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Jun 25

A Discussion On Religion in China

Written by Oli on Wednesday, June 25th, 2008 at 2:16 am
Filed under:Analysis, culture, q&a | Tags:, ,
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This is a continuation of the discussion from the June 14th 2008 blog entry “Chocolate City” – Africans seek their dreams in China“, an article originally published in The Southern Metropolis Daily Jan 2008. Because of axes and grinding the discussion morphed from a debate about race relations in China to one about religions in China. As I have been invited to turn it into a blog entry and the issue of religions in China appears topical, I am posting the extract from my comments and other posters’ responses and questions, sans editing (apart from my own extract’s typos).

Please Note: I am a newbie at blogging and nor am I a full- time blogger. Any perceived expletives occurred in the heat of passion(ate) (debate), as these things are wont to happen and I beg readers’ indulgence.


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The Extract

Oli Says:
June 19th, 2008 at 3:31 pm

So we have moved from race to religion now have we? My, some people do have a very big axe to grind and I wonder what carrying around such a big axe all the time does to a person’s mental health and rationality particularly when one is prone to using sweeping generalisations.

@ FOARP & Anon

“Metrics of religious freedom” depends on who commission these reports/statistical analysis, their motivations and agenda, what are its criteria, parameters, interpretative methodology etc. Consequently, anybody can play these absurd statistical games. Survey companies and statistical analysts/researchers/”scientists” churn out such “studies” by the busload every week to say what partisan/marketing/interest groups want it to say, such that it all becomes so much “marketing”, hypercritical BS.

In China, with its 50+ ethnic groups and corresponding religious and cultural practices, people pretty much practice whatever religion/belief system they want within the privacy of their own homes, subject to certain legal restraints and exclusions, some of which are no different from other countries’ and some that are specific to China’s own socio-political circumstances, evolution and perceived needs.

If you are born into a family of certain religious convictions and continue that belief/practice or you seek to join certain legally recognised religion of your own volition or seek to individually convert, there are no existing ban stopping you from doing so. But, the biggest NO NO is the ban on public proselytising, preaching, actively seeking converts and the politicisation of religion.

Such restrictions/rejections didn’t began with the Communists, but have always been both part of Chinese culture and were at one time or another formalised in its legal code or by imperial edict. The reasons are manifold and some of it includes maintaining social peace (imagine the fuss Chinese Muslims or Tibetan Buddhists will kick up if some happy-clappy American/S. Korean missionaries publicly and loudly set up shop in their neighbourhood and seek to convert their youth) and other Chinese’ cultural disdain for their children to join a celibate clergy, whether of the Buddhist or Christian persuasion, because of a perceived duty/importance to continue the family name/line and to have progenitors, especially under the one-child policy.

Nor are such restrictions/ban unique to China. Turkey bans the wearing of the head scarf in certain circumstances, Malaysia bans the seeking of Muslim converts, certain US states ban the practice of religious polygamy (I would love to see them go after the Saudi princes, no wait oil is at stake) and same sex marriages. Ireland bans abortion on religious grounds (if you are pro-choice), the UK generally allows abortion (if you are pro-life), Germany imposes a church tax on everybody irrespective of their religion and the list goes on, including bureaucratic or judicial mechanism for the automatic banning of cults that are deemed not conducive to public health or interests.

As different religions have always been practised in China and for the sake of social stability and efficiency, Chinese governments have always maintained and insisted on its legal and political supremacy over any religious/spiritual institutions. And this was so even long before the idea of a separation of state and church and parliamentary/legislative supremacy was but a twinkle in the eyes of Voltaire (a fan of Confucian rationalism), Rousseau, Bacon and the French/Scottish revolutionaries of the European Enlightenment period.

