Lessons from China
Communist Strategies Build Global Solidarity
by Berit Kjos, 2000
For background information, see: Persecution news, Persecution briefs from Compass and Preparing for Persecution
"Over three hundred evangelists and house church leaders are serving sentences ranging from 6 months to 30 years in 're-education' labor camps... The Chinese government has launched a sweeping campaign to attempt to exterminate all illegal house churches." (World Christian Broadcasting)
When Andy and I arrived in China in the spring of 2000 AD, one of the questions on our minds was: Will China limit free speech and religious expressions when it reclaims Hong Kong?
Actually, it already had.
Hong Kong was promised fifty more years of freedom from mainland interference. But the strong arms of the Chinese government has already begun to press the Internet media into its totalitarian mold. While the government promised free speech and freedom of religion, we were told that "divisive communications of any type" would be censored and the arrest and persecution of non-conforming Christians was rising.
Chinese leaders justify their steps toward "consensus" as a reasonable price for "peace" and "unity." So do their international sympathizers. As a result, facilitated dialectic groups -- used by Chinese Communists fifty years ago to brainwash the masses -- are now used by corporations, community groups and schools to squeeze all nations into the global mold. While China may be taking some lessons in capitalism from America, worldwide vision of social solidarity looks far more like the Communist East than the free West.
Lessons from China. The process of change used in Communist China the last 50 years has come full circle. First tried in the Soviet Union, it was actually conceived in Western Europe. Its history includes familiar names such as Marx, Hegel, and Huxley as well as Lenin and Stalin. While China added its own flavor to the mix, it retained the main elements of international communism. Many of its strategies were adopted by UNESCO and imbedded in the UN plan for molding and managing human resources around the world. By the early nineties, it had returned to the West under the banner of reform, systemic change and outcome-based education. (See Molding Human Resources for a Global Workforce)
Keep in mind, some of these steps are part of a system established half a century ago. While China has modified its economic agenda and embraced some parts of the capitalism it once despised, it still stands immovable on ideological issues vital to socialist solidarity. Meanwhile the West is more than willing to change its ways. Distracted by wants and dulled by thrills, Americans find it all too easy to tolerate the veiled constraints of totalitarianism. (See Mind Control)
This shift in public awareness was planned long ago. Back in 1948, the International Congress on Mental Health met in London and presented a report titled "Mental Health and World Citizenship." It said,
"Social institutions such as family and school impose their imprint early ... Thus prejudice, hostility or excessive nationalism may become deeply embedded in the developing personality... often at GREAT HUMAN COST...Change will be strongly resisted unless an attitude of acceptance has first been engendered."
Today, fifty years later -- with help from the media and our education system -- that "attitude of acceptance" has almost been engendered. That's why most Americans keep silent while self-proclaimed change agents follow China's steps toward an unthinkable system of social controls. (See The UN Plan for Your Mental Health)
1. SILENCE All OPPOSITION: "The mainland's education ministry and the Communist Party's ideology watchdog have jointly launched a campaign to clamp down on the 'spreading of Western ideas' in university classrooms," wrote Cary Huang, in the Hong Kong Standard. While "clamps on academic freedom had been rare in recent years," this last year brought the "revival of a hard-line propaganda campaign against Western ideologies by official media." Party leaders are warning teachers, firing questionable professors, censoring news, and imprisoning leaders of unregistered churches. Those who complain risk their jobs, their freedom, their families and their lives.
The government recently closed the editorial offices of the Reform Publishing House in Beijing for publishing a book that describes "the back-stabbing and bribery required to attain public office." The International Herald Tribune reported that
"Despite his Western-leaning economics, President Jiang Zemin has in the last year constantly reiterated the importance of standing fast by Communist ideology in a China overrun with dotcom start-ups.... Liu Juning, a political scientist who has written about the need for political change, was dismissed from his job at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and the editors at the state-owned Commercial Publishers had to write self-criticisms for publishing his book."
"Self-Criticism" -- like the consensus process -- has been part of Soviet and Chinese brainwashing since the fifties. As part of an ongoing process, such forced "confessions" serve to keep captives humble, submitted to their mentors, and increasingly pliable in the hands of Communist managers.
