much to believe in foreign subversive “expert” estimations of the size and scope of Christianity within China. I’m sure the Party has every grain of rice counted, but they have no interest in sharing their data with us. If this is even a real issue – might this be a symptom of lingering cultural disorientation, a reaction to a scar of the Cultural Revolution in the Chinese mass psychology? Could this be a consequence of the Maoist war against their own identity?
“i dunno lol”
People, including Chinese people, need to believe in something absolute and metaphysical in order for society to function. The Party should make sure that people have ways to satisfy that basic need, without resorting to underground institutions.
On the other hand, maybe this is literally nothing.
There are surely plenty of glow-in-the-dark CIA nigger types who spend a good deal of money on anything that will make American public opinion hostile to China, and so favorable to a long-term American military presence in the Asian Pacific. So, maybe they throw their money at tools, to dress up anti-government activity in religious paraphernalia, and get shut down, and tweet about it, so that Western media can pick up on it and report on interviews with more tools who will tell them that this is representative of national trends.
All of this bad press is coming from people who are getting paid by US organizations.
So, I really don’t know.
If you can tell me what’s really going on in China, I’ll tell you what’s really going in North Korea.
Meanwhile, the Chinese depend greatly on their continuing good relations with the West, and we need to focus on our own problems, so this isn’t good for anyone. The Party should find a way to maintain order while meeting the spiritual needs of their people, and while making sure that these disrespectful media provocations are neither representative nor seen to be representative of their policy.