Because of historical experiences and competing religions, China’s peoples, particularly the majority Han Chinese have always been too pragmatic and cynical/sceptical to go wholesale into one religion or another, so that they are more superstitious, at best “spiritual”, than religious. Consequently, China is perhaps the only ancient civilisation that does not have a home grown organised religion (personally I consider Taoism (The Way) more a philosophy than a religion) nor adopted an official state religion.

Besides, the loudest complaining seems to come from foreign pseudo-religious interest groups who are being deprived of potentially new “customers” and new “revenue streams”. And lest we forget, it is these same religious groups/people who are so irrationally convinced of the “rightness” of their own interpretation of the divine or its existence that have so often been the cause/impetus of religious/sectarian bloodshed.

Just look at the Crusades and some American right wing religious neo-cons’ unquestioning support of Israeli government policies simply because they believe that the second coming of Jesus will occur if all Jews returned to Palestine. On the other hand there was nary a squeak of protest/condemnation from the pro-democracy/freedom of religion brigade when the Algerian military took power in a coup d’etat just when an Islamist party won the election in the 1990s and was poised to take power. How utterly hypocritical .

So ultimately tough luck, it’s the law of the land and to harp on about China restricting “freedom” of religion is a disingenuity based on a selective and myopic narrative, concluding in sweeping generalisations to support a narrow, partisan political purpose, whilst disregarding the overall picture and China’s socio-political evolution and circumstances. And frankly why should China be like everybody else??? How boring and inherently intolerant is that!

Consequently, I would rather that China’s peoples remain superstitious/spiritual rather than religious and that current restrictions remain in place. This way its people will continue to question the possible existence/non-existence of the divine and its social and ethical mores can continue to evolve and to adapt to changes, for this has always been what underpinned the perseverance of its civilisation. All too often it is only when we are too sure of ourselves and of what we believe in that we stagnate, ossify, and give rise to religious/racial/political conflicts.

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Comments

FOARP Says:
June 19th, 2008 at 4:14 pm

@Oli – Please explain the ban on following Roman Catholicism, the world’s largest religion.

Please explain the ban on Anglicanism.
Please explain the ban on the Society Of Friends (AKA the Quakers).
Please explain the bar on the religious joining the communist party.

These are not quirks, and pointing them out is not an ‘absurd statistical game’. They constitute a campaign on the part of the government to eliminate any competition for the loyalty of the populace. You are right to say these restrictions are not unique to China, I believe North Korea exercises even stronger forms of oppression – no doubt the high level of development in that country is a result of this.

Do you not find the idea that those of religious belief in China must restrict themselves to the so-called ‘Patriotic’ religious organisations ‘boring and inherently intolerant’?

S.K. Cheung Says:
June 20th, 2008 at 5:20 am

To Oli:

“As different religions have always been practised in China and for the sake of social stability and efficiency, Chinese governments have always maintained and insisted on its legal and political supremacy over any religious/spiritual institutions” – it’s one thing to be spiritual/superstitious within the confines of your own home; but it’s a little harder to seek fellowship when the state condemns congregation. I agree with some of your points, for example, Christian-based faiths do have a somewhat “viral” nature about them, but if a family doesn’t want their “one child” to be enticed into leading a life of celibacy, isn’t that an issue for the family to deal with, rather than have big brother decide for them? It’s also striking how frequently China does things for the “sake of social stability”…is its society so inherently unstable, or is that just the convenient CCP tagline to quash any progenitors of potential dissent?

Oli Says:
June 20th, 2008 at 10:38 am

As for answering FOARP and SK Cheung their questions, I would like to do it under a new entry and a new thread just for the sake of orderliness. But to give FOARP a hint of my answers to his questions, I would say that the they lie in FOARP’s own supposedly Anglican educational background and that he should look there for the answers to his own questions. And should he still not understand, he can ask me again under the new blog entry and I shall endeavour to answer them.

