In Impromptus today, I have an item about China, whose government has just destroyed a church. This was Golden Lampstand Church, in Shanxi Province, one of the poorest areas of the country. The church was built for $3 million, all contributed by the worshipers. The government blew up the building. They dynamited it.
In my column, I quote an excellent report in the New York Times by Russell Goldman, who writes, “Under President Xi Jinping, the government has destroyed churches or removed their steeples and crosses as part of a campaign that reflects the Communist Party’s longstanding fear that Christianity, viewed as a Western philosophy, is a threat to the party’s authority.” (I comment, “The party is right, isn’t it? Anyway, what that church represented will long outlive the party …”)
A reader from Big Rapids, Mich. — home of Ferris State University — writes, “It may not be an original point, but isn’t communism itself a ‘Western philosophy’?” Yes, it is an excellent point — and it is one made to me many years ago by a leader of the Falun Gong movement, which, as you know, has been shockingly persecuted in China. There are all too credible reports of organ harvesting. (For my review of Ethan Gutmann’s important 2014 book, The Slaughter, go here.)
The Falun Gong leader said to me roughly this: “The dictatorship in Beijing calls us ‘alien’ and a ‘foreign imposition.’ Actually, the opposite is true. Falun Gong has deep roots in China. It is thoroughly, even stereotypically, Chinese. Communism, on the other hand, is a foreign imposition. It comes from you people, in the West! Marx and Engels and all that. The Communist government is hostile to the family. We Chinese have always cherished the family.” And so on.
A point that should be repeated (as I find myself doing).