Posts Tagged ‘ foreign affairs ’

You know you need to rethink when…

…you purport to represent Jesus but you sound increasingly like the Chinese Communist Party. Seriously. Take a look:

“With this spirit today we rally close around you, successor to (St.) Peter, bishop of Rome, the unfailing rock of the holy church.” –Cardinal Angelo Sodano to Pope Benedict, 5 April 2010

…let us rally closely around the Party Central Committee and work with one heart and one mind in a joint and unyielding effort to advance the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and create a happier life and a better future for us all!” –Chinese President Jiang Zemin, 8 November 2002

Notably, the Vatican is also taking a page out of the CCP style book in claiming unsubstantiated victimhood at the hand of nameless attackers. Just as criticism or disagreement with Beijing policy necessarily “hurts the feelings of the Chinese people,” so questioning the Vatican’s handling of the most vile of crimes is an anti-Catholic “hate” campaign, an organized “vile defamation operation.”

The faithful deserve better than the brittle spin of the Chinese Politburo, but that’s what they are getting. The similarities speak volumes about what’s wrong with the Vatican.

Beijing Stuns

The Chinese can be rightly proud.

The Chinese can be rightly proud.

Having watched China for much of the past 20 years, I had come to expect to be disappointed by the Chinese Communist Party’s inability to restrain its need for safe, conservative art. From the Beijing leadership’s perspective, art, like everything else, is judged not by its ability to move, but by its ability to serve the Party. As a result, major Chinese events broadcast to the world have consistently appeared just as stifling and archaic as the government that continues to hold a billion people back in the name of stability and harmony.

Against this backdrop, yesterday’s Olympic opening ceremonies were a marvelous surprise. Yes, it is clear that Zhang Yimou, the famed and acclaimed movie director, had to make compromises and accept a political imprimatur from the fearful men running Zhongnanhai. Nonetheless, the spirit, strength, and beauty of thousands of years of Chinese culture punched through the usual government crust to express, for the first time to so many at once, the majesty of China to the rest of the world.

Plenty of others have provided a play-by-play, so there’s no need to add to that volume here. Suffice it to say that if I was set back on my heels, I hope that many of my fellow countrymen now are also reconsidering their perception of this complex country that already plays a central role in our economy and will play an increasingly large role in the rest of our world over time.