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China's Christians
China Steps Up the War on the Cross
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  • Kevin

    Ironically the current pope might be quite sympathetic to a regime the pursued greater economic and political centralization, especially if it’s making the right noises about various trendy topics like global warming. He is however more vocal on suppression of Christians. So I wonder if Beijing is mistaking their fear of John Paul II’s actions into clamping down on Chritianity and making enemies where they cook have had friends.

    More broadly, Chinese Chritianity, and especially its Protestant variations, seem to have been quite supportive of the state and its aims – promoting civic morality and economic development. It focused on promoting the material and spiritual advancement of its members rather than remaking society.

  • FriendlyGoat

    I wish that Xi and his bureaucrats had a clear understanding of the difference between Christianity and Islam, and I suspect they don’t. How would they?

    • f1b0nacc1

      They don’t see the difference because from their point of view there isn’t one. Both represent challenges to the supreme power of the Party…NOTHING else is relevant in their eyes.

      • FriendlyGoat

        You’re probably right, but maybe “someone” could ask them to notice that the presence of Christianity helped make America an exceptional nation and the presence of Islam has, in modern times, made several countries into chaotic messes.

        • f1b0nacc1

          I don’t know how much experience you have had with the Chinese leadership (particularly those who are well-connected, or high up in the Party hierarchy), but for the most part they barely regard us (Americans) as human, much less exceptional. The standard Chinese line (and of course you can find many individual Chinese who don’t buy into this crap, but I am referring to the leadership here, a very different group indeed) is that the West in general (and America in particular) are simply a group of usurpers who have pushed China from its rightful place as the center of the world.
          While I absolutely agree with your assessment of the relative merits of Christianity and Islam, getting them (the Chinese leadership) to differentiate between what many of them see as some odd little cults that we indulge in is likely asking too much.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, I don’t have ANY experience with Chinese leadership, or the Party, or anyone well-connected. I have heard Jack Ma make a few remarks, I know the Chinese have a horrendous history with their communism last century, I know they are manufacturing everything under the sun and shipping it here, I know they have 4 times the people we have in about the same land mass as the USA, I know they HAVE TO have appreciated what some measure of capitalism is doing for them and we could all imagine that they have a sense of national pride like we do. I also know they are in permanent competition to us on just about everything.

            Whether they think we are at all exceptional maybe doesn’t matter. They have to know we have been mostly leading the world for 100 years (even though not as much as time goes by) and that we did it without Christian religion and churches ruining everything. The Party would do well to listen to their Christians rather than mistreat them, in my opinion. Religion that is not the “wildfire” of extremism is positive for a country.
            And not everything in small-s socialism is bad. The two could go hand in hand there and I would wish that for the people. It would keep the modern communism getting better instead of falling back.

          • f1b0nacc1

            So, you acknowledge that you know pretty much nothing about China, but that they HAVE to have appreciated what some measure of capitalism is doing for them. Got it
            You should read more of their own publications (there are plenty of translations available, I confess I do not read Chinese, but if you read multiple translations, you can typically filter out the misrepresentations), talk to some Chinese, and if possible actually read the public statements of the own leadership. Most of what you have suggested (some of it reasonable, some less so) is simply ignored by most Chinese or if not, dismissed out of hand. Perhaps that is a mistake for them, but it is pretty much precisely what they do.
            Pro tip: stick to Taylor Swift (met her once, she is a very smart capitalist) and drop the socialism…

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m not arguing that there are not people in the Communist Party of China who want to deny reality. But we can’t assume that 1.3 billion people are going to remain completely stupid to the facts that both capitalism and Christianity have already helped them. They are going to keep going forward by fits and starts. They can’t go back and play like they are North Korea, and I don’t think they will.

            As for Taylor, she is a money machine and has been very smart about handling her songwriting, career and organization. I think you’re implying above that she’s more conservative-leaning than there is any evidence to support.

          • f1b0nacc1

            The Chinese (and not just the Party here….this is a widespread view in the country) are not necessarily hostile to the West (though there is plenty of that), but they are clearly not impressed by it either. The idea that Christianity has anything to offer them is problematic (remember, there are a GREAT many Christians in China, despite active government opposition and oppression), and as far as capitalism goes, you would be hard pressed to find a more aggressive group of free-marketers than the Chinese. All of that is utterly irrelevant to the conversation that we were having (which was about whether or not the Chinese government would differentiate between Islam and Christianity…they don’t and wont on any meaningful level). More to the point the Chinese are intensely nationalistic to a degree that few in the West acknowledge, they tend to regard us as clever monkeys, but not truly people who need to be listened to. This is a deep cultural thread that doesn’t require suppression of news from the West (though just what do you think the Great Firewall is for, anyway?), but instead tends to reinforce the Party’s policies.
            As for Ms Swift, she is far too clever to mix politics into her music (her target audience are teenage girls…possibly the least political entities on the planet!), and in fact I have no idea whether she is conservative, liberal, or otherwise. She IS, on the other hand, an extremely talented businesswoman (she has been nothing less than brilliant with her choices of investment priorities, and the direction comes from her, not just her managers), and is very clearly about making money first, last, and always.

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