China extends its religious war to the Catholic Church
NOTNot content with its genocide against the Uyghur Muslim people, China is expanding its war on religious freedom. Beijing’s New Front: The Catholic Church.
On Wednesday, Cardinal Joseph Zen was arrested by Hong Kong police. Officials say the 90-year-old, who retired from active duty in 2009, is ‘accused of urging foreign organizations to impose sanctions on Hong Kong, which could endanger national security’ . Translation: He spoke freely in a way that the Chinese Communist Party does not agree with. Zen was arrested alongside a former pro-democracy lawmaker.
The basic lesson is clear – this is yet another terrible act of disregard for basic human rights. But it is also a gratuitous insult to the worldwide Catholic Church. The government of General Secretary Xi Jinping is aware that this arrest will cause profound upheaval around the world. Another despotic regime could have considered this risk before taking this step. Not Beijing. Nothing is more important to the CCP than its inflexible presentation of absolute control. If in doubt, he should strike out. But in this truth, the larger lesson becomes clear: Zen is an enemy of Xi’s despicable regime because it is incompatible with it. He is a man of decency who has spent his whole life in the service of higher values and the less fortunate. Zen therefore represents everything that the CCP is not.
The arrest comes just days after Communist Party hardliner John Lee was named Hong Kong’s new chief executive. Beijing’s claims that Lee was elected are slightly undermined by the fact that he was the only candidate capable of running. Either way, a security apparatchik by trade, Lee’s tenure is likely to see further crackdowns on anyone who dares seek a Hong Kong as it is meant to be, namely a city that respects the fundamental human rights of its citizens. Under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a binding treaty governing the transfer of the city’s sovereignty to China, Beijing is legally bound to maintain Hong Kong’s autonomy until at least 2047.
As with all things, the Communist Party’s pledges are about as reliable as the truth of its propaganda. Yet the sickening moral hypocrisy in what Communist China says and what Communist China actually does demands our attention because the hypocrisy is beyond extraordinary.
Consider, for example, that just a week ago, Lee, the new CEO, claimed he was Catholic. Talk about a betrayal of faith. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, of course. While we in the West are fortunate to avoid the fate of Zen and the Uyghurs, their experiences remind us to judge more carefully who and what we are dealing with in Xi and his party.
As the Communist Party claims to be dedicated to serving its people, it happily dumps 2 million Uyghurs into concentration camps, enforces harsh COVID shutdowns and family separations in its largest metropolises, and obliterates those who dare make jokes about his dear leader. Even the most basic complaints, those demanding better local government rather than criticizing the central government, are quickly censored by Chinese social media platforms. The fact that it employs tens of thousands of censors and spends tens of billions of dollars to prevent its people from having a common discourse speaks volumes about the insecurity of this regime. This is something we should always remember when complaining about Twitter craziness.
The list of hypocrisies continues.
As the Communist Party pledges to open its markets to foreign investment and improve the rule of law, it forces technology transfers and steals hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign intellectual property. As evidenced by major US corporations such as Coca-Cola and Disney and institutions such as Hollywood and the NBA, China also demands silence in exchange for business deals. China does not seek a global economy but rather a feudal mercantile empire with Xi at the top.
Perhaps the best reflection of its feudal nature is the Communist Party’s call for beneficial “win-win cooperation” in international relations. However, the trappings of debt for poor nations, the taking of foreign visitors hostage, the congregation of a vast expanse of international waters, the culling of ocean wildlife, and the feigning of victim status when they are disputed on all these points are excluded from this sales pitch.
Zen is therefore only the tip of the iceberg. If communist China is willing to do this to its own citizens, Americans should not think much about what its global supremacy would mean to us.