To tell you a real China

8 Mar

Reader Bryan Sink comments on our recent Falun Gong item. He opines on the real motives of their leader, Li, and on the conflict with the Chinese government:

There’s a lesson to be learned here, about how to educate people and effect change in the midst of a system that’s far from perfect: As far as Li Hongzhi is concerned, this has never been about spiritual health and betterment. This has been about him having a platform to stand toe-to-toe against Beijing in a hostile staredown. Don’t be fooled. Behind Li’s peaceful guise of mass prayer and public meditation is one singular goal: get in Beijing’s face and force a confrontation. And Beijing has, quite understandably, responded the one way they know how.

We have no business pitying the Falun Gong.

There are a hundred other “spiritual” groups in China who are in essence hardly any different from the Falun Gong. But they get no press, and suffer no persecution, because they cause no such trouble. I’ve been in China myself only long enough to know that there’s a right way to effect change, and a wrong way. The right way is to work with the system and let the system clean itself out over time. People in positions of power see wrongs and in good conscience move to correct them, and to educate their successors for the better. The wrong way is to barge in declaring war, trying to humiliate the powers that be.

Make no mistake: China is liberalizing; this is a fact. This has been happening and will continue to happen slowly and painfully, but it will happen peacefully, without riot or revolution. That fact was settled once and for all in 1989. China successfully entered the space race last week, and it did not happen as a result of any kind of violent overturning of the system. It happened because people long ago determined that they would willingly work with the system and allow change and progress to take place slowly but surely, a lesson we would all do well to learn.


Bryan, during my visits to China I’ve seen that process of liberalization in action. When I first went to that country in 1988, it would have been unthinkable that I could have been sought out by anyone in authority, but less than ten years later, during a visit to China, I received a personal invitation from a substantial gentleman who wanted my input, and I shared that with him. I saw signs of capitalism everywhere — not that I admire everything that results from that system! — and the generally more free atmosphere was very evident everywhere. Yes, China is evolving politically, as the Soviet did, and though The Great Wall won’t come down as a result, that invisible wall between theory and reality will be blown away as the people of that land begin to be released from what I believe is a seriously — fatally — flawed system.

The Falun Gong would do well to sail with this wind, not against it. And abandon any attempts to use tricks to sell their philosophy. But maybe that’s asking too much.

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