Three days ago I sent out a ‘True or False’ email directing you to this blog, wherein I wrote about freedom (or lack thereof) in China. If you’ll recall, my blog post was an answer to D.W.’s email – which addressed Tiananmen Square and freedom of travel, specifically (you can view it by scrolling this page).
The amount of correspondence this post generated was astounding. Many of you, including D.W. – who said he would delete any emails with the words “China” unanswered – wrote me with short as well as very long dispatches. I thank all of you for your messages, even though a good many were laced with barbs, attacks and ‘commie’ innuendo. One person went so far as to say I’m a shill for the Chinese government. HA!
For the record, I am no shill for anyone.
At the same time I will report the truth, as I have EXPERIENCED it. Not the truth I heard. Nor the truth that happened 20 or 30 years ago – or longer – during Maoist times or during the Cultural Revolution. In the event that I am reporting something I have not directly experienced – I will do my best to preface it with “I have heard” – or “Although I have no direct experience of such and such …” This helps keeps everything in line with what I believe I truly know and can vouch for.
In many of the emails I received there was a common thread. This thread had to do with the so-called lack of religious freedom in China. In most cases it had to do with lack of freedom to profess Christian beliefs and/or being jailed, persecuted or beaten for said beliefs. A few dealt with the Falun Gong cult that was squashed and a few were about Tibetan Buddhism.
At St. Joseph’s Church, Beijing, China.
Today, I will address Christian freedom.
This morning I got up at 6 a.m., showered and dressed. I then went to St. Joseph’s Church on Wang Fu Jing Da Jie. I entered the church and found a few hundred people present, all on their knees waiting for the service to begin. Along the walls of the church were paintings depicting the “Stations of the Cross.”
Pictures depicting the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus
Funny, I think, because I had heard, before attending this service, that people in China were not allowed to have Bibles, could not even utter the name “Jesus” and those who did so were jailed, beaten and tortured.
Why is it, then, that I was one of the few foreigners in this church? Why no police ready to arrest me and everyone else? Why was the name of Jesus spoken in this church, openly, by the priest and the parishioners? Why was the priest reading from the Christian Bible during the service?
The reason, via my direct experience, is simple. You ARE allowed to practice Christianity in China. You are also allowed to practice Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Islam, Taoism and so on. By the way, in many areas I have visited in China, you will find a good many Muslims, as well as mosques. You will also find some of the very best food served in China at Muslim restaurants, which I often go to as they appear to know, better than anyone else, how to cook lamb.
The Chinese Confessional
Does the above mean that no one has ever suffered for his or her religious beliefs in China? NO.
Does the above mean that you can use your religion in China for political gain without facing some consequences? NO.
You may describe this as “lack” of freedom – yet I have heard that an American, cannot say whatever he wants whenever he wants to without repercussions, either.
For example, can an American threaten the life of a U.S. President without being jailed?
Can an American go to an airport and say he has a bomb or a gun – then laugh and say, “I was joking,” – without being arrested?
Did Americans, during the McCarthy era, for example, have total freedom to say or do anything, without consequences?
Not only that, but if you think there’s lack of freedom in Tiananmen Square, then I only want to ask: Are Americans free to walk past the White House anymore?
In the future I will address more questions that have been brought to my attention, such as, the single-child per family policy, freedom of travel to foreign countries, and so on.
In the interim, make sure you exercise one of your most basic freedoms, the freedom to take care of your health. Yes, your body is the ultimate temple for your mind and your spirit.
Never forget this truth.
Also, right now, we currently have only 98 more Matt Furey Exercise Bibles to give to new members of the Matt Furey Inner Circle. This deck of poker cards containing the top four exercises in Combat Conditioning, are catching on like a fire gone wild. So sprint over to the offer I have for you on my site and become a member today.
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