2. RE-SETTLE THE MASSES. China's impressive effort to move and house its people in ever-expanding communities of high-rise apartments and condominiums has won the applause of the United Nations. During the 1996 UN Conference on Human Settlements ( Habitat II) in Istanbul, Chinese housing projects and planned communities occupied the vast center of a cavernous hall used for a "Best Practices" exhibition. Displays from the rest of the world merely shared the outer perimeter. Today, similar controlled settlements, replete with common halls and recreation areas for group interaction and consensus-building, have sprouted like grass around the world, suggesting the demise of individualism as well as the private home. (See The U.N. Plan for Your Community)
3. WEAKEN THE FAMILY. Few nations honored the family more than pre-Communist China. The Confucian ethic pressed the people into centuries of strict family loyalties, ancestral worship, and elaborate rituals. With the spread of Communism, the family was forced to change. "To redirect loyalties, China's recent leaders created channels of mobility less subject to family control and reorganized communities to make them more responsible to outside pressures." Government day care centers, schools, and youth corps replaced the family as the vehicle for teaching values and transmitting beliefs. (See The Nazi Model For Outcome-Based Education)
The Soviet Union came up with a plan that worked well, and other communist nations followed suit: Get mothers out of the home and into the workplace, then train their children in government day care, pre-school, after-school, and youth centers. At night, send them back home as ambassadors for the international socialist paradigm. With UN guidance, the rest of the world has followed, and the family would never be the same.
4. TRANSFER LOYALTY TO PEER GROUP AND COMMUNITY. Continuing their quest to "free" children from parental values and family traditions, the Communist government forced everyone into "small groups for political study and criticism." According to The Cambridge Encyclopedia of China, these discussion groups "encouraged the individual to develop a separate identity from the family.... By transferring function from the family to the community (the production team or the neighborhood committee) and by denouncing the negative aspects of individualism, the Chinese Communist Party sought to promote the socialist ideal of collectivity."
5. INDOCTRINATE EVERYONE WITH THE "RIGHT" IDEOLOGY. Compare the following quotations from The Cambridge Encyclopedia of China with the Cuban education system and with the changes taking place in education throughout the "free" world. (See Zero Tolerance For Non-Compliance: Clinton's Ten Steps Toward Lifelong Behavior Modification)
"In schools and universities ideological indoctrination was built into the curriculum, partly as a result of wholesale borrowing from the Soviet Union.... The study of Chinese literature for example, stressed 'social realism' with the stereotyped presentation of 'heroes' and 'villains' in terms of the social classes they represented. Foreign literature focused on works guaranteed to show the worst features of capitalist society.
"The teaching of history was similarly conducted in accordance with Marxist concepts.... It became common for peasants and workers to be invited into the classroom to recall 'past bitterness': and contrast it with the benefits of the new era. Party-controlled youth organizations reinforced the official ideology.... 'The level of an individual's 'political consciousness' became of the greatest importance.... In some educational institutions, indoctrination came almost to replace teaching entirely." (See Élian's Future in a Totalitarian State)
6. CONTROL INDIVIDUALS IN COMMUNITY GROUPS. Early in their history, Chinese communists imported Soviet methods for controlling its people in "work units." The production team, which shared communal housing, became the "collective focus." It provided the basic needs and kept close watch on all its members. But over the years, its nature changed and its power decreased. Apparently, a different kind of surveillance is now on the rise. A recent article in the New York Times International gave this update:
"The old 'neighborhood committees' that watched over every household are among the more obnoxious memories of the early decades of Communist rule. Staffed... by one's nosiest neighbors, the committees were empowered to scrutinize every visitor, report every antisocial activity and even monitor pregnancies....
"With the decline of Marxist fervor... the committees waned.... Now, with experiments in Shenyang and 19 other cities, the government is trying to reinvent this venerable institution."
7. MANAGE THE MASSES BY "CONSENSUS." Of course, such politicized "consensus" is a veneer, a public show. It calls for continual media control, propaganda, and rewards for compliance. It also demands the kinds of punishment for dissent that will intimidate others into silence and submission. Like the public executions of the middle ages, the penalties for non-compliance must serve to intimidate and silence the vast majority.
With globalization came the need to control an ambitious leader's international image as well. The Voice of the Martyrs reports an incident that illustrates the kinds of "photo-ops" most global leaders now seek:
"It is also interesting this week to see pictures of President Jiang Zemin in Israel wearing a Yarmulke. Religious men wear a Yarmulke (a Jewish skull cap), and it is to be worn by all men when visiting certain sites in Israel. It is amazing how one picture such as this can convince a world of people that China has religious freedom."
8. RE-DEFINE MENTAL HEALTH. China promises religious freedom -- as long as the religion doesn't offend the ruling Communist party. Does that sound familiar? It should, if you have read United Nations' Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the basis for President Clinton's Executive Order on the "Implementation of Human Rights."
At the first glance, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sounds good, as do all the intrusive UN human rights treaties. Article 18 upholds "the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion..." Article 19 affirms "the right to freedom of opinion and expression... and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
But Article 29 states that "these rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations." In other words, these "rights" or "freedoms" don't apply to those who would criticize the UN or its policies. Your rights would be conditioned on your compliance. Only if your message supports official ideology are you free to speak it. As Andrei Vishinsky wrote in The Law of the Soviet State, "There can be no place for freedom of speech, press, and so on for the foes of socialism. 