FOARP Says:
June 20th, 2008 at 1:31 pm

@Oli – Yes, I went to a C. Of E. Primary School – what’s your point? If I am anything now, I am an agnostic. If you think that the Archbishop of Canterbury is somekind of evil genius plotting against China, or are worried that someone like Desmond Tutu might come out of some Chinese Christian movement (and wouldn’t that be terrible?), let me just say that I doubt things would turn out that way.

Obviously, a group like the Society of Friends is an evil conspiracy against the Chinese people – I mean, they are pacifists who live according to personal beliefs, the danger is clear for everyone to see!

My Responses

@FOARP
Generally, my approach is that I take things as I see it and try to discern why they are the way they are and if they are different, to understand why they are different rather than making self-limiting value judgements such as whether something is “good” or “evil”. My pointing you to search your own knowledge of Anglicanism for possible reasons why China bans the Anglican Church is just simply that, nothing more, nothing less. And, provided you don’t break the law nor cause harm, you could be a Satan worshipper who regularly prances around in diapers within a pentangle for all I care.

These (surveys on freedom of religion in China) are not quirks, and pointing them out is not an ‘absurd statistical game’.
Well, you can continue to stomp your feet and hold your breath, but until you provide specific reasons why such surveys on religious freedom in China should be credible or even considered pertinent, simply reiterating or insisting otherwise won’t make them so. Furthermore, if you define your understanding of people, places and things by what it is not rather than by what it is, you will never grasp its true nature and will continue to wallow in misguided prejudice and misconception of your own making and what you blindly allow yourself to be fed.

@ S. K. Cheung
Whether a society is inherently unstable or not is largely irrelevant for it is the function and purpose of any government of any nations to prevent any potential instability while regulating and accommodating changes. Consequently, all governments are arguably by definition and by its very nature inherently conservative.

Note: Please leave any further comments on the thread titled On China and Religion.


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31 Responses to “A Discussion On Religion in China”

  1. Buxi Says:

    Oli,

    Any chance you could make this entry a comment in one of the other threads, instead of setting up a different thread for this…?

  2. FOARP Says:

    @Oli – I am at a loss to explain why you would seek to defend a system which you do not understand.

  3. Person Says:

    It is true that you have to register in order to be part of the religious group?
    It is that true, then it seen to be very un need because I think it really make people feel tense?

  4. Buxi Says:

    It is true that you have to register in order to be part of the religious group?
    It is that true, then it seen to be very un need because I think it really make people feel tense?

    I doubt you have to register just to be a religious follower. But if you’re a religious leader/preacher, I suspect you have to be registered in some way.

    There are advantages to registering in some cases. You’ve probably seen registered Buddhists get into temples for free, while tourists have to pay money?

  5. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Oli:
    “Whether a society is inherently unstable or not is largely irrelevant”- actually, in the context of my point, that is not true. I don’t think China is inherently unstable. My point is the the CCP plays on the threat of instability merely as a guise to oppress those who challenge its authority.

  6. somebody Says:

    To S.K. Cheung:

    Do you know how bad things get doing the culture revloution, my parent live throught it and I think that you not seening alot of things that had happen in China.

  7. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Somebody:
    I was fortunately nowhere near China during the cultural revolution. I think even the most ardent China supporters on this site find the cultural revolution objectionable, and would not like to return to those times. It should be noted, though, that the CCP was the author of said revolution. It would be disingenuous for them to claim the revolution as a sign of potential societal instability, since they brought it on themselves.

  8. Buxi Says:

    S.K.Cheung,

    It should be noted, though, that the CCP was the author of said revolution. It would be disingenuous for them to claim the revolution as a sign of potential societal instability, since they brought it on themselves.

    Is it disingenuous for the Democratic Party to today claim to represent the African-American vote, when it was the Party of racists and slave-owners who tried to secede from the United States of America, and then later enforced harsh segregation?

    When you say “the CCP is the author of said revolution”… who do you mean? The CCP isn’t a person, it’s a party. Do you mean the CCP leadership? And if so, who in the leadership? Everyone who’s ever held leadership, or those who were in the leadership in 1968? Or do you mean the hundreds of millions of people who have been members of the Communist Party at one time or another? Or do you mean those who were in the Party at the time?

