Shout out to the Party’s never-ending persecution of those who may sell ‘banned’ books in a fruitless effort to continue censoring their people’s ideas. What’s more to say is that these 5 arrested booksellers were from Hong Kong and were thought to be missing for the past months until finally being able to appear on TV to ‘apologize’ for their wrongdoings. Only after describing their understandings of these wrongdoings as to why selling these ‘fabricated’ books of ‘libel’ are they finally able to redeem themselves. As these ‘banned’ books bring “a bad influence on society”, the people selling these books must also, of course, be punished for selling them. This continued ineffective censorship of the people will only lead to more mistrust for the Party and further ‘small rebellions’ of this sort in the future.
Shout out this week to the bomb threat used as an attempt to derail a Falun Gong conference in Hong Kong. A call was made warning of a bomb at the January 17th conference, forcing an evacuation of the entire hotel. Security claims to have spotted a member of the Hong Kong Youth Care Association earlier near the place of the fake bomb. This organization is a state sponsored group that repeatedly engages in the harassment of Falun Gong practitioners. Five individuals have reportedly been arrested. In my opinion, this harassment of Falun Gong has absolutely no merit and is caused either indirectly or directly by the Chinese government. There is no reason for average citizens to have any problem with the “cultivation group” unless their opinions have been swayed by government propaganda.
Via Epoch Times
Shout out to China’s continued, ever-more desperate, and ever-more drastic censorship of the internet. Last week, China banned foreign-owned companies working in China from various types of ‘online publishing.’ Although this is nothing new that China would like to have control over what information leaks out onto the internet, the implications of China restricting these foreign-owned companies from this right that they may very well have in their own countries is indeed something new. The implications then may be that China will continue to poke and prod with new ways of controlling the companies even more until the companies either are eventually consumed by the Party’s control or tell China that they will be taking their business elsewhere. This may lead to some nasty foreign relations for China in the near future.
In the past weeks, the ideas and concepts that have stuck with me the most are the ideas of religio-genesis and marginality. It seems obvious, by now, that persecution of religion or any sort of religious practice, no matter where, provides a catalyst for the religion’s followers to grow even more fervent in their practice and faith. Not only this, but also the religion also grows in size and influence. This is precisely what we have discussed in the past weeks, especially pertaining to Falun Gong. As the Party expends more and more effort to suppress Falun Gong and other various religions and cults, the religions and cults grow exponentially in size and support because of the Party’s so-called allowed freedom of religion. This then pushes these religions and cults underground, to the margins of society, and in some senses, removed from society. The reason, it seems then, that these religions are growing so quickly in China despite the oppression is that the people are seeking answer elsewhere as they do not trust the Party’s every word. This is why the people are trying to find these answers in the margins of the Party’s society, because they may be trying to find a way out of the Party’s society and into a religious community, where promises of freedom of religion and human rights actually mean something.
Shout out to Epoch times for their article, “Triad Boss-Turned-Christian Beaten to Death in Chinese Prison for Hidden Bible, Says Asylee”. This was a very interesting read that talked about how a converted Christian was allegedly beaten to death by 6 guards for having a bible. According to the sources Huang, the converted Christian, was found to have a bible in his personal items and the guards ordered for him to turn it in. When he refused eight guards beat him unconscious and he later died. Having a bible is forbidden by the prison but obviously that does not justify this if it is in fact true.
I believe this article to be worth reading because it demonstrates the growing tension between religion and government authority. It is only one case and we of course do not have all of the facts, but we do know that a government run organization such as a prison beating someone to death over having a bible highlights serious tension. The article ends with a quote from Li Jiangeng that warns those persecuted for their beliefs “to simply ignore official propaganda rather than to give it an audience.” It is an interesting idea and I hope to look into how the reaction that religions have to incidents like this and the propaganda that follows. I will add the link below, the article is worth a read.
At the end of week 6, a few new ideas have stuck with me from the readings and class discussion. As we continue to look into how the government pushes against organized religion it becomes more clear that religion always pushes back. Specifically we have talked about religio-genisis, using the very current example of Falun Gong. I have found it very significant to look into how Falun Gong has transformed naturally and from outside pressure from the government. As it grew stronger and gained more and more support from all walks of life in China, the party began to feel the pressure and tried to repress Falun Gong. This caused a change in the peaceful relationship Falun Gong had with the government to labeling it as one of the greatest evils. Going as far as to say that one could never reach salvation through its teachings if he was a part of the communist party. I think this is very significant because it demonstrates how lashing out against religion out of fear never has the effect the government wants. In fact, it turned a seemingly harmless and neutral group in Falun Gong into one that very outwardly defies the party. Looking into Falun Gong more will provide a better look into the constant struggle between religion and government trying its best to control it.
At this point in time in the course I believe one of the most valuable things that we have learned is the reasoning for why groups such as Falun Gong have been created in China and why these groups have been so harshly persecuted by the Chinese Government. After 1980 a vacuum of religion was created, which brought about the creation of many different groups. At this time and to today China has been riddled with social issues stemming from government actions. The opening up of the China to the market economy of the world has marginalized many portions of the Chinese population. Through this marginalization widespread poverty has been created and many people are losing hope. Since the Government is the reason for their problems they do not know where to turn to so they find groups which bring promises similar to Falun Gong, those of cultivation and meaning, and find hope and companionship in them. The government then persecutes them when they grow too big and gain too much support, due to the fear of a mass uprising. The fear the government posses is not unwarranted. Throughout Chinsees history there have been events where these type of religious groups do end up overthrowing the government. However, this fear does not justify the treatment that the followers have received. I believe the understanding of these relationships is essential in studying Chinese religion because it provides the background needed to understand why these groups form and why the government acts the way they do.