It is often said that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a totalitarian government. Indeed, it is true. But what does it mean, concretely, for peoples who fall under Beijing’s totalitarian dictatorship? What can countries in Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Americas expect as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) expands its reach and tightens its grip worldwide? The answer can be found in Tibet.
Tibet teaches us what Chinese totalitarianism really looks like on the ground. Likewise, Tibet, especially the spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, offers hope in the face of brutal communist persecution.
Communists Hate Religion
It is common knowledge that communists hate religion. Karl Marx famously sneered at religion as the “opiate of the people“. During the Spanish Civil War, communists hunted down priests and nuns and ransacked churches. The same thing happened during the Cristero War in Mexico. In Vietnam, communists massacred priests and nuns, confiscated church property, and hounded regular believers. This pattern has been repeated wherever communists have seized power: Cuba, North Korea, Cambodia, Venezuela, East Germany, and Poland are just a few of the many examples.
But while communists hate religion, they also often find that they cannot rule without it. The atheist state at which communists aim appears to be an impossibility. Where traditional religion is killed, new cults form in its place.
Perhaps the best illustration of this is the former Soviet Union, which waged war on the Orthodox Church before trying to come to terms with it. Or, look at Mao Zedong, who fomented murderous chaos in China while being worshipped as a living god.
Communists hate religion. But, communists also invariably discover that religion cannot be killed. In many cases, this only increases their hatred. Under these circumstances, religious leaders and laypeople suffer horrific abuse, even genocide, at the hands of communist rulers.
Author: Jason Morgan
Jason Morgan is an associate professor at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan.
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