Wednesday, August 13, 2008

China's New Mask

China has made great strides in promoting economic freedom. There are today in China stock markets and yuppies. There are families with cars and a lifestyle that would elicit envy from many westerners. There are even millionaires. It should not be assumed that China's liberalisation means that western style democracy is anywhere near the horizon. Freedom has been doled out with almost surgical precision. The seps that have been taken to open Chinese society are confined to the economic sphere.
China continues to enforce its "one child policy" with infantictide. (Click here and click on link at bottom of page) Skewed sex ratios are a legacy of millions of families choosing the sex of their child click here for article.
China maintains tight control on religious practice. There are state approved churches that are kept under tight surveillance. Underground churches function at their own peril. The Catholic church does not enjoy legal status. Instead, the Chinese government permits the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Those who attend a church that is in communion with Rome risk imprisonment.
Jews who are foreigners may practice their faith freely in China with one exception. They may not invite Chinese to religious activities or classes. China's list of "approved churches " puts it on a par with Iran in the legal sense. Both countries allow limited freedom to a list of faiths and persecute those religious groups not on the list.
China has a very short history of any sort of limited freedom at all. Infamous in Chinese history is the "Hundred Flowers Campaign" in 1956 in which Chairman Mao urged citizens to venture dissenting opinions in public. The resulting tumult was quickly suppressed. The walls upon which dissident manifestos were pasted were quickly scrubbed clean . Their authors were "reeducated". Some think the whole episode was a ruse to smoke out dissidents.
What is most interesting about Communism is the extent to which it inherits the ambitions and prejudices of its predecessors. China has always been a regional superpower, feared and distrusted by the smaller countries on its borders. Whether it uses communist terminology or some other jargon, it will pursue the same goals. As recent events between Russia and Georgia have proven, Russia also retained its old ambitions before, during and after the time of its allegiance to Marxism.
During the Olympics, we should not allow Olympic platitudes to blind us to the struggles within China. Even if its traditions would point to a different style of government from that to which Americans are accustomed, it has a long way to go before Chinese people enjoy the most basic freedoms. China is governed by a system of state fostered capitalism masked by communist rhetoric. We should remember this in dealing with them
Priest Imprisoned in China Sphere: Related Content

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