When President Clinton signed Executive Order 13107, he claimed authority to establish a vast system for enforcing UN Human Rights standards in the U.S. This massive new bureaucracy would assess and monitor social attitudes everywhere, prevent contrary beliefs, and remediate anyone found guilty of non-compliance.
The World Health Organization [WHO] co-ordinates this "mental health" system around the world. It considers China a model nation. A WHO press release (11-12-99) titled "Brundtland Unveils New WHO Global Strategies for Mental Health" summarizes the plan:
"Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, launched here today WHO's new Global Strategies for Mental Health.... The new Strategies would finally continue to monitor the mental health of the world. WHO... was in the final planning stage of Mental Health Survey 2000. ... For WHO, mental well being is an integral part of mental health."
It makes sense that China would be considered a model nation. Following the Soviet pattern, it, like Cuba, has practiced tracking and reporting on its citizens for decades.
Persecution in China. Today, as many as 50-100 million Christians are meeting "illegally in private homes, fields and even caves, defying a government ban on such gatherings," according to World Christian Broadcasting. They risk their lives to worship God outside the boundaries of the government-controlled "Three Self" churches. These brave men and women serve a higher authority and have chosen to affirm the words of the apostle Peter, "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29) Their lives demonstrate a perseverance, joy and peace in Christ that defies comprehension but proves the irrepressible power of God's unchanging gospel in today's fast-changing world.
Since the controlled media only reports "news" that supports the Communist agenda, few non-Christians are aware of their government's persecution of Christians. But testimonies from the persecuted churches allow the "free" world to glimpse at the kind of Christian devotion, perseverance, persecution and joy in Jesus that can only be understood by those who learned "to share His suffering." World Christian Broadcasting describes a 1994 government assault on an "illegal" house church:
"...five evangelists were seized by agents of the Public Security Bureau, China's KGB. Each man was severely beaten in front of the congregation. The security officers next handed the truncheons to the congregants and ordered them to beat the preachers, on pain of being beaten themselves.
One particular evangelist was so badly injured that the security team feared he would die in their presence (leaving too much to explain), so they released him. He crawled and hobbled for several miles, attempting to reach his home, but finally collapsed and died on the road.
In February 1999, The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) reported that Li De Xian, a pastor in the Guangdong Province near Hong Kong, was once again arrested for "illegal" preaching. Fearing a riot, the Public Security Bureau (PSB) had sent twenty government vehicles to his Tuesday meeting, blocking streets and stopping all passage. But they didn't need to fear. VOM President Tom White tells the story:
"Their meeting place is the home of one of the local brothers (pray for him). The PSB took all the furniture and tangible items, destroyed all the tools and drawing boards, and cut the electricity. When they were done, there was nothing left but the building itself.
"When they seized Li, several of the older believers offered themselves to be arrested in his place. Others began telling all the officers, 'Bless you,' and 'We do not hate you for what you are doing.' Over and over the people were casting blessings on the officers.... Brother Li turned to the people and told them only to pray for him. Six hundred people immediately went to their knees in prayer.
"When the Secretary of the PSB, a high-ranking officer, saw this, he was amazed. He asked, 'How is it that you have so much power? You say a word and the people obey immediately.'
"After Li had been taken to the station, the believers went back and continued the meeting. It hasn't stopped for a moment. Instead of chairs to sit on, now they sit on newspapers."
At the station, Li faced the standard communist interrogation and demand for "confession." Firm in his faith, he told his captors, "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Bur rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28) Later, the PSB Secretary told him, "You have more power than I." Admitting defeat, he compared the public disinterest in Party events with the multitudes that crowd into Li's church.
Pastor Li's triumph didn't end there. His imprisonment allowed him to share the gospel with 12 cellmates. He was eventually freed but refused to stop his "illegal" preaching. A News Bulletin from The Voice of the Martyrs describes a recent incident:
"Pastor Li Dexian was arrested once again on April 11th, the very day the United States submitted an article to the United Nations calling for censure of China on account of their human rights abuses.... He is not allowed any visitors. If past experience is repeated, he is likely being isolated in his cell also. The Religious Affairs Bureau and the Public Security Bureau are growing weary of this entire situation. In a system that places people in prison and labor camps with no trial, and charges are merely uttered upon one's arrival, there is much to be concerned about. Chinese prisoners have been known to 'disappear' when locked up in this system.
