February 15, 2002
by Siegfried Lambert
One does not have to know the “Five Tibetans,” can look upon Zen as nonsense and might smile condescendingly about Falun Gong – but the courage shown by all followers as they portray their ideals in their daily lives is worthy of all respect. In Germany where 2,000 members practice quietly, the state leaves them alone.
It is none of our business by which creed nations’ citizens conduct themselves, as long as they abide by laws and adