It doesn’t seem like a police state?

Well, yes and no. Pres. Hu came to the USA, looking prim and proper. He looks like China; but there is another China you may not see depending on where you are and what you are doing, off the path of the choking state control. My associate paid a bribe to have us teach – you just don’t see the cash passed around.
This is not the Soviet KGB skulking about checking Americans in the public bathrooms. China doe not control private lives. You get cheap food, cheap sin, like beer and cigarettes, cheap housing, even cheap prostitutes (there were several Working Girls on the bus with me from Chifeng) and free heat, so you have no complaints. As long as you are comfy and cared for what does a little corruption matter? However, China does control all information. Small children are worked to death on studies from the earliest grades. The hours and the curriculum would send any American child to the doctor. The Chinese are taught 6,000 Chinese characters which must be ONLY DRAWN IN ONE PROSCRIBED WAY. Science and math are taught the same way, there is only one way, and English is only taught for reading comprehension and not as communication, so after many years, even 10 years, the Chinese cannot speak it.
Communication is about sharing ideas and life; they have no foundation for sharing ideas. The Chinese do not have ideas – they have opinions and information, much of that wrong. Social sciences and history are taught the same party-line way. The reading materials about the United States written in English tout the party line. For example, in one text book I saw a long article about the evils of gun ownership in the USA. Of course this fits in with the Communist’s desire to keep any form of opposition away from the private citizen. One of the initial reasons for the 2nd Amendment is to ward off tyranny. If the Chinese thought about tyrants they might get some ideas of their own, as indeed has happened in other societies which threw off their shackles. This explains why, no matter how often or properly we might suggest improvements to our Chinese friends, they cannot and will not change – there is only one way and they have been taught that way. They have no training to think creatively. And they never make mistakes and their country never makes mistakes. One teacher as much as said so 3 years ago! All ideas are policed.
The Internet allows NO negative information about China. A news story about Tibetan monks rioting was on Charter News but the thought police found it and by the time it flipped on my screen I read only a few sentences. A letter in a blog to a Warren Wilson professor was reviewed in a major online article but then, lo, when I tried to get into the man’s blog – it was down. Even the earthquake news was carefully controlled to show the beloved Communist army tending to every wound. But stories get out regarding massive disaffection. The Great Wall of Ignorance that surrounds China is not leak proof. And the great danger in the Olympics was not a few athletes bringing in Bibles but a whole world of visitors who do not live inside this wall of error. The police state is very much in evidence here. Where I am and what I am doing is a threat to their closed system. I bring new ideas, and new answers to questions they may not have asked. My presence here says, “You don’t know everything, and your system is not perfect.”
Bibles are confiscated, not because the people know they contain the Word of Life, but because in fact they DON’T know what’s inside. And since they have not been told what is in the Bible, and because everything they have already been told is the limits of information, therefore it must be disposed of. It must be false. “If it were true, the Communist government would have already taught me that.” And so the Bible must be false, and all must be removed. I have been in China a total of 12 months and no one has asked me how I live in the US. Because, of course, they already know the answer. They have been told that white people live in fear of impoverished, barefoot blacks, or gangs, and that all the whites are rich and they keep the ethnics poor. So you and I can afford to fly to China because we keep blacks in poverty. One teacher asked me when I was about to go home, “Aren’t you afraid of returning after living in Chifeng?” as though I faced mobs, street fights and guns? As though Chifeng is actually a nice place! Well of course compared to some places it is pleasant, but it is basically a dirty, concrete block city. American consumer goods are not sold here because the Chinese might make invidious comparisons – how come American have toilets that work, furniture that is comfortable, housing with built-ins, scotch tape that actually sticks, tools and appliances that don’t break down within 4 months? How come everyone has a car? How come there are low unemployment rates? People have dogs, cats, private clubs, organizations that meet behind closed doors and no one minds?
They go to church – what’s that? They have sailboats, beaches, extra TV sets, barbeques (what’s a steak?) backyard swimming pools? None of these are visible to the Chinese. All these things, including American TV unless it is blood and guts, are kept out. You can easily believe your society is the best if you know nothing outside. It is 1.3 billion highly educated, ignorant people. Even our best Chinese friends know a whole lot of stuff that isn’t true, not the least being that they don’t know near as much as they think they do. When you consider this, isn’t it truly amazing that God gets through at all? And if as individuals they end up having to face that they really don’t know all this, imagine the terror – a whole lifetime spent memorizing half truths, or worse yet, whole lies? Obviously at the upper levels of education there are people who are questioning the system, but by now they have been co-opted in such a way that to buck the truth would require them to leave family and friends; the cost is too high. It sounds absurd on the face of it, but this is the hole in the Communist dike – it cannot forever withstand the pressure of truth on all sides. China will collapse. It may go down in small pieces, like the Soviet Union or it may implode, but it cannot keep, like an intellectual Great Wall, the truth out forever. The 2008 earthquake is a lesson in fallibility, awful as it is, but a needed one. No, China is not perfect and no, you don’t know everything. That may be the cruelest aftershock of all.

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One response to “It doesn’t seem like a police state?

  1. uh…. none of this is true…

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