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Religions Could Be the CCP's Undoing
Paul Lin

[Recently], Pope Benedict XVI ordained a group of new cardinals, including Hong Kong Bishop Joseph Zen. About 140 Hong Kong residents, including former Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee, attended the ceremony. Ironically, some of them waved China's five-star flag to congratulate their long-time enemy. Hong Kong's Takungpao, a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mouthpiece, commented on Zen's performance in recent years, saying that he was more like a politician and a street activist than a religious leader.

Liu Bainian, vice-chairman of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, said in an interview with Reuters that Zen was a threat to the Beijing government, just as Pope John Paul II had been to the communist regime in Poland, and if all Chinese bishops acted like Zen, the situation would become as dangerous as it had been in Poland. He also said Zen was a well-known anti-communist activist.

The Vatican, however, ignored Beijing's comments. In an interview with Hong Kong's I-Cable TV, Holy See Foreign Minister Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo said that the spiritual needs of the several million Catholics in China were more urgent than those of the 300,000 Catholics in Taiwan; therefore, the Holy See expressed its willingness to transfer its apostolic nunciature from Taipei to China.

Lajolo added that Zen was a Chinese national who understood Chinese people, and he believed that Zen would be able to deepen mutual understanding between the Vatican and China.
The 74-year-old Zen spent his youth in Shanghai before going to Italy to study and then returning to work in Hong Kong. Given his background, he clearly knows the history and facts of China's religious persecution.

The Takungpao urged Zen to act based on religion, but it is Zen's deep understanding of China's cruel religious persecution that forms the true religious basis for his actions.

The Vatican says it has several million followers in China, but this is a low estimate which may simply be the number of members in the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. If other Christians and underground congregations are added, a conservative estimate of the actual figure could reach 40 million people.

Add in the followers of Falun Gong -- another group persecuted for its beliefs -- and the figure would surpass the number of members of the CCP. This could constitute a big threat to the Chinese government.

Last fall, Beijing-based lawyer Gao Zhisheng launched a rights protection movement after researching the prosecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and learning of the Chinese government's bloody crackdowns and suppression of the spread of information. His pursuit of justice stirred up the CCP's anger and, along with other protesters, he was persecuted by the CCP -- through the use of gangsters -- which resulted in people around the world participating in rotating hunger strikes in support of Gao. Gao is not a Falun Gong practitioner, but rather a Christian.

Other than Gao, a good number of rights activists are followers of various religions, and they are now fighting China's vicious persecution of human rights based on their firm religious beliefs.

Under the CPP's rule, some Chinese, because they have no respect for God, do as they please and the ensuing lawlessness results in moral decline. Religious development in China could lead to the collapse of the CCP regime; it is probably also a necessity to safeguard social justice in China. Otherwise, if one day China comes to rule Taiwan, Taiwan will be confronted with a moral crisis that will lead to its doom.

Paul Lin is a political commentator based in New York.

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