The Chinese government is employing a unique strategy to reduce the threat of terrorism in its historically unstable Tibet and Xinjiang autonomous regions. By providing new jobs and better housing, the government has managed to quell the threat of separatism.
by Caleb T. Maupin
Part 4 - Respecting Religion and Tradition
Much of the resentment that Tibetan and Xinjiang separatist groups tap into is based on the historically anti-religious stance of the Communist Party of China. While the Chinese constitution declares religious freedom, the ruling Communist party bases itself on Marxism-Leninism and dialectical materialism.
Ian Johnson’s piece “China’s Great Awakening” points out that anti-religious fervor within the Chinese government did not originate with the CPC. Nationalist leader Dr. Sun Yat-sen, whose revolution created the Republic of China in 1912, was virulently anti-religious, with one his first revolutionary acts being the destruction of a temple. The National Party of China launched a campaign to “destroy superstition” as part of the “New Life Movement” in 1926.
The Communist Party of China’s policies toward religion have changed significantly since the birth of modern China. At first, the party made an effort to accommodate religion and tried to create pro-Communist associations among Buddhists, Catholics, Muslims and Taoists. These policies were gradually reversed during the 1950s.
From 1966 to 1976, China went through the Cultural Revolution, a mass government campaign that involved attempts to drastically push Chinese society closer to communist ideals. During this period, many Buddhist temples and mosques were destroyed. Those who practiced religion were subject to public humiliation and violent searches of their homes by young Communists organized into an association known as the Red Guard.
During this period, Buddhist or Catholic clergy who had taken vows of chastity were forced to marry. While pornography, promiscuity, homosexuality and extramarital sex were considered to be “bourgeois decadence” by the Communists, the promotion of celibacy was considered to be an open display of hostility to the party’s goal of increasing the population.
Following the rise of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and the repudiation of the “Gang of Four,” the party began to lower its hostility toward those of religious faith. In 1982, the arty published a 20-page declaration entitled “The Basic Viewpoint and Policy on the Religious Question During Our Country’s Socialist Period.” The piece is more widely known as “Document 19” and it repudiates many of the anti-religious policies of the 1960s and 1970s. The document argues that Chinese leaders should show “respect for and protection of the freedom of religious belief,” despite maintaining a dialectical materialist, atheist worldview.
The party’s policies toward religion have ostensibly continued to soften since then. In April 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed China’s attitude toward religion, urging the Communist Party of China to “dig deep into doctrines and canons that are in line with social harmony and progress, and favorable for the building of a healthy and civilized society, and interpret religious doctrines in a way that is conducive to modern China’s progress and in line with our excellent traditional culture.”
In addition, he said “We must resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means and prevent ideological infringement by extremists,” a possible reference to the unrest in Xinjiang and the support for Uyghur separatists by Al-Queda and ISIS.
The use and manipulation of religious grievances by China’s enemies is certainly not new. As far back as 1957, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles said “the religions of the East are deeply rooted and have many precious values. Their spiritual beliefs cannot be reconciled with Communist atheism and materialism. That creates a common bond between us, and our task is to find it and develop it.”
In July 2016, the Chinese government sponsored a conference of Islamic leaders where they discussed how to oppose violence and extremism. 100 imams gathered, most from central Asia, to discuss how to stop terrorism from spreading among Muslims in the region.
President Xi has also announced that the country will “support the education of religious professionals to ensure they are fully prepared to carry out their duties and build the trust of believers.” This policy has included the expansion of the China Islamic Institute in Beijing, where young Muslims are trained to become religious leaders.
In Tibet, the policy of respecting religious groups and local culture seems to not only be stabilizing the region, but contributing to its economic prosperity. The region has seen increased tourism in recent years, with the industry bringing 33 billion yuan (4.8 billion dollars) to the historically impoverished region in 2016. Over 100,000 Tibetans enjoyed profits from tourism-related business endeavors. The money came from over 23 million tourists who poured into the region last year, with the number estimated to increase to 25 million this year.
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It seems that Taiwan and South China Sea are being used only as a pretext by the US to provoke China continuously. The US ultimate geopolitical interest resides in the Chinese mainland, close to the Russian borders.
According to a scenario, the US starts a war that ends quickly, changes the regime in China, puts its puppet, and probably, break China (as they want to do with Russia), using disputed provinces as a pretext (e.g. Tibet, Xinjiang - No surprise that, recently, China responded instantly to Trump, saying that the 'one-China' policy is not negotiable).
The US-friendly regimes will repay the US dollars that they will receive for their 'color revolutions' by allowing US military bases in their territories. With China dissolved and on its knees, Russia will be fully encircled and left with no major allies. It will be the next target.