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 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 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.
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 the Party’s censorship of the Panama Papers. A recent article on BBC’s website spoke about China’s censorship of posts on WeChat, Sina Weibo, and other social media apps with regards to Xi Jinping’s brother-in-law and other members of the Chinese elite and their tax havens. These tax havens allow the elite to avoid paying large sums of taxes on rich investments outside of China, and as these elite are related and connected to the Party, this information is embarrassing and must therefore be censored. As the Party is flawless and immune to scrutiny, there should be no posts or commentary that may jeopardize this perfection. Even with Xi’s ‘crackdown on corruption’, his own brother-in-law’s corruption somehow slipped under his nose. This just goes to show that maybe China should be put under a stronger lens of inspection rather than just allowing this kind of cover-up to be so commonplace.
(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.