"The hundreds of Christians who gather every Tuesday in Hua Du are no strangers to the Communist government's policies. When the large shelter, where the believers protected themselves from the elements, was destroyed last October, it was destroyed by thugs from other areas who where hired by the PSB. In prison the same tactics are used. Benefits are granted to certain prisoners who in return make life miserable for others, like Pastor Li. On previous occasions, Li was the one in the cell who was routinely abused...." 
Contrary to Western expectations, religious freedom is eroding, not increasing. It's not surprising that the Party Secretary of the Guangdong Province has been "turning this Province into a base for 'Jiang Zemin Thought.'" According to the South China Morning Post, "the provincial party leadership is reviving the two-year-old crusade on the 'Three Emphases' -- a reference to promoting Marxist values and Communist-style righteousness." VOM explained how this change affects Christians:
"Marxist values and Communist-style righteousness locks up people like Li Dexian. Li hinders this very idea and so he sits in prison today. Li never speaks harm to any of those who arrest him; he preaches the gospel. For this he suffers, his wife suffers constant surveillance and his son suffers in school. Li has vowed that he will preach the gospel until he dies, and his wife has vowed to stand with him. (News Bulletin 4-14)
Lessons from the persecuted Church. While the world unites in a common quest for an anti-Christian solidarity, Christians can rejoice in a spiritual unity that no government can sever. Those who are "born again" into God's family share one Father, one Shepherd, one Hope, and one eternal Kingdom. But the light of that Hope tends to shine far brighter in a Chinese prison cell than in an American city where all kinds of distracting lights dim our eyes to the glory of God.
God's Word calls us to stand together in love -- helping, encouraging, teaching, and praying for each other. Oceans and other physical barriers are no excuse. Please consider some the ways we can cross those barriers:
Pray: Seek God's wisdom, understanding and love for those He loves in distant lands. Pray especially for the persecuted Church in China.
Study: Take time to read the stories and ponder the lives of those who loved God enough to give up their lives rather than deny their Lord. (See Christian Persecution)
Count the cost: Ask God to show you what worries, fears, distractions and activities block your vision of His wonderful Kingdom. (See Matthew 8) If you are willing, having counted the cost, commit yourself to Him and the fulfillment of His purpose, trusting that "He who has called you will also do it."
Trust God: He has promised to be our peace and sufficiency no matter what happens. His kind of joy doesn't begin to compare with our finite human view of fun, happiness and entertainment.
Praise Him: His wise and wonderful ways turn our self-focused ways upside down. For those who choose Him, He will replace fear with hope, trade weakness for His strength, and turn suffering into joy.
Memorize and meditate on His promises. Remember:
"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:10-12
Human worth depends on conformity to the system
The persecution of Christians, the cruel work camps, the Tiananmen massacre, etc.
Cubans that attempt escape face heartless government slaughter or torturous imprisonment. (See Elian's Future in a Totalitarian State)
Merciless slaughter of Chechnya, torture and rape of prisoners.
Education based on Communist ideology
Used Soviet brainwashing strategies, including Hegelian dialectic (consensus) process. See quotations below.
Schools and society must build "Communist personality" using Soviet education strategies and totalitarian controls.
Soviet system: State management of the lifelong learning process with focus on ideology, group thinking & labor skills for planned economy
Hatred for the Bible
The state permits Bibles to be printed in Nanking for the registered "Three-Self" churches, but relatively few reach members of the "illegal" house churches.
Countless Christians have risked their lives to smuggle Bibles into or within the former Soviet Union.
Humans managed in groups or teams
"Meetings were being held in vacant rooms and open spaces wherever a group could gather to discuss, self-criticize, and confess." Brainwashing by Edward Hunter, page 51.
Soviet-Cuban education means group learning. That's why Elian's friends had to come to the U.S.
The Hegelian Dialectic (consensus) process is the heart of Communist "education."
1. Cary Huang, "Western Ideas Silenced in Class," Hong Kong Standard, May 15, 2000.
2. The International Herald Tribune, May 20, 2000.
3. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of China, Brian Hook, Editor (New York: Cambridge University), page 92)
4. Ibid., page 92-93.
5. Ibid., page 117.
6. Ibid., page 100.
7. Eric Eckholm, "China's Neighborly Snoops Reinvent Themselves," The New York Times International, April 11, 2000.
8. Vishinsky (Encyclopedia Britannica)
9. Tom White, "Baptism--Sentiment or Sacrifice?" Voice of the Martyrs (February 1999), page 4-5.
10. To contact The Voice of the Martyrs, make a donation, or request their magazine write the office at P.O. Box 443, Bartlesville, OK 74005, or visit the website at The Voice of the Martyrs. Phone: 918-337-8015 E-mail: Email :firstname.lastname@example.org
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