Catholic Culture Liturgical Living
Catholic Culture Liturgical Living

Repression? I see no repression ...

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jun 11, 2005

oremus A mother prays while her child sits the national college entrance examination in China's Tianjin on June 7, 2005. More than 8.6 million Chinese middle school graduates attended this year's college entrance exam. (newsphoto)

The photo above and its caption appeared in Wednesday's People's Daily, the soft-propaganda on-line newspaper of the PRC. In preparation for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing a massive PR campaign is underway to present a friendly face to the outside world.

The People's Daily appears in six language versions, and it would appear that each is ideologically tailored to the target group (for at least four days running, the Arabic version featured a photo from Abu Ghraib, showing Pvt. England with the naked prisoner on a leash). It's interesting that only the English edition showed the mother at prayer, and we can be pretty certain this is intended to weaken American protests against China's hostile repression of Christianity. Note the wording of the Constitution:

Article 36. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion. The state protects normal religious activities. No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state. Religious bodies and religious affairs are not subject to any foreign domination.

"No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that ... interfere with the educational system of the state." That clause gives the government all the powers it needs, and that's why Catholic several bishops, priests, and laity (as well as other Christians and members of non-Christian religions) are imprisoned or "missing" today. M.A. Thiessen's article in Crisis is worth re-reading.

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