As A Religion, Chinese Communism Has Failed: Rising Persecution Will Fail Too
Doug Brandow, American Spectator
President Xi Jinping’s China is becoming a more fearful place. The government has cracked down both on dissent and contact with the West. Religious persecution also is rising: the Communist god that failed fears competition.
A new Freedom House report, “The Battle for China’s Spirit: Religious Revival, Repression, and Resistance under Xi Jinping,” details how “the authorities have intensified many of their restrictions, resulting in an overall increase in religious persecution” since Xi took power in November 2012.
The victims span the faith spectrum: “A Taoist disciple joins the order without knowing when he will be admitted to the priesthood. Dozens of Christians are barred from celebrating Christmas together. Tibetan monks are forced to learn reinterpretations of Buddhist doctrine during a ‘patriotic reeducation’ session. A Uighur Muslim farmer is sentenced to nine years in prison for praying in a field. And a 45-year-old father in northeastern China dies in custody days after being detained for practicing Falun Gong.”
This certainly doesn’t sound like a nation that addresses the world with growing confidence. Instead, persecution reveals a leadership that is nervous, even fearful. Communism as a serious ideology is dead. The Chinese Communist Party is filled with ambitious time-servers, people too smart to believe Marxist and Maoist nonsense but too venal to reject the fictions by which China’s rulers justify their power.
The People’s Republic of China was born in 1949. Mao Zedong and his fellow revolutionaries rejected the past and the West. The regime also insisted on being the only object of affection by the people. However, in the early years Beijing’s policy toward religion varied over time between pragmatic neglect and vicious persecution. The latter characterized the Cultural Revolution, a period of madness orchestrated by Mao.
However, his death, followed by reforms which provided greater economic freedom and personal autonomy, expanded the space for expressions of religious faith. Once granted, that liberty is not easily retracted. Indeed, Freedom House found that “believers have responded with a surprising degree of resistance, including in faith communities that have generally enjoyed cooperative relationships with state and party officials.”