For my final shout out, I want to do a follow-up from last week’s shout out to Jiang Zemin, as his former employee, Guo Boxiong, will soon stand trial. He has been accused of accepting bribes and using his power to get people promoted, and he has pled guilty to all of these crimes. Guo worked very closely with Jiang and was promoted by him personally several times. He was involved with many of Jiang’s initiatives, including the persecution of Falun Gong. He is the highest ranking general to be prosecuted for any kind of crime since the Communist Party first began. This trial is just another step to attain the ultimate goal – the arrest of Jiang Zemin, who is accused of creating the corruption that exists in the government over the past twenty years.
For this last section of the semester, we focused on the development of a Christian cult as we read Cult of the Saints. I enjoyed all the parallels we could draw between early Christianity and some of the Chinese customs that we’d talked about previously, like ancestor worship and things of that nature. I also really liked being able to talk to someone actually on the ground in China studying the things we’ve been talking about in class. It was interesting to get her take on some of the situations that we’ve been wondering about ourselves, such as how the different religions interact and how the traditional Chinese practices can adapt to the modern world. Being able to take a broader look at the religious landscape in China allows one to look at the specific religions with a different scope – you don’t just see the religion or practice on its own. Rather, you see how this specific practice interacts with other religions or practices to create a unique aspect of a part of Chinese culture.
This week’s shout out goes to Jiang Zemin, who is currently being investigated by Xi Jinping’s extensive anti-corruption campaign. Jiang is known as the “ultimate tiger,” which seems to indicate that he has been the goal all along. Many of his highly-ranked supporters and his family have been subjected to investigation as well. One of his supporters, Guo Boxiong, was handed over to prosecutors for punishment recently, which experts believe is just a prelude to the arrests of Jiang and his other supporters. Not only is this relevant because it gives insight into China’s current political situation, Jiang Zemin was largely responsible for the persecution against Falun Gong in the late 1990s, so he is a very significant figure in our class discussions.
This week, a shout out goes to an article on Epoch Times this week about a Falun Gong demonstration on Columbia’s campus. The article focused on three Chinese women who passed by the demonstration – one a supporter of Falun Gong, one an antagonist, and one who just wanted to keep the peace. I thought this approach was significant because, as the title states, these three women encompass the different approaches that all of China takes to Falun Gong and the Communist Party. The article also discussed the demonstration itself and the reactions it produced among students – one Chinese student even questioned the education she received about Falun Gong in China. This article provided a comprehensive look at the different outlooks of people when examining Falun Gong in a unique way.
(For some reason, my mic isn’t working, so text shout out it is.)
I’d like to give a shout out to a lawsuit that just went to trial in New York where a group of persecuted Falun Gong practitioners are suing their persecutors, the Chinese Anti-Cult World Alliance. The descriptions of the violence against the Falun Gong members are awful – both physically and emotionally. The charges include death threats, assault, battery, and mob violence. The videos of the protestors being persecuted in the streets of New York City are shown to people in prison for practicing Falun Gong as part of the brainwashing process. Despite delay tactics by the defendants, the case is finally moving to trial, which is a big step forward in the practitioners’ quest for justice. This article shows that this persecution that we’ve discussed in class is not limited to just China, but it has spread all over the world, even here in America.
This week I read an article about a Chinese man, Huang Chuanchan, who was killed in prison trying to protect a bible. He was a convert who was serving a life sentence for murder (although his friend insists that the charged were fabricated). Although the study of the bible in prison was strictly prohibited, Huang and his friend listened to outlawed radio stations and taught fellow inmates about Christianity. Huang died after being beaten severely beaten by prison guards, although the official autopsy was changed from that to “sudden death following heart attack.” I’m not surprised that the government has power over official autopsy reports, but that it was done so blatantly is a risky move, even for the government. This is again another example of the government’s intolerance of religion as a whole.
This week I read an article on how the American presidential primaries are being covered in the Chinese media. Rather than focusing on the actual information coming from the candidates, Chinese media focuses on the shortcomings of the American political system and the petty details such as personal wealth of the candidates and other scandals that may occur during the process. This is to deteriorate any positive views of the dual-party system in America. Even petty details such as the election being held on a Tuesday was attacked by the Party.
This is relevant to what we’ve been discussing in class because this censorship of the media is yet another way the Party controls how the people of China think. It is true that we also receive these petty details in America, but they are in the middle of actually important details about the election. By only presenting the trivial scandals and such, the people of China can really only have a negative view of the American political system.