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Repression and Religious Discrimination in China

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on June 7, 2018 23:24

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Beijing runs a repression and discrimination program to keep in power, suppress the threats of separatism, and prevent freedom.

Religion poses a threat to society; it plays no role in the country’s politics and culture. That’s how the Communist Party of China frames the argument for its repression and discrimination of religious minorities.

Political repression is not new to China since the rise of Mao Zedong. It was Mao who led a Cultural Revolution that had millions murdered and died of starvation. And it has something to do with preservation, strengthening, and exercise of power.

We also know that power can be friends with superficial harmony and an enemy of freedom. The ongoing cultural cleansing in Xinjiang, dubbed as “reformation by education” or “reorientation," shows precisely that. China seeks ethnic unity in the restive north-western region by subjugation, limiting people’s movement, brainwashing, harassment, intimidation and torture. The Uyghurs are purified of their faith through a massive indoctrination, forcing them to embrace an atheistic and materialist party ideology.

The same thing also happened in Tibet where Buddhist monks had persisted religious discrimination, repression, and persecution at the hands of Beijing. The Dalai Lama remained in exile, a wandering spiritual leader, banished from his homeland. And recently, the government banned performing religious rites in public and disallowed religious observances in the region.

The past has kept on recurring: minorities suffered persecution as they’re perceived a threat to the state. No matter what religion or cultural identity you have, disrupting the status quo means risking persecution. To complete the cycle, when the persecuted minority rises to power, there is no guarantee it will not do the same. This is in part due to society’s desire for sameness and uniformity that those in power exploit. Obsession with uniformity and conformity to a “superior” culture or ideology negates diversity; and the usual casualty, the minorities.

China’s narrative is not that complex to understand: religious organizations, factions, or any organized movement pose a threat to the Communist Party and the party’s leadership. They are afraid of freedom which presents a legitimate challenge to power. This is not so much about religion, but more on quelling of any threat of separatism and party opposition.

Like any totalitarian states, Beijing insists, with a shade to the colonial past, that human rights and freedom are western values imposed on non-western countries. But we know that persecution, discrimination of any kind, and killing groups of people within a state is not right.

In an increasingly connected world, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” said the great Martin Luther King Jr. If the world keeps a blind eye on China’s injustices to the Uyghurs and the Tibetans, the suffering and the blood of innocents continue to prick our conscience and remain a stain to our common humanity.

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on June 7, 2018 23:24

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Source: Quartz

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