  9. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Buxi:
    to your first question, both Parties did what you said back in the day, so in that light, does that mean neither party can represent the African-American voice TODAY? Will African-Americans need their own party TODAY? My point was just that you can’t say the cultural revolution is an example of potential Chinese societal instability TODAY (or any day for that matter), because that was a government-led social exercise. So as long as the government TODAY has no designs on rehashing said exercises, then the reliving of CR-style instability is not really a concern.
    As for P2, I’m referring to whoever played a role back then; I’m not trying to blame Hu Jintao for it, if that’s what you’re suggesting.

  10. yo Says:

    SKC,
    Just be careful in your usage then. I actually was thinking the same thing because you seemed to be referring to the CCP as a single entity that lives on forever so to speak, like the highlander :-P

    “CCP plays on the threat of instability merely as a guise to oppress those who challenge its authority”
    I would partially agree(or partially disagree). I would say it like this:

    “CCP plays on instabilities to support the legitimacy of their authority, which has both positive and negative consequences”

  11. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Yo:
    I guess it comes down to the meaning of “is” :-) I thought by saying “CCP WAS the author…” suggested a reference to the guys back then; if I wanted to suggest culpability of the current crew (which I don’t), I’d have said “CCP IS the author…”.
    I have no real objection to your version of the statement.
    Hey, are you the one who referred to RECOUNT earlier? You’ve got a good eclectic taste in shows. I think I’m recording RECOUNT off the movie channel right now. I’ll be sure to check it out.
    I’m kinda hoping the CCP (at least in current form) has a slightly shorter shelf-life than the Highlander.

  12. Buxi Says:

    S.K. Cheung,

    I see, I misunderstood your point, apologies.

    I agree with you that it’s unlikely things in China could get as chaotic as they were during the Cultural Revolution. Back in 1989, many realistically had that fear. 19 years later, I really don’t.

    But we have other examples that aren’t quite as terrifying, but still negative… most of us don’t want to duplicate the experience in Russia, Yugoslavia, and India. I personally am closely monitoring the situation in Vietnam, which has moved ahead of China in political reforms. If Vietnam does well, then that will be a very positive example for China. If Vietnam does poorly, then it will be another warning.

  13. yo Says:

    SKC,

    “CCP (at least in current form) has a slightly shorter shelf-life than the Highlander”
    LOL, that’s a good one :-)

    Yes, I suggested recount. I’m hope you like it. I watched it many times, great acting, loved the flow of the movie, and the way they explained the whole Chad thing… so eloquent. I think you are Canadian right? Well there is another movie that is also related to the 2000 U.S. presidential election called “Hacking Democracy” . It’s a documentary about the whole di-bolt voting machine thing. It’s interesting(depending on your interest in U.S. politics), if you catch it on your local cable provider, you might want to check it out, not as good as recount though.

  14. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Buxi:
    no worries. Seems I misunderstand stuff all the time. I find humour and sarcasm sometimes difficult to project with words alone, without use of tone of voice and inflection as one would IRL.

    To Yo:
    yep, from the Great WHite North. I’m very interested in US politics…more colourful than the home-bred version. Haven’t heard of the other movie…will have to look around. For now, look forward to some hanging chads…

  15. yo Says:

    SKC,
    “For now, look forward to some hanging chads…”

    There’s a joke in there, I’ll let you find out in the movie :-)

  16. Oli Says:

    @SKC

    On Cultural Revolution
    One aspect of the CR is that it was arguably unleashed by Mao in order to retain power in his contest with the more liberal elements (esp. Deng et al) within the CCP, who wanted to turn towards rebuilding the nation rather than going on a perpetual revolution. But by that time many within the party knew that Mao became pretty much a megalomaniac and drunk on power. Unfortunately nobody told the people that, who continued to believe in the personality cult that is Mao and who continued to support him.

