Zhongguo Hearts Jesus

Quick, check out the link to a new Frontline video about how Christianity is spreading through China and being practiced by record numbers, from underground churches hiding in remote rural caves to Beijing, where Hu Jintao has been working hard to improve ties with the Vatican.  The special just aired a couple of hours ago, and I won’t be surprised if the link is soon blocked here, as was Frontline’s superb special two years ago on the Tiananmen Tank Man.

Religious freedom is another area in China that seems to be “getting better,” but some of the stories about the harassment and arrest of Christians, even in these open-minded and reformist times, are pretty wrenching.  I haven’t seen the video yet (my broadband is hopelessly slow) but a friend of mine who saw it in the US just a few hours ago writes:

The one thing that struck me was how many poor people from the cities, but mostly from more rural areas, are joining these “home churches.” The ministers see their mission as reaching out to the people that the economic surge has left behind. That’s where the growth is. According to the Frontline report, there are now as many Christians in China as there are Party members. Meanwhile the CCCP response is to beef up the “official” Christian church which most people see for what it is: a means to maintain control.

At one point they showed this huge non-descript modern building which is the home of one of the largest official Christian congregations (I think they said 4000 members.) It wasn’t named for a saint or any usual Protestant name. In huge letters in Latin and Chinese it said “Christian Church.” The pastors for these official churches are actually trained in theology in government schools so that they know how to integrate the Communist message with the gospel. How convenient.

Lots of material and interviews at the Frontline site, for anyone interested in this subject.  It’s a good sign that Chinese Christians from underground churches are willing to appear on the record and speak out, but it may be a bit premature to hail the arrival of full religious freedom here.  A final clip from the synopsis:

At the most recent Communist Party congress, President Hu Jintao made an historic move, adding the word “religion” to the party constitution for the first time. He urged party leaders to strike what he called a harmonious balance between church and state.

But not everyone trusts the party’s new friendly face toward religion. Fan Yafeng, a lawyer specializing in religious freedom, tells Osnos that the government’s acceptance of Christianity is strategic.

“To control the Chinese society, the government sometimes chooses to be lenient and sometimes tough,” he says.

As Osnos goes back one more time to see house church leader Zhang Mingzuan, he learns about how Zhang was arrested just a few months ago.

“I was preaching, about 12 o’clock, and people from the Bureau of Religious Affairs came in with the police.  I was in the middle of my preaching,” he explained.

“All we’re doing is believing in Jesus, nothing else. If there is no religious freedom, how can the country be in a harmonious state?”

I think the Party leaders see it from the exact opposite perspective: If there IS religious freedom how can the country be in a harmonious state? Harmonious is code for conformist, uniformity, unquestioning. Once you start giving people choice, especially in who they answer to, that harmony is threatened.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 70 Comments

The link to the videos doesn’t seem to work. Second, it is nice to have freedom of religion in China. But with most countries it must not conflict with the interest of the states. For example, some of the more radical religions embrace polygamy yet it is illegal in many countries.

June 25, 2008 @ 9:31 pm | Comment

I would say that there are internal discussions within the party about what harmonious means. While a few members of the leadership may believe that “harmonious” means “samethink”; most are thinking that that view is no longer tenable, and trying to force that view not only is unrealistic, but could potentially backfire.

The question for them is how to keep these many disparate groups within the big tent of party leadership. The only way to do this is to expand the size of the tent.

June 25, 2008 @ 9:36 pm | Comment

Koreans seem to not be able to get enough Christianity. The Japanese less so religiously inclined keeping pretty much to their Shintoism with some Buddhism. After trashing most religion and having abandoned Mao Zedong thought and marxist leninism it seems among the people there is a void to be filled. Atheistic Capitalism seems like a rather shallow creed to adhere to. Maybe the Chinese will be like the koreans and go hog wild with Christianity or more like the low key japanese. With a 1.3B demographic it is easy to to see how you could have 300 million bible thumpers, 300 atheists and 300 million Others coexisting some how.

I have wondered if maybe religion will be the next area that the CCP decides to loosen restrictions while maintaining tight control over politics and the media.

Seems like nostalgic attraction to past religious traditions of daoism and buddhism would have a resurgence, which could lead back to the Lamas and the hated robe wearing wolf clique.

June 25, 2008 @ 11:37 pm | Comment

China already has religious freedom, you’re free to follow China’s well-established religions.

However Christianity in China is inherently hateful, dogmatic, and aggressive and needs to be treated like a cancer or infection.

Christian missionaries always take advantage of the poor and fill their heads with fantasy and lies.

Please tell me why it’s “acceptable” for Christianity and Islam to stamp out the world’s culture? Isn’t 3 billion Christians and Muslims more than enough?

Religious freedom my ass. Once Christianity has a grip on a society it never lets go.

June 26, 2008 @ 4:41 am | Comment

that they know how to integrate the Communist message with the gospel. How convenient.

I missed this gem. Christianity is full with outright vile, hateful lines written non-Christians and others said to be hellbound or in need of “saving”.

It’s laughable for them to criticize Communism for doing exactly what organized religion does- it indoctrinates vulnerable people, strangles intellectualism and freedom of expression, and forces itself upon others.

Maybe they need a second Taiping Rebellion before they learn their lesson?

Christianity has to be challenged in China with secular and rational thought before it becomes a nation of Bible thumping, cross-burning, proselytizing zombies out to bring back the Spanish Inquisition and send the world back to the 1500s.

June 26, 2008 @ 4:47 am | Comment

One of my chinese language classmates was a Korean who was a devote evangelical christian. She was studying chinese with plans to go to join her husband, a dentist who was working in China. She was very excited about shipping a bunch of bibles to China and spreading the Word. They were both christian missionaries.

Now thinking back to where she said she was headed if maybe she was planning on bringing the word to ethnic Koreans residing north of the Yalu in the PRC.

June 26, 2008 @ 5:29 am | Comment

Once you start giving people choice, especially in who they answer to, that harmony is threatened.

Then, richard, I think you’ll agree it’s a bit late to put the genie back in the bottle given the economic/commerical choice offered to Chinese today.

China already has religious freedom, you’re free to follow China’s well-established religions.

What if you don’t believe in them but want to follow a different faith?

June 26, 2008 @ 5:36 am | Comment

“However Christianity in China is inherently hateful, dogmatic, and aggressive and needs to be treated like a cancer or infection.”

Ferin, you often seem quite hateful, dogmatic, and aggressive… just a little point I thought I should make.

June 26, 2008 @ 5:51 am | Comment

I don’t think hexie means samethink. I think hexie religious practice would mean no sectarian conflict, and a strict ban on the preaching of any sort of message hateful towards pagans or non-believers.

Ironic richard, we seem to be on the same page these days. I know several of the posters here have already found this, but we’re talking about the same topic + Frontline documentary on B4C.

I said something like this earlier: looking at experiences in the West, it seems clear that after nearly 2000 years, violent Christian religious extremism/evangelism is finally on the decline. Secular commercialism (or new-age spiritualism) is decimating dogmatic religious faith in most Western countries. So, maybe China can afford to chill-out a little bit on the issue. But then again, I look at other parts of the world, and the trend isn’t so obvious.

So, what am I gonna say except… we’ll have to wait and watch.

June 26, 2008 @ 6:54 am | Comment

What if you don’t believe in them but want to follow a different faith?

People can believe what they like, but they shouldn’t be allowed to proselytize wacky ideas.

June 26, 2008 @ 7:51 am | Comment

*with wacky ideas

June 26, 2008 @ 7:52 am | Comment

Who defines what is “whacky”? Because no one is whackier than the clowns in the CCP.

June 26, 2008 @ 8:29 am | Comment

Because no one is whackier than the clowns in the CCP.

Um, Chenney, Dubya Bush, Tony Blair, Kissinger, Clintons, the Gang of Four, the FLG fanatics, the violent tibetan Monks, the Zionists…lots actually.

June 26, 2008 @ 9:04 am | Comment

They aren’t worse than Christians.

June 26, 2008 @ 9:05 am | Comment

A lot of bad has been done in the name of Christianity, unfortunately. But the same can be said of almost any worldview or ideology: terrible things have been done in the name of Communism, of Democracy, of Islam, and even of Naturalism. It’s not fair to Christianity, or any other worldview, to look only at the negative aspects. Christianity has done wonderful things for millions of people. As a Christian, I would say that those who led Crusades, lynched homosexuals, and judged others were acting in a manner directly condemned by Christianity as preached by Jesus and the apostles.

However, this isn’t about whether Christianity is good or bad. It’s about freedom of religion, and freedom of speech. Every person has the right to choose for themselves what to believe. When the CCP attempts to control religion, it is putting up a few men over all other men. These select few then enforce their will and opinions upon all the others. Why? What qualifies a Communist Party member as wiser or smarter than the average Chinese person? Ferin argues that Christians shouldn’t be allowed to “proselytize wacky ideas”, but who decided which ideas are “wacky”? You? The CCP? Why can’t average people decide for themselves what is “wacky” and what isn’t? Why do they need your help?

This is one of the fundamental problems I think Westerners have with the CCP: we see it so often talking down in arrogance to the common man, telling him that he isn’t smart enough to make his own decisions, that he needs the government’s help, whether he likes it or not. Ferin, if you think Christianity is “wacky”, that’s OK – you have a right to your opinion. Why can’t you give other people the right to decide for themselves? You’re allowed free reign to proselytize your ideas and the way you see things; why don’t others whom you disagree with have that right?

June 26, 2008 @ 10:23 am | Comment

It’s about freedom of religion

Christianity is against freedom of religion. Few Christianized or Islamized countries ever go back to their traditional religions.

June 26, 2008 @ 10:26 am | Comment

All commenters: please treat ferin’s “hateful, dogmatic, and aggressive” rhetoric as it needs to be treated, “like a cancer or infection,” (at least according to Ferin, perhaps we’re all being a little too soft on him?)

June 26, 2008 @ 11:28 am | Comment

Uh oh, online groupthink and ostracism! Anything but that!

I know most of you are probably theists and Christians(dictated by chance), but try to look at things in a more objective manner.

Christianity and Islam can spread fast and thoroughly because they’re well-funded, proselytization is in the scriptures (by sword too), and because potential apostates face discrimination (understatement) and harassment.

Why can’t you respect China’s indigenous religions? There are enough Christians, no more are needed.

June 26, 2008 @ 1:19 pm | Comment

Ferin, you might be surprised, but despite the fact that I am a gigantic “whitey,” I am not a Christian. Nor am I theist of any sort. (I await a series of expletives and insults towards my wife for undermining ferin’s typical ASS-umptions).
Nevertheless, despite my admittedly “anti-christian” viewpoint on fundamentalist matters, i still exist as a somewhat normal human being and thus recognize many points of value in christianity (ironically, i could find the exact same points in communism, despite my similar unwillingness to subscribe to this ideology).
It’s not as if the majority of Christians are preaching suppression of essential human rights or anything unsavory like that, after all. My somewhat nuanced view of Christianity is in a sense fairly similar to the way in which I think that Mao was a total cockbasket, but still recognize the fact that “to rebel” might as well be “justified” (just not solely on Mao’s terms).
Speaking of rebellion being justified, your comment “Christianity and Islam can spread fast and thoroughly because they’re well-funded, proselytization is in the scriptures (by sword too), and because potential apostates face discrimination (understatement) and harassment” is quite shortsighted, considering your own political sympathies (despite denial). Aren’t Maoism and later “sacred nationalism” manifestations of religious superstition? Doesn’t the same alienation, abstraction, and superstitious piety hold true (perhaps to a much more extreme and even insane degree) for the nationalist ideology for which you serve as a blatant and unapologetic spokesperson?
Oh, don’t worry, I don’t expect a straightforward or honest answer. I just happen to have some free time over the past two days and really enjoy raising your blood pressure a notch with the so-called “foreign” concept of logic, perhaps as a means of helping you to recognize that coherence and reflection might have a role in building the “holy” future Chinese nation.

June 26, 2008 @ 1:44 pm | Comment

Furthermore, I hope that my blatant mockery of your comments about “hateful, dogmatic, and aggressive” Christianity might begin to make you realize something about yourself and your tone on the Internet. Nevertheless, you seem largely shameless in this regard, and my atheistic stance leaves me with no hope. Please show some promise, hallelujah.

June 26, 2008 @ 1:49 pm | Comment

points of value in christianity

These same points of value are also reflected in other belief systems that do not involve concepts of damnation or aren’t as rigid as Christianity.

Doesn’t the same alienation, abstraction, and superstitious piety hold true

To a much lesser extent. But it’s based on what China actually needs to develop itself. Christianity is horrible at worst and just plain stupid at best. Communism at least produces cool T-Shirts.

really enjoy raising your blood pressure a notch

You can’t touch me.

June 26, 2008 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

“You can’t touch me.”
Stop… hammer time!

June 26, 2008 @ 2:34 pm | Comment

People can believe what they like, but they shouldn’t be allowed to proselytize wacky ideas.

You’re missing the point. What if a person doesn’t believe in the pre-Christian faiths in China and wants to follow something like Christianity? And even “indigenous” Chinese faiths were brought to China with people converting the local population from whatever shaministic/etc beliefs they had before.

On the subject of wacky ideas, I’d consider it pretty wacky that after we die we can be reborn as a variety of different things.

June 26, 2008 @ 2:50 pm | Comment

I don’t believe in the Christian notion of god nor am I an athiest. Since no one Can prove the unproofable, I do not want to be labelled.

I’ve always thought of all isms as human notions which over time many are for power and gains misrepresented and turned into religions. I can’t imagine Jesus Christ approving the death of those who persecute those who go to battle for his name’s sake. If anything, like Ghandi, the teaching of Jesus was to let your enemies have the upper hand. Christendom does the very opposite throughout history.

British MP, Galloway hit it on the nail when he said, “The religious believe in the Prophets, Peace be upon them, while Bush & Blair believe in Profits, and how to get a piece of them.”

June 26, 2008 @ 2:56 pm | Comment

I hope Maoism will not turn into another religion if it hasn’t already, it seems, overseas. Communism was an ideal which has proven impractical. There are more Chinese Christians than the population of American. The government will have to include them. Let’s hope these believers will be like Ghandi and Jesus who said, “Render to Ceasar what is Ceasar and God what is God.” If I understand it correctly, Jesus meant, serve the government that God has ordained for you in honor of the very God whom you serve.”

June 26, 2008 @ 3:06 pm | Comment

And even “indigenous” Chinese faiths were brought to China

Talk about cluelessness and arrogance.

There are more Chinese Christians than the population of American.

America’s population is 300 million, not 30 million.

June 26, 2008 @ 3:48 pm | Comment

The link to the video is fixed now – and it is still available here.

June 26, 2008 @ 4:55 pm | Comment

Ferin, You are right. Thanks for the correction. In any case, I hope that religion (whatever kind they may be) will help in spreading good will, tolerance among the society they share and continue to inspire great works of arts. And NOT become the tool of political expediency & imperialist’s exploits.

June 26, 2008 @ 5:11 pm | Comment

Why can’t you give other people the right to decide for themselves?

Historically, societies trapped under religious fundamentalist rule haven’t been able to “decide” very easily or rationally. See Europe until recent centuries, see much of Middle East today.

I don’t think Beijing gets a carte blanche to do anything it wants on freedom of religion, but I do think there should be legal limitations on the extents of religious practice and religious teaching. In other words, it’s not an issue of principal, it’s a matter of pragmatics. How many of you believe parents can deny medical care for their children, out of religious faith? (Or, should children be able to refuse medical care?)

I don’t support the policy of “patriotic” Catholic Church, for example, but I do support the policy of completely secular education for minors.

June 27, 2008 @ 2:00 am | Comment

Without freedom of thought and belief, can a culture give rise to intellectually creative individuals who can make serious contributions to the arts and sciences?

Face it, then. China shall continue to be led by the West in science, technology and culture, like an ox with a ring through its nose, for all eternity. Or until the CCP is got rid of.

June 27, 2008 @ 2:09 am | Comment

Without freedom of thought and belief, can a culture give rise to intellectually creative individuals

History says yes

Face it, then. China shall continue to be led by the West in science, technology and culture

“The West” produced some of its greatest works under a despotic church.. so you’re not making any sense.

June 27, 2008 @ 2:46 am | Comment

I saw the same program and picked out something else entirely. The unofficial house church they documented appeared to be protestant pentacostal groups. Consider if you will the church they compared immediately prior to the official state church which the narrator described as protestant though they appeared to be observing mass so maybe they were episcopalians. The former was filled with lively singing and dancing and was overseen by a female pastor who as they say, was filled with the holy spirit. The latter state church also had the hymns, but it was a much more sombre and formal affair.

When the final person interviewed says that the Communist Party chooses when to be lenient and when to suppress, I don’t think it is arbitrary at all. Rather than targeting institutions, I believe the repression is focused more on charismatic pastors and revivalist movements and by extension much of the protestant evangelical groups. A once a week Lutheran or Presbyterian is one type of Christian, the other is more radicalized and in the eyes of the Communist Party possibly dangerous they are locuses of potential incitement and subversion.

June 27, 2008 @ 3:26 am | Comment

Christianity has to be challenged in China with secular and rational thought before it becomes a nation of Bible thumping, cross-burning, proselytizing zombies out to bring back the Spanish Inquisition and send the world back to the 1500s.

Oh dear you don’t have much faith in your countrymen do you?

Let me take a wild guess and say you probably think Chinese is one of the great world cultures. Most people here probably wouldn’t disagree with you, neither would I. Don’t you think that should at least give you some “faith” that ordinary Chinese people can tell good from bad for themselves. How can a culture be great if most of its people are thought to be children who need to be “protected” from bad ideas?

Who are you suggesting should challenge Christianity with secular and rational thought? The CCP is supposed to stand for secularism and rationality, but their own book-waving proselytizing zombies arrested China’s development and held it back by at least 20 years. I’m not sure a Christian fundamentalist government could be worse than that.

June 27, 2008 @ 11:39 am | Comment

@Tang Buxi

Don’t forget the strict ban on hateful speech also includes any disparagement of the CCP. Hu Jintao’s “Hexie Shehui” basically amounts to a policy of “as long as you don’t directly or indirectly mess with the CCP, you can do what you want (in small numbers)”. I’ve read Hu’s speech introducing this national policy/slogan/buzzword and don’t remember him ever mentioning freedom of religion or how this policy would protect religious practices in the PRC. He seemed more concerned with outlining the history of CCP since Mao Zedong, and mentioning “Hexie Shehui” in the same breath as “Mao Zedong Thought”, “Deng Xiaoping Theory”, and “The Three Represents” in the interest of adding his name to the list. So where are you getting your interpretation of “hexie” from? Your interpretation sounds great, but it seems far from what the CCP means by “hexie shehui”.

June 27, 2008 @ 1:10 pm | Comment

The main reason why the Chinese Central Government has, for the last decade in fact, been encouraging the controlled growth and spread of Christianity, is because the move to a market-based economy has created both an ideological and moral vacuum. Nationalism, which has replaced it, is potentially dangerous, because it can so easily get out of hand, and is very difficult to control. Nationalist chauvanism is a growing problem that the CCP are very much aware of, and are concerned about. They do not encourage it as much as what many China-watchers make out. They exploit it when it suits them, but they also reign it in whenever they sense it getting out of hand. Religion offers not so much an alternative, but rather a complimentary system of belief: it’s socially conservative, can easily be molded to support the needs to the state, and can therefore help to maintain social cohesion and stability. This is why the CCP are encouraging the controlled growth of religion, especially Christianity and Buddhism.

June 27, 2008 @ 2:25 pm | Comment

I said something like this earlier: looking at experiences in the West, it seems clear that after nearly 2000 years, violent Christian religious extremism/evangelism is finally on the decline.

I think the cause is not consumerism, which Christianity is very compatible with, but the two world wars, the worst horrors inflicted on humanity, were policies carried out by Christians in Christian nations. The loss of Xtianity has been especially strong in Europe, where the war actually occurred. Note that the loss of religion has been silent — while observers have noted it, people giving up their religion aren’t militant about it, it slips off. Militant atheism is found only in the US, caused by the still extant population of militant Christians, who did not live through the Holocaust, which totally discredited Christianity as a moral system. The silence, I think, relates to what Paul M. Fussell talked about in _Wartime_, where he has a long discussion of how after WWI, many people wrote about the horrors of war, but WWII was followed by silence, because no one could comprehend or convey its awesome stupid barbarism and moral bankruptcy.

It’s convenient to blame consumerism, but consumerism has always existed side-by-side with religion, each feeding on the other. People participate in their social identities by consumerism — trekkies with star trek paraphenalia, red sox fans with baseball caps, and Christians with christian crosses, cds, etc.

The Christian growth in China is fascinating. The frontline documentary left out, it appears, that much of the “christianity” is highly hybridized with local religious and social thought. I assume that when China becomes a democracy it will all either melt away.

Michael

June 27, 2008 @ 5:28 pm | Comment

The government will have to include them. Let’s hope these believers will be like Ghandi and Jesus who said, “Render to Ceasar what is Ceasar and God what is God.” If I understand it correctly, Jesus meant, serve the government that God has ordained for you in honor of the very God whom you serve.”

Alternatively, the writer of Mark had Jesus say that in a bit of sly inside-outside philosophizing. Don’t all things belong to God? Then we shouldn’t “render unto Caesar” anything.

Michael

June 27, 2008 @ 5:35 pm | Comment

Why can’t you give other people the right to decide for themselves? You’re allowed free reign to proselytize your ideas and the way you see things; why don’t others whom you disagree with have that right?

This is a question that liberals and liberal Christians often ask, and the answer is that word you’ve used in the middle there, proselytize, combined with the fact that religions are exclusive. You can like many kinds of science fiction or haute cuisine, but in belief systems like Christianity or Communism that claim absolute truth and proselytize, acceptance rules out a pluralistic condition of thought. When I turn people on to Isaac Asimov or sashimi, I do not ask that they give up Larry Niven or lasagna. That is not true, though, when I turn people on to Christianity. They must give up Islam or Buddhism or whatever they profess. Liberal Christians instinctively recognize this problem and solve it by generally refraining from prosyletizing. This results in a very strange paradox — decent Christians willing to tolerate other belief systems do not go for converts, leaving the field to the militants bent on stamping out all other forms of belief. The problem of violence lurking in every claim to absolute truth — behind every claim to absolute truth is a sword itching to come out — modern liberal Christians solve by engaging in various forms of relativism.

So should people be free to proselytize? It’s not as cut and dried as you might think. After all, you accept limits on marketing behavior as normal, and on proselytizing as well — for example, in schools and on the job. Gandhi for one thought missionaries ought to be banned.

Ferin has rightly pointed out that Christianity and Communism are essentially the same thing, though it should be observed at different periods of historical development. A Communist Cell is a house church, a pastor a cell leader, a bishop in charge of ensuring dogma is adhered to is the same as a political commissar overseeing doctrine, heaven is the worker’s paradise, god = the objective laws of history, both engage in charity work, etc. The early Christian Church was the world’s first Leninist organization — the Romans had no idea what hit them — and many Churches, such as the JWs and the Mormons, remain avowedly Leninist in their organization. But in the west we had the enlightenment, nationalism, the splintering of Christianity into sects that dislike each other (repeatedly!) and other forces that have made it a spent historical force. Communism is only in the beginning of this phase. Lots of killing still left to go, sadly….

Michael

June 27, 2008 @ 6:02 pm | Comment

Living here in the US, I went to church a few times but I never find Christianity appealing. Christian fundamentalism and Evangelism says put your faith in the lord and put Chinese family, moral and cultural values aside. Many of these Christians choose to associate with themselves and not those who does not share their faith, or with with non-believers, even within their own family or with other Christian Churches.

The atate sponsored church TSPM incorporates Christianity while respecting the Chinese values, as they stress less on faith rather on their great deeds that can contribute to Jesus Christ. Whereas Christian Evangelism and Fundamentalism cares so much about spreading their blind faith that they are willing to take in murderers, rapists, and thieves into their flock as long as they ‘surrender’ to JC. In fact, what is so revolutionary about TSPM recognizes that other Christians have used their religion to justify slavery, imperalism, waging wars, etc… and asked them not to use Christianity to follow that path. Is this why even the Pope does not condone this kind of CCP sponsored Christianity?

June 27, 2008 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

When the final person interviewed says that the Communist Party chooses when to be lenient and when to suppress, I don’t think it is arbitrary at all. Rather than targeting institutions, I believe the repression is focused more on charismatic pastors and revivalist movements and by extension much of the protestant evangelical groups.

Please note that Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham, who now heads his organization, has been a long time “friend of China”. He’s been invited to preach in Beijing, and works closely with the government in numerous ways.

June 28, 2008 @ 1:17 am | Comment

@Andy,

I was referring to my perceptions of what hexie would mean in a religious context, not a comprehensive definition of hexie. (And if you don’t think the CCP is “criticized” in China today, I can only assume you don’t visit the Chinese blogs and forums that I do.)

@Michael,

I think the decline of Christian influence in politics and life predates the 20th century by a long shot. The Enlightenment was really the beginning of the end, and we’re only seeing the results today.

June 28, 2008 @ 1:21 am | Comment

“Please note that Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham, who now heads his organization, has been a long time “friend of China”. He’s been invited to preach in Beijing, and works closely with the government in numerous ways.”

So what? Is he a “friend of China” the way Lisa Carducci is? Ignoring Hu Jia and his family and clapping at the Beijing Olympics? Preaching “harmony” while Chinese people are arrested and put into prison for speaking their minds? Working closely with the government like Phil we-all-freaking-love-him Cunningham?

June 28, 2008 @ 6:17 am | Comment

@Tang Buxi alias CCTV

“I was referring to my perceptions of what hexie would mean in a religious context, not a comprehensive definition of hexie.”

Care to tell us what your perceptions of hexie are? Like shooting people in their backs and then call it a civil war?

“And if you don’t think the CCP is “criticized” in China today, I can only assume you don’t visit the Chinese blogs and forums that I do.”

I assume that you, the ultimate China expert, have spent less time in China during the last ten years than I have. And I’m waiting for you to prove me wrong, great China expert Tang Buxi alias CCTV.

June 28, 2008 @ 6:28 am | Comment

mor, please don’t compare Phil Cunningham to Lisa Carducci.

Phil is far more intelligent and articulate than Carducci, and even if you disagree with many of his insights and views, he at least expresses himself articulately, always formulating his arguments with intelligence. Lisa Carducci on the other hand, produces the crudest pro-CCP propaganda that I have ever come across, the quality of which is even worse than what one used to find on the pages of the China Daily ten years ago.

I have just set up a simple little website/blog called China Book Reviews, and I decided to choose the worst book about China that I have ever come across to kick start my site. It was a book by Lisa Carducci. It was published quite a few years ago now, but I found a copy in a bookstore here in Los Angeles only a few weeks ago, and man, what a shocker! It’s so crude and poorly written, that it had me laughing all the way through: the United States is evil and is full of fat people, whereas China is already a great utopia, and the Tibetans she describes as being so happy that they “sing” while they work!

Na! Please don’t compare Cunningham with Carducci. They’re miles apart in terms of intellect.

June 28, 2008 @ 7:39 am | Comment

I don’t think he made a direct comparison between Carducci and Cunning-ham (whom I sometimes admire for his intelligence and eloquence, but who often rubs me totally the wrong way for his China good/US bad tilt).

Tang, Michael cited the Enlightenment as one of the milestones in the decline of Christianity.

Tang is right, you can criticize the government here nowadays – but always with limitations. Which is why it’s so terrifying when every once in a while they take drastic action against such people and throw them in jail for years. That’s increasingly rare, but knowing they can it do helps keep people’s jaws from flapping too much. This is the most horrifying example I know, and a painful reminder that any criticism of the CCP, at least by Chinese citizens, must be done very cautiously.

June 28, 2008 @ 11:20 am | Comment

Richard, Phil’s good China/bad America stance is annoying, I agree. He makes some valid criticisms of my homeland, and its human rights violations (like what we’ve done to the people of Iraq) and sure, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. But then, surely human rights violations ought to be attacked wherever they occur? Phil has an annoying habit of deflecting criticisms against China with his, “oh wait, who are you to criticize?” type posturing.

Your views Richard, seem to me to well balanced, but some of your readers here, I notice, are too one-sided. They’re either way too critical of China (some remind me of Jason Lee – no relation of mine – whose most recent book on China I have just finished reviewing for my blog) or they are way too celebratory of China (some here remind me of Lisa Carducci in the way they mindlessly parrot the CPP line). I think it’s more useful to offer up balanced assessments of a country, rather than digging up evidence selectively to support in the extreme a particular view.

June 28, 2008 @ 11:37 am | Comment

I know, I have some very opinionated readers. :-)

June 28, 2008 @ 12:04 pm | Comment

Just read your reviews Jason Lee, and so I’m here to tell you that here in the UK, Will Hutton is widely regarded as a true champ! Yet in your review, Jason Lee, you suggest that he is too one-sided, not unlike John Lee and some of the opinionated contributors to this blog. Either you believe in the universiality of Enlightenment values and institutions, or you don’t. One really shouldn’t sit on the fence. To stand by and watch others suffer the indignity of human rights violations is fundamentally immoral and cowardly. I applaud writers like Hutton and Lee, and congratulate bloggers like mor – all people brave enough to speak out by taking sides – the side of democracy, rule of law, and universal human rights.

June 28, 2008 @ 12:37 pm | Comment

@Michael Turton
“the Romans had no idea what hit them ”

Interesting post.

Sometimes I think that the prosecution of Christians in Roman empire were an act… of self defense!

On the other hand, I think another reason for the triumph of Christianity at that time was that it covered the spiritual and existential needs of the common people better than the traditional religions or the state religion based on worshiping the Emperor. (Eerily similarity with CH)

I think in CH Christianity and other religions are expanding because of the same circumstances. Need of people to cover their spiritual and existential needs, no longer done by the CCP.

When living in a harsh environment, religion bring some much needed relief, but sometimes there are bad side effects too.. We all in EU know.

June 28, 2008 @ 3:43 pm | Comment

As Richard already pointed out, it wasn’t my intention to make a direct comparison between Carducci and Cunningham. I totally agree with Jason Lee that Phil Cunningham is much more intelligent and articulate than Lisa Carducci ever will be. They have something in common, though. They are both what the CCP calls “friends of China”, in other words friends of the CCP. As a matter of fact, it is people like Cunningham who sometimes manage to make me angry, while people like Carducci just give me a good laugh. Actually, thinking about it, it does make me angry that people like her get the Chinese green card, while others who have been living and working in the PRC for years and contributed a lot to the development of China, are not eligible. And to avoid any misunderstandings: I’m not saying Lisa Carducci shouldn’t get the green card, but I think it’s unfair that she is one of a few chosen people, especially as she got it for writing crap books.

June 28, 2008 @ 8:04 pm | Comment

Talking about opinionated readers/bloggers, I totally agree with small fry. There’s no sitting on the fence. Either you believe in certain values like fundamental human rights or you don’t. As a human being you have opinions and you should stand by them.

June 28, 2008 @ 8:09 pm | Comment

Bold talk from above, “(a)s a human being you have opinions and you should stand by them”, and to what degree of pain are you prepared to maintain so? Pain not only to yourself but to family, friends and fellow travelers, and despite the fact that others (actually most of the mainland Chinese who have overwhelmingly granted the Party tacit consent to govern) share your stubborness to stand by contrary opinion antagonistic to your own. You also complain that “it does make me angry that people like (the propagandists euphemistically awarded as’friends of China’) get the Chinese green card, while others who have been living and working in the PRC for years and contributed a lot to the development of China, are not eligible.” You insist on a principle at odds with the practices of the governing authority of the country you’ve chosen to live in, vent your frustrations right and left in an internet forum by exchanging inanities with government shills, yet insinuate you’re among those who have “contributed a lot to the development of China” and should be awarded permanent residency. That’s some nerve ya’ got there.

June 28, 2008 @ 8:42 pm | Comment

@Scott Loar

First of all, you probably missed this part of my above comment: “Talking about opinionated readers/bloggers,…” We were talking about exchanging opinions on this blogsite, not demonstrating on TAM square. If you want to join an already ongoing conversation, you should first ask people what they are talking about (or maybe just read the whole comment before you reply to it).

Secondly, when I talked about “others who have been living and working in the PRC for years and contributed a lot to the development of China” I wasn’t referring to myself. Whenever I talk about myself, I do that in no uncertain terms. I don’t insinuate things and I really hate it when others try to be smart by deliberately misinterpreting what I said. I never said (or insinuated) that I should be awarded permanent residency in any country. I don’t need that, because I live in the country I was born in. I was just saying that there are people who deserve the Chinese green card at least as much or even more than Lisa Carducci, but they didn’t get it so far, because they didn’t write crap books about how great China and how bad America is.

Third, if you don’t like our “exchanging inanities”, just don’t read the comments section of this blog-site. You know, there are a zillion other websites you can go to. Or maybe you could shut down your computer, go out, get some fresh air and enjoy the summer. You’ve got some nerve, entering an ongoing discussion, not saying anything on the topic, but attacking me instead, without even knowing what I am talking about.

June 28, 2008 @ 9:17 pm | Comment

@Scott Loar

One more thing, since you were referring to my comments as “bold talk”. You said:

“(actually most of the mainland Chinese who have overwhelmingly granted the Party tacit consent to govern)”

Now that’s a bold statement, and I would really like to know if you have anything to back it up with. How do you know that the majority of mainland Chinese people give the CCP tacit consent? How can you be so sure, especially when we are talking about TACIT consent? That’s some nerve ya’got there, I gotta give ya’ that.

June 28, 2008 @ 9:23 pm | Comment

Point by weary point:

You are an opinionated reader/blogger who gets contradictory and antagonistic remarks from equally opinionated readers/bloggers so stop bitching.

Surely it’s up to the governing authorities to determine who gets permanent residency for whatever reason even if that doesn’t meet the expectations of one blogger “Mor”.

My remarks to you do criticize the devolution of a thread into an exchange of inanities by disaffected foreigners with angry youth and government shills. The last comment of worth here was posted by Paul Denlinger. Yes, it does seem a waste of time answering you but I’ll give you the courtesy of a reply; also, it’s been raining here for a long while so I’m deprived of your suggested relief of a sunny day.

How do I know the CCP rules by the tacit consent of the governed? Surely you can’t be so dumb to that fact, so self-absorbed by your own opinions that you haven’t read or listened to the overwhelming majority of mainland Chinese. Individuals may complain about aspects of rule but they do not advocate radical social change (local disturbances remain local and unaligned, and note that in almost all instances those aggrieved seek redress from the Party) and Heaven forbid any change affects the economy! They don’t want deliverance, they want advancement by the very Party that has kicked foreigners out of China and restored sovereignty of its borders, united the mainland by suppressing division, restored China’s self-esteem by gaining respect in the international community, and can meet or exceed the achievements of the most advanced countries, even as simple as 富國強兵(wealthy nation, strong military). Co-operation with the Party is financially rewarded and dissent from orthodoxy such as you dumbly advocate is well-nigh universally scorned but… say, why don’t you just ask mainland Chinese themselves your foolish question?

June 29, 2008 @ 5:53 am | Comment

Mor, my impression from talking to countless mainlanders is that the fair majority support the present one-party system. Sure, they complain a lot about particular government policies, but I have met only a few who have said that they would like to see the demise of the CCP. Such anecdotal evidence is supported by the research findings of the Taiwanese scholar, Tianjian Shi, whose research was discussed a few years ago at the 32nd Sino-American Conference on Contemporary China in Taiwan. Shi’s survey found that, after decades of market-oriented reform and rapid growth in China, the interest of ordinary citizens in democratic reform and democratic institutions “remains shallow” and that “a large minority believe that democracy will not solve China’s problems, and only a very small fraction favor multi-party elections to choose national leaders.”

Shi, commentator Minxin Pei and other participants in the conference, offered explanations for the current lack of popular pressure or apparent preference for democratic change, the most important of which they identified as being “the populace’s emphasis on economic development over democracy (with nearly half declaring development more important and only one-fifth saying democracy was more important).” The second most significant factor they identified was “popular satisfaction with the substantial increases, compared to pre-reform era baselines, in civil liberties other than democratic participation,” followed by “the Party’s continuing dominance of organized politics and capacity for manipulating public opinion.”

The argument then, that the majority of Chinese mainlanders are ready for democracy, simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, and the claim that the majority currently want multi-party elections is simply not supported by the existing evidence either. It is a reasonable assertion to make then – to say that the fair majority of mainlanders give tacit support to one-party rule.

I think we both agree that Cunningham is more of an intellect than Carducci. Have you read my review of her book? I agree, she writes, as you say, “crap”.

When it comes to fence-sitting on the issue of human rights – I think, judging from that comments here, that you and small fry take a line very similar to that espoused by China watchers such as Will Hutton, Minxin Pei and John Lee (whose book, Will China Fall? I have just reviewed on my site). All of these writers are pressimists of Enlightenment. I say this because they judge other countries, including developing countries, by the standards created by their own institutions – parliamentary democracy, a “free” press, the rule of law, universal human rights, etc. They fail to recognize that (a) these institutions are in fact evolving on the mainland of China at quite an impressive rate, and (b) that there are other legitimate forms of governance apart from democracy – a view that over recent years has been gaining in currency among academia. Consider Jack Gray’s “Enlightenment’s Wake” or Daniel Bell’s “Beyond Liberal Democracy” for example. “The liberal project of stating, and enforcing, universal limits on governmental power, especially when it is coercive,” writes Gray, “amounts to the prescription that a single form of political order be everywhere installed regardless of the cultural traditions and ways of life of its subjects.” (pp.210-211) That political orders should be vessels for the transmission of ways of life across the generations, and that the forms of government may legitimately vary according to the cultures of the peoples they serve, are propositions rejected by the pessimists of Enlightenment.

Surely the assessment of any regime should be based on whether or not it enables its subjects to coexist in a Hobbesian peace while renewing their distinctive forms of common life? By this standard, China’s one-party system is serving a reasonable majority of its people quite well, although, as John Lee and Minxin Pei and others have very rightly pointed out, many are nevertheless suffering, and it’s important, I agree, not to lose sight of such disturbing facts.

To recognize that Enlightenment values are not universal, including notions of human rights, is not to position oneself on the fence. It simply means assessing the overall results of whatever system is in place, and on the basis that legitimate alternatives to Western notions of democracy, human rights etc., can and do exist. When you look at the Chinese system, as it presently is, one sees both positive and negative outcomes. How the overall balance sheet looks like depends on how selective one is with the available evidence – this I have discovered after reading more than one hundred books on today’s China. The question isn’t whether the glass is half empty or half full, but whether is is in the process of being filled or emptied. Even on this question, the pessimists of Enlightenment claim the glass is being emptied (John Lee in particular argues this). Others, like Guthrie, in his book “China and Globalization”, argues the opposite, as does Randall Peerenboom in his book “China Modernizes” and Hugo de Burgh in his book, “China – friend or foe?” The United Nations Human Development reports, as well as the United Nations human rights reports on China, also indicate that the glass is in the process of being filled, rather than emptied.

Being fair and balanced in one’s assessments, shouldn’t be equated with moral relativism.

June 29, 2008 @ 7:29 am | Comment

For a practicable alternative to the Western-style government and values (most especially the notion of human rights) now so soundly reviled by China look to where parliamentary democracy has been trumped by that model of Chinese administration called Singapore, and where rule by law has successfully replaced rule of law. It is to Singapore that the CCP sends its cadres for courses in state management.

June 29, 2008 @ 7:48 am | Comment

@Scott Loar

“Point by weary point:

You are an opinionated reader/blogger who gets contradictory and antagonistic remarks from equally opinionated readers/bloggers so stop bitching.”

Aren’t you the cutest? First, you attack me without even knowing what I’m talking about and when I give you a reply you accuse me of “bitching”.

“Surely it’s up to the governing authorities to determine who gets permanent residency for whatever reason even if that doesn’t meet the expectations of one blogger “Mor”.”

Surely it’s up to me to agree or disagree with a government policy and write comments about it or not. What’s your point?

“My remarks to you do criticize the devolution of a thread into an exchange of inanities by disaffected foreigners with My remarks to you do criticize the devolution of a thread into an exchange of inanities by disaffected foreigners with angry youth and government shills. The last comment of worth here was posted by Paul Denlinger. Yes, it does seem a waste of time answering you but I’ll give you the courtesy of a reply; also, it’s been raining here for a long while so I’m deprived of your suggested relief of a sunny day.. The last comment of worth here was posted by Paul Denlinger. Yes, it does seem a waste of time answering you but I’ll give you the courtesy of a reply; also, it’s been raining here for a long while so I’m deprived of your suggested relief of a sunny day.”

Who’s bitching now? I apologize for not being up to the high standards established by you and Mr. Denlinger. You know I’m just an ignorant European troll with too much time on my hands. And I’m really sorry that I (and the bad weather) forced you to spend (waste) your Saturday reading inane comments. Let me guess, you are stuck in some middle school in the Chinese countryside, your umbrella is broken (Chinese fabricate), the box of books your family was supposed to send hasn’t arrived yet, you don’t understand Chinese TV and so the only option on a rainy weekend is getting online. And since the Great Fire Wall has blocked all the interesting stuff, you have no choice but to read stupid exchanges of arguments between European trolls like me and angry youth/government shills (I can only guess whom you were talking about here. You sure do sound angry to me and the way you criticize me for speaking my mind about certain policies of the Chinese government is not that far from being a CCP shill.)

“How do I know the CCP rules by the tacit consent of the governed? Surely you can’t be so dumb to that fact, so self-absorbed by your own opinions that you haven’t read or listened to the overwhelming majority of mainland Chinese.”

Now we are back to calling each other “dumb” and “self-absorbed”

June 29, 2008 @ 4:01 pm | Comment

@Scott Loar

“Point by weary point:

You are an opinionated reader/blogger who gets contradictory and antagonistic remarks from equally opinionated readers/bloggers so stop bitching.”

Aren’t you the cutest? First, you attack me without even knowing what I’m talking about and when I give you a reply you accuse me of “bitching”.

“Surely it’s up to the governing authorities to determine who gets permanent residency for whatever reason even if that doesn’t meet the expectations of one blogger “Mor”.”

Surely it’s up to me to agree or disagree with a government policy and write comments about it or not. What’s your point?

“My remarks to you do criticize the devolution of a thread into an exchange of inanities by disaffected foreigners with angry youth and government shills. The last comment of worth here was posted by Paul Denlinger. Yes, it does seem a waste of time answering you but I’ll give you the courtesy of a reply; also, it’s been raining here for a long while so I’m deprived of your suggested relief of a sunny day.”

Who’s bitching now? I apologize for not being up to the high standards established by you and Mr. Denlinger. You know I’m just an ignorant European troll with too much time on my hands. And I’m really sorry that I (and the bad weather) forced you to spend (waste) your Saturday reading inane comments. Let me guess, you are stuck in some middle school in the Chinese countryside, your umbrella is broken (Chinese fabricate), the box of books your family was supposed to send hasn’t arrived yet, you don’t understand Chinese TV and so the only option on a rainy weekend is getting online. And since the Great Fire Wall has blocked all the interesting stuff, you have no choice but to read stupid exchanges of arguments between European trolls like me and angry youth/government shills (I can only guess whom you were talking about here. You sure do sound angry to me and the way you criticize me for speaking my mind about certain policies of the Chinese government is not that far from being a CCP shill.)

“How do I know the CCP rules by the tacit consent of the governed? Surely you can’t be so dumb to that fact, so self-absorbed by your own opinions that you haven’t read or listened to the overwhelming majority of mainland Chinese.”

Are we back to calling each other “dumb” and “self-absorbed” now? That certainly will help stopping “the devolution of a thread into an exchange of inanities” you were bitching about. You know, I’m just a mortal human being so I won’t have enough time to listen to “the overwhelming majority of mainland Chinese”, in other words, over 50% of 1.3 billion people.

“Individuals may complain about aspects of rule but they do not advocate radical social change (local disturbances remain local and unaligned, and note that in almost all instances those aggrieved seek redress from the Party) and Heaven forbid any change affects the economy! They don’t want deliverance, they want advancement by the very Party that has kicked foreigners out of China and restored sovereignty of its borders, united the mainland by suppressing division, restored China’s self-esteem by gaining respect in the international community, and can meet or exceed the achievements of the most advanced countries, even as simple as 富國強兵(wealthy nation, strong military).”

You’ll have to try a little harder if you want to write for China Daily, but I think you are on the right way. Now, I really would like to know, where and in what respect China exceeds (or even comes close to) the most advanced countries? Rule of law? Social security? Protection of the environment? Standard of living?

“Co-operation with the Party is financially rewarded and dissent from orthodoxy such as you dumbly advocate is well-nigh universally scorned but… say, why don’t you just ask mainland Chinese themselves your foolish question?”

Which question are you talking about now?

June 29, 2008 @ 4:26 pm | Comment

Sorry for the double post. Must have touched the wrong key while I wasn’t finished yet. Maybe I’m really “dumb” when it comes to using a computer?

June 29, 2008 @ 4:33 pm | Comment

A little Mor goes a long way.

Thanks for repeating my post even if separating the paragraphs with your ejaculations but I think most readers here get my points rather easily. Your imaginings about my situation are way off, I am gainfully employed thank you and not by the will or leave of anyone but myself, and your failure to understand the most basic fact of CCP rule – that it does so by the tacit consent of the governed – becomes for you a question that myself and the careful, detailed explanations of another poster just can’t get through your befuddled head. Lacking common sense and being insensitive or dead to feelings and perception is fair comment on you and that, Mor, is the state of “stupidity”.

June 29, 2008 @ 5:03 pm | Comment

@Jason Lee

“Mor, my impression from talking to countless mainlanders is …”

See, choice of words can make a big difference. You didn’t state it as a matter of fact which only dumb and self-absorbed people can’t see, you said it was your impression and I’d say a lot of people share that impression. There is no doubt that many, actually very many mainland Chinese people grant the party tacit consent, but I would always be careful with the word “most” as in “over 50%”. It might really be the majority, but how can we be so sure? There is one thing I’m certain of. The people in the CCP are not so sure if they have the consent of the overwhelming majority. That’s why they are so nervous and insecure, that’s why harmless people are thrown into prison for speaking their minds.

“I have met only a few who have said that they would like to see the demise of the CCP.”

Tell me, if you lived under an authoritarian system and you wished the demise of the government, would you go around and tell others?

“The argument then, that the majority of Chinese mainlanders are ready for democracy,”

I won’t make such a statement – see above!

Talking about imposing our standards on other countries, I’ve said it before and I say it once more: I do not judge the Chinese government by “Western” or European standards, but only by their own standards and they still suck.

“Surely the assessment of any regime should be based on whether or not it enables its subjects to coexist in a Hobbesian peace while renewing their distinctive forms of common life? By this standard, China’s one-party system is serving a reasonable majority of its people quite well, although, as John Lee and Minxin Pei and others have very rightly pointed out, many are nevertheless suffering, and it’s important, I agree, not to lose sight of such disturbing facts.”

In all due respect, go and see the parents of the school children who were buried under tofu buildings, the people who have to die of cancer because the environment they live in is polluted, the people who work seven days a week and if they lose a hand or an arm in a machine they can look forward to a life of begging on the street, the people who sit in prison for doing what we are doing right know, go and tell them about Hobbesian peace!

Having said that, I agree with you that the glass is being filled. It takes a long time, because it’s being filled by a very shaky hand, so a lot of water gets spilled, but they keep filling it.

“Being fair and balanced in one’s assessments, shouldn’t be equated with moral relativism.”

And having an opinion shouldn’t be equated with being stubborn and one-sided. You see, the problem is that everybody thinks of himself as fair and balanced. How many people do you know who admit that they are biased and prejudiced?

June 29, 2008 @ 5:04 pm | Comment

@Scott Loar

Thanks for that fast reply! I really wish I was as eloquent and sophisticated as you are! Maybe some day you’ll find the time to actually read my comments and try to understand them and then you can write a reply that actually addresses the points I have made.

June 29, 2008 @ 5:12 pm | Comment

I would like to direct everybody’s attention to this statement by Scott Loar:

“The last comment of worth here was posted by Paul Denlinger.”

Maybe I’m missing something here, but as far as I can see, Paul Denlinger posted only one comment and that was No. 2!!!

So, everybody else, including administrators Richard and Raj, can you please stop exchanging inanities and start posting comments of worth? I mean, worth Mr. Loar’s precious time on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Have a little mercy, here! The man is “gainfully employed”, but he can’t afford a DVD player – or books, for that matter. He’s desperately looking for some intellectually challenging entertainment on the Internet and you keep boring him with your unworthy, dumb comments. Shame on you!!!

June 29, 2008 @ 5:41 pm | Comment

@Buxi

Probably not all, but obviously we share some :) . It is the anonymity of Chinese protest that annoys me, and I know the Chinese are well convinced that the “the first bird to stick its neck out is the one that is slaughtered”. I’m repeating myself here (See my response to Ming in the next post), but the anonymity (and its relegation to the Internet) of Chinese protest automatically weakens its effect. This kind of protest until now has also been easily quelled/controlled by the government when it comes to domestic issues. That being said, we have seen what these anonymous net protests can (or have been allowed to) build into when they are in the CCP’s interests such as the embassy bombing, Japanese textbooks, the Olympic torch debacle etc. Can you name a domestic issue that was allowed to build so much steam on the internet that it lead to countrywide protests of the same fervor? I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Point being whether people can criticize the government on the Internet or not, their anonymity insures that their voices will be manipulated and ultimately silenced.

June 30, 2008 @ 7:06 pm | Comment

>>All commenters: please treat ferin’s “hateful, dogmatic, and aggressive”
>>rhetoric as it needs to be treated, “like a cancer or infection,” (at least
>>according to Ferin, perhaps we’re all being a little too soft on him?)

Well said! I totally agree. Ferin is hateful. Just ignore him.

June 30, 2008 @ 11:05 pm | Comment

I am a Chinese Christian who used to worship at a church Christian before coming to America. The Frontline documentary is well done. As a reader pointed out in this blog, the house church congregations documented were mostly Pentacostal. I assure that most house church groups that I know of are normal evangelical Christians. Some members are average every people. Some groups are mainly educated college students and teachers. Persecutions against house church Christians still exist but a lot less than the 80′s and 90′s. The three-self government church doesn’t have “life.” They usually lack the essence of Christian faith – they are not allowed by CCP to preach the sin of man or the idea of hell. It’s definitely a government’s way of controlling its citizens.

June 30, 2008 @ 11:11 pm | Comment

Very interesting that Scott Liar has nothing to say to my responses to his hateful posts. Guess, he is running out of arguments. Maybe Phil Cunningham and Lisa Carducci are on holiday and can’t provide him with arguments right now.

July 4, 2008 @ 7:08 am | Comment

Mor, try to learn from example, such as below.

Marc, please go to Not Exactly Jesus in China (http://shanghaiscrap.com/?p=850) on Shanghai Scrap* by Adam Minter for a critical review of that Frontline documentary which disserves the Church in China and misserves undertanding by “tell(ing) an incomplete story that distorts a more complicated reality”.

*Apologies to the hosts if referencing another blog site is bad show.

July 4, 2008 @ 8:59 am | Comment

What does that have to do with anything I said? We weren’t even discussing Jesus or Not Exactly Jesus in China. You know what’s bad show? Not to address any of the points I have made and then change the topic, because you’re running out of arguments.

July 6, 2008 @ 3:41 pm | Comment

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