Friday, July 26, 2019

What does all this religious turmoil tell us about the Chinese Essay - 1

What does all this religious turmoil tell us about the Chinese government - Essay Example To begin with, the blanket ban on proselytism by foreigners anywhere in China evinces a deep suspicion of foreign spiritual activities in China, which is symptomatic of a concern on the part of much of the Chinese leadership that certain foreign ideas and systems would be deeply detrimental in China. To support such attitudes, they repeatedly talk of the humilitations which the western powers inflicted upon China in the last two centuries of the imperial era. Christian groups have been the focus of some repression, including the raiding of unregistered house churches and the arrest of their members, particularly in the run up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. However, it is towards independent clergy and members of the Catholic Church that the government focuses its repression of Christian groups. Relations between the Vatican and the People’s Republic of China have always been tense, and since the 1950s they have enjoyed no formal relations. It seems that the government is still wary of the loyalty of Catholics to an authority outside of China – the Vatican, and its head, the Pope, whom they regard as God’s representative on Earth. This tensions between the Catholic Church and the Chinese government became obvious when, in July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI wrote an open letter to the Chinese government urging it to respect the religious freedoms of its citizens. The Chinese government is always particularly sensitive to foreign criticism, and this instance was no exception, with Beijing replying that ‘it was willing to continue a dialogue with the Vatican, but a government spokesman said the Pope must not interfere in China’s affairs in the name of religion’3. While the Chinese government likes to present its country as a united and homogenous polity, it is rich in ethnic minorities, many of whom have distinctive religious practices,

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