    Now the problem with many in the West, including some Overseas Chinese are that their perception of China and in general and the CR specifically is that it is based on a polaroid snapshop image rather than a continuing narrative. Another issue is that, from the Western perspective, which likes to see things packaged as black and white for easy/lazy commercial consumption, the CR was perpetrated by the CCP vs the people, when in fact many of the more liberal minded, often Western educated element within the CCP itself were purged (ie Deng and Paris/France educated).

    Whilst among the population, the perpetrators and their victims often knew each other, in many cases were immediate family members and at the same time the roles were often switched from day to day as it reflects the powerplay that was going on within the CCPs upper echelon, so that many became both victims and perpetrators in their own minds. Consequently, many from that generation assumed a sense of collective guilt and shame at both having been victims and perpetrators, and many for their own reasons simply would not talk about it and nor would they blame the CCP as the changes the society went through since then also made them realise that the CCP today is not that of those days.

    As for your comments on the other thread, rest assured that I do not consider you to be part of THE OTHERS, but rather quite the opposite. My intention for the entry China and Religion was simply to give an insight into the reasons and rationale behind China’s laws and government’s and people’s attitude. As another poster Snow said these laws do not occur in vacuum and its in China’s Constitution for a reason. Though in my explaining the reasons, some inevitably sees it as excusing and justifying the governments’ actions, when you and I of course know that a declaration of the law and the enforcement of the law are often two very different thing. Therefore, the application of Western standards to a survey of religious freedom in China can only take you so far, beyond which it becomes pretty much a pointless exercise of comparing pears to apple.

    Therefore that entry was intended as the basis of possibly more postings to evolve the topic and that they should be read together as an ongoing narrative rather than it being the final word on the matter and my intention is to address some of the relevant/pertinent criticisms and issues raised in the discussion in a follow-on entry. So as you can see, there IS a plan….. (well sort of anyway).

    As for THE OTHERS (they know who they are), I am all for people having a different opinion, but I simply don’t see the point in repeating or expanding my reasoning to minds that are already set in stone (life is too short) and which no words, but only very actual personal experience can change and I wish them all the best of luck with that.

  17. FOARP Says:

    @Oli – It should also be said that there are still not a few in China who are willing to speak up for the Cultural Revolution, or who think it was the right thing to do but went a bit too far.

  18. Oli Says:

    FOARP I though you of all people would be in favour of free speech or does it depend only on your choice of topic and limited to those who agrees with you. If there are still some in China who are willing to speak up for the CR, so what? So what if within the confines of their experience and perception produces a rationalisation in favour of the CR? It only means that the CR is justified according to their interpretation and reasoning. Even Cao Cao has friends and supporters, for things are never clear-cut black or white and if they were, life would be too damn boring.

  19. FOARP Says:

    @Oli – I disagree with what they say not their right to say it – the Chinese government does that.

    The point that I was trying to make was that whilst the families of a lot of people on this website suffered during the Cultural Revolution, there are people alive today who played their role in commiting unspeakable crimes against their fellow human beings and were never punished for what they did. Others agreed with the revolution at the time and have simply never revised their opinions about it because they have not had to – including people who have been very successful since.

  20. Oli Says:

    @FOARP

    Yup, boo-hoo, life sucks dosen’t it? So, grow up already will ye. If those people have been very successful since, well that’s their cross to bear is it not? Maybe the Chinese people know and understand more about forgiveness than you think. And should China’s people and its government want to leave the whole CR issue for another generation to resolve while in this generation they concentrate on providing and affording that opportunity, who are you or anybody in the West to say otherwise? Endearing, but naive.

  21. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Oli:
    your description of the CR is quite consistent with the experiences others have shared here. I’m happy to be reading about it, as opposed to having lived it. Obviously, the Chinese spectrum of liberal vs conservative seems quite different from the distinctions I’m accustomed to in Canada; however, if a Chinese liberal is for modernization, transparency, and openness, then I certainly wish them better luck in today’s and tomorrow’s China than their predecessors enjoyed (or perhaps more accurately, endured). But I hope the drive towards those aforementioned characteristics is an ongoing one. My interest is not for this evolution to end up looking like a western model; just some form that more vigorously espouses those concepts than is present even today.
    As for your other point, my point was just that it’s hard to engage someone in a discussion if you don’t deem it necessary to explain yourself when queries are presented.

  22. Buxi Says:

    The point that I was trying to make was that whilst the families of a lot of people on this website suffered during the Cultural Revolution, there are people alive today who played their role in commiting unspeakable crimes against their fellow human beings and were never punished for what they did.

    @FOARP,

    Care to be specific? Who are you speaking of specifically?

    You mentioned in the (now slightly out of control) ‘Pride’ thread that you had never heard of Hu Jintao suffering. I don’t know if you caught my reply referencing an article about Hu Jintao’s father, allegedly also imprisoned and persecuted as a former merchant, dying shortly after the Cultural Revolution.

    I also linked (somewhere) Xujun Eberlein’s book. She describes an interview with two former Red Guards, imprisoned for two decades after the end of the Cultural Revolution. They weren’t apologetic because, in their words, they punished the rightists for a few years, and then they were punished for two decades; they thought that was fair enough.

    So, who are you speaking of *exactly*?

    I don’t suggest that there’s 100% justice out there; with 1.3 billion people, I’m reasonably sure many might have slipped throug the doors. But it’s a little bit like South Africa after the apartheid; how many white South Africans are without guilt? How many white South Africans were never punished for their crimes during the apartheid era? Who are you specifically suggesting deserves punishment right now, and once you start, where do you stop without imprisoning half of the urban population of China?

  23. FOARP Says:

    @Buxi – It is well known that it was the ring leaders only who were punished, many of the people who actually carried out the attacks went unpunished. Nowadays there are people in their 50′s managing banks who, in their younger days, gave speeches before thousands as leaders of the Red Guards and who nowadays seem somewhat unrepentent about the whole thing – doesn’t this bother people in China?

    Otherwise, it’s none of mine.

    @Oli – Please grow up.

  24. Nimrod Says:

    FOARP, it has been mentioned already that practically every family was victim as well as perpetrator, sometimes the same person at different times. What are you going to do about that? Some went around knocking down temples, while their parents were jailed in cow pens, one side of the family may have their home gutted, the other side may be destroying the property of others. Some were sent down, some died, some made the lives of others miserable. True personal stories.

    I’ve seen the dark side of human nature. I don’t think I or anyone want to dwell on it.

  25. Oli Says:

    @SK CHeung

    “As for your other point, my point was just that it’s hard to engage someone in a discussion if you don’t deem it necessary to explain yourself when queries are presented.”

    Thats a fair point, but as surely you must have noticed reading through these threads, there are some real trolls around whose knee-jerk reactions to any postings come from deeply held opinions that are not easily dislodged by mere words alone and admittedly I sometimes lack the patience to do so. Its like a child constantly asking “But, why daddy, why?” and I don’t even have children of my own yet for crying out loud!.

    As for the more constructive questions raised, I have been hoping to address them in another posting where I can weave all the issues together to expand further on the topic of religion in China. Part of the reason is so that I can firstly provide a more coherent picture of the theme rather than addressing them piecemeal thereby potentially loosing the narrative. More prosaically I am also only human you know and I do have other obligations while under the same time constraints as everybody else. Consequently don’t take my silence as arrogance or indifference.

  26. Oli Says:

    @SK Cheung

    On China’s modernisation
    Often what people only see of China’s modernisation dichotomy, ie. the new buildings, massive construction and pollution, break neck urbanisation, widening gap between the rich, new liberalism and sophistication yet continuing state oppression, interference and patronising paternalism. However, there exist a deeper level behind the scene transformation that many simply do not see or are seldom reported on, either because its not “interesting” or because the government wouldn’t allow it to be reported on.

    For example not many people know that China has been sending out delegations to different parts of the world to observe and research local judicial system and jurisprudence as China reform its own judicial branch. These visits included ones to the British Law Society on UK’s common law system, France and Italy’s use of investigative magistrates and Germany’s constitutional and federal law system, just to name a few.

    Nor do many people realised that since the mid-90′s China have been continuously experimenting on local democracy and elections in selected rural areas just as it experimented with capitalism and regulated free-market economy in the Pearl Delta region of Shenzhen prior to rolling it out across China from the 80′s onwards.

    But these experiments in democracy unfortunately have also revealed the usual problems, ie votes buying, corruption, bussing and jerrymandering among others which made it impossible to role it out on a much wider scale, when other structural components are not yet in place particularly in the urban centres, ie judicial and law enforcement reforms, the necessary critical mass of sophisticated urban population to make the reforms self-sustaining, a responsible media etc. and above all the necessary money to pay for it all, ie higher salaries for police officers, judges or government workers to remove the temptation for corruption, when there are other competing demands and priorities and at the same time without loosing control of the the whole process. From my observations, sometimes I feel that its like trying to control a nuclear chain reaction.

    On top of this, is also the Chinese government’s implicit rejection of allowing interest groups to hijack the political process (this has a long imperial tradition and also relates to China’s attitude towards organised religion, which I hope to tackle later), as it is so often the case with the prevalence of lobbyists’, big business’ and the old money class’ involvement in American and European politics and elections (this is the socialist ideology aspect). Consequently the picture is alot more complicated than many could or are willing to appreciate, especially to those whose instinctive and repetitive default mantra is “China baaaad, West goooooood” or who has their own agenda and interest in forcing China’s pace and direction of change.

  27. Oli Says:

    @ SK Cheung

    I think we should continue this to “China’s Pospect for Democracy” thread.

  28. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Oli:
    thanks for your thoughts. I think we now better understand each other.
    “knee-jerk reactions to any postings come from deeply held opinions”- I agree with this, but would note that such characteristics seem to occur on both sides of the opinion divide, even on this blog.
    I’m certainly among those who’ve seen China develop as a dichotomy, and your last post is very enlightening. WRT legal reforms, Mexico only adopted the concept of presumed innocence last week, and won’t fully implement it for another 8 years, so I guess China’s slow pursuit of same is understandable (though still somewhat frustrating). Fundamentally, I’m all for a willingness to learn from others, with a view to bringing the good bits back and applying it internally where applicable.
    However, it does appear to me that the pace of financial development far outstrips that of political development. China in many ways has a free market economy; the chasm between rich and poor IMO is one of the problems with such an economy. But though she exhibits the good and bad parts of a free economic system, her political system to me is still more bad than good…it’s too bad that the lag time for political development might amount to decades, as others have suggested.

  29. Johnny Says:

    This is the best essay I have ever seen on this topic. Thanks!

  30. Sum Says:

    Chinese believe is spiritual/superstitious? Is not all religions are? Believe in One is “religion”? Believe more than one is “superstitious”? How narrow minded some people are…
    Chinese believe God is every where, he takes shape in many forms. Is not that’s why there are so many religions in this world? Chinese will accept any imported religion, we do not reject other people’s believe so violently like some so call civilized countries…To the Chinese, the more the merry and of course, the more protection…
    I personally think Religion is a mind system used by ‘some people’ to control their subjects. I laugh at the egotistical person who thinks Human are God’s image…did you see those buzzing bees, we’re more like them…buzz buzz buzz and there go a live time. Human are fools and not worth saving, but to each of his own, what ever make you happy and I am happy for you…God Bless you all.

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