Twelve weeks have gone by already and we have made it through all of the readings for the course. We have touched on so much in the course, and even though we aren’t all of the way through I think it is only right to think about some of the main themes that we have seen so far in the course that grabbed my attention. We saw through a number of readings how society reacts to new religions and how they get started. I found it both interesting and significant how magic plays a role in religiogenisis. This happens due to magic being a form of social action, and how something transformative and physical is really happening there. This social action, where something physical and of substance is happening, is very powerful and gets religions started. Falun Gong and the Cult of the Saints both shared this. Li Hongzhi in his lectures and through sharing his message was able to heal people and make people feel as though they were really better. No matter what that was coming from, it was really happening and documented and this was a driving force in the spread of Falun Gong. We saw this throughout in Cult of the Saints and how performances at the sites of graves had a lasting effect on people. As we move and begin to look deeper into Falun Gong for our final video, I want to keep the larger themes of the class in mind. So much of the class has been able to connect and hopefully as a group we can bring it all together.
My shout out this week goes to the Chinese government this week for only briefly detaining a human rights lawyer this time. The BBC came out with an article titled “China briefly detains rights lawyer Ge Yongzi over Panama Papers post” which again sums it up. Ge Yongzi posted a picture photoshopped with prominent Chinese leaders put in the Panama canal. Personally I think that is a hilarious idea for a picture and even funnier (in a somewhat darker way) that the government would be so offended by it to arrest him for it. I think that this is significant because it seems that the government was feeling some pressure to release Yongzi considering he was only detained for a couple of hours. I know it is a long shot and it is likely that the government is only releasing him early because the crime was only “insulting others” but I like to think that it is possible the government in China will stop detaining people quite so often. There has been some international push-back on this and hopefully China is starting to sweat a little bit.
This week the shout out goes to the newest report on the Panama papers report that has implicated a couple of the high-up Chinese officials in “shady” offshore business deals. Xi Jinxing himself along with a former committee members acquired offshore companies. Many of Xi’s family also had companies under their name. The article goes through prominent officials who also have shady dealings off shores. I know that this is not terribly surprising, that there is corruption in the Chinese communist party, but I found that it is interesting that this is coming out now. I wonder how the Chinese people will react to this, or if they will be able to find out about it. The article on Epoch Times is below: Epoch Times Article
This weeks shout out goes to the Epoch Times once again for another article about human right violations in China. This article titled, “12 Western Countries: Human Rights ‘Deteriorating’ in China”. I have been following human rights violations in China throughout my shout outs and this is another article proving how serious of an issue it is. I find it appalling that the government will “disappear” people and then later release them after forcing confessions. I hope that something can be done to stop these human rights violations, because in my opinion human rights in China have already deteriorated. Here is the article: Epoch Times Article
This week’s shout out goes to BBC News again for their article “Chinese journalist detained over ‘Xi resignation letter’ is released”. It is becoming a theme for me to follow the BBC and I am very interested in how the Chinese government takes journalists into custody. It seems to me to be a clear cut violation of basic human rights to prevent free speech. The article is worth the read.
After 9 weeks of studying we have rounded out our look into Chinese religion and started to look into early Christianity. Religion and the government’s treatment of religion in China never ceased to amaze me over the time that we covered it. Over the history that we have studied and up until today with Falun Gong we have seen varying levels of government fear and control of religion. These religions have had a transformative effect on the government and the every part of people’s lives despite the best efforts of Chinese officials. This transformative effect is already becoming clear from what we have read of early Christianity and the cult of Saints. This cult was able to transform the way the people thought and lived, making what was considered taboo into a focal point of everyday life. Burying the dead and the rites that come with it was a new idea and it changed the way entire cities were laid out. Rituals to the dead is by no means new to what we have learned in this class and there are many parallels that can be drawn to Chinese religion. Moving forward I would like to remain attentive to these connections that can be made with the new material.
This weeks shout out goes to the Caixin magazine for showing their readers the censorship that the Chinese government puts them under. BBC News ran the article describing how Caixin wrote about an interview being censored by the government. The interview was about free speech and was taken down because the interview contained “illegal content” although they could not see anything that was illegal with the content.
I think it is a bold and important move to stand up to this kind of censorship, even in small ways. This was very defiant and I think that Caixin deserves recognition for what they did. China is obviously not going to stop censoring, as they are the world’s top jailer of journalists according to this article. So I say good job Caixin and I wish them the best if the Chinese government tries to strike back.BBC Article