There’s a popular (but, in my view, highly misguided) theory that China acts like a hurt child who needs to be coddled. The dialogue usually goes something like this. Usually, people point out that China behaves badly in human rights violations. Inevitably, the official answer is the immediate kneejerk victim drama. The China apologists would immediately say that China was a hurt child, a kind of victim from western colonialism. Its past hurt and its present inferiority complex cause it to behave badly. So, our job is to heal their wounds by talking about it and denouncing it and so on without always harping on present bad behavior in hope that the bad behavior will correct itself. I’ve seen Christian leaders who want to do more work in China fall into this communist myth and defend China’s action regardless of gravity of the situation. I say this theory is total balderdash, utter bunk. I would in fact call China a terrorist brat rather than a hurt and abused child.
According to Wikipedia, a terrorist state is one that is willing to commit acts of terrorism against a foreign target and against its own people. Terrorism, at its heart, is systemic use of violence to cause fear in a certain population in order to achieve a certain political objective. The substance of the word “terrorism” is about “terror” or fear. FBI defines an international terrorist as someone who operates outside of his own national boundary to coerce and intimidate a particular population. The common tactic of a terrorist is to threaten and kill soft targets to achieve ideological goals. We see the pattern of threat against soft targets quite often since the fateful day on June 4, 1989 at Tiananmen. According to some definitions, what happened on June 4 fits perfectly internal terrorism. That’s the most recent memory for most of the world. China’s attack at soft target has never stopped from day one. The kidnapping of Hong Kong dissident bookstore owner Lee Bo and Taiwan tourists in Kenya are just the latest examples. In Hong Kong, as we recall, Mr. Lee ran a dissident bookstore of assorted quality (I heard some of the books are good while others are very so so). In a strange turn of event, Lee called off the British help (Lee is a British passport holder) to get him released and said that he voluntarily went into the mainland. Most sources state that Lee’s statements were coerced by threats. The Taiwanese nationals who were kidnapped had already been acquitted for their alleged crimes in Kenya, but apparently, China wasn’t satisfied. So, instead of letting them leave with their Taiwanese passports, China had brought their own security force to “arrest” these Taiwanese with the cooperation of Kenya. Five men who ran that same store had been missing in the past six months, disappearing from various locations including territories not belonging to China. In many cases of such kidnappings, the usual pattern surfaces. First the kidnapping happens. Then, people discover that the kidnapped victim holds a foreign citizenship. China then is in violation of international law kidnapping its victim overseas. Finally, in dramatic fashion, the family members of the victim would plea for international community not to try to rectify the situation and that the victim somehow was either guilty of trumped up charges or was willing participant of a visit back to the motherland. How is it the ones making the plea for the international community not to go after China’s bad deeds are usually family members?
There’s only one explanation. Family members are regularly threatened within and outside of China. Do I know this for a fact? No. Do I know there have been cases like that in the past? Certainly. The hideous tactic of threatening one’s family to get compliance is a clear indicator of a terrorist state.
If we follow the metaphorical logic of China being a child, we have to say that it’s been 60 odd years and many lives lost. A one-year-old child is cute. A 60 years old child is dreadful. Why would such a theory of the wounded child even work in light of everything logical and historical? It’s because China takes the Marxist model that has a built in element of oppression. The narrative goes something like this. The peasants were oppressed. So, as victims, they rise to revolt. The so-called revolt would take on the powerful in order to finally find parity among classes. This all sounds good until the victims who stubbornly pretends to be victims forever become victimizers. A country with the most corrupt officials in the Panama Papers isn’t a victim. It’s a victor pretending to be a victim, a gangster pretending to be a gentleman sitting at the international negotiation table. This Marxist drama continues to plague us even to today. The wounded child whose wounds we can often debate has become a full-grown monster. Its terrorist action is indefensible in light of international law. Using teargas to kidnap 45 Taiwanese citizens who had committed minor crimes in Kenya in order to extradite them back to the Mainland China isn’t the action of a child. 45!!! Christians who defend that warped narrative have no excuse.
Most likely, Christian leaders who defend this myth want to do more mission in China. By defending China, they hope they can convince China to behave better. This is as absurd as the myth by Deng Xiaoping who insisted that economic growth would spur more human rights. Deng’s theory didn’t materialize thus far. Neither has the theory of China’s immaturity given any excuse for this old country. If you’ve evolved for 5000 years and remain a wounded child, something is wrong. Those Christian leaders who continue to prop up this myth should think about what they’re really thinking. Their strange psychology and delusional logic simply can’t cover up their ulterior motive. Calling China a wounded child instead of a terrorist state is like calling heaven hell or calling a deer a horse. Is preaching the gospel more important than justice? If so, then we have a very flawed gospel that is neither true to the Bible nor the church tradition nor to recent history of China. Speaking in favor of a terrorist state is a serious sin. I don’t see the same people speaking up for ISIS. Why would they do so for China? Just because they think they can get access to preach the gospel? Those who do so will risk standing under the judgment of a God they claim they believe in. It’s time to just pronounce the simple judgment. China is a terrorist state. The pussyfooting around in our churches (both Chinese and non-Chinese) should just stop!
What solution is there if we read the whole situation as diaspora Chinese looking in from the outside? I think it’s ultimately not just logical and historical but theological. Many of us diaspora Chinese (aka Chinese immigrant to the West) have forgotten that as Christians, we mistakenly thought that the MOTHER-land is China and somehow the honor of that mother deserves protection. No! Our mother isn’t China. As Christians, if we say that God is our Father, we forget that the Church is our mother. Whose honor matters most? Clearly, it’s the witness of the church for justice and truth! It’s bad to defend a whore like a mother when we’re supposed to be the Bride of Christ having received our spiritual DNA from our Mother Church. If we defend an unjust system we consider (falsely) to be our mother, we’ve sold out the real Mother and the true faith we profess to believe in. The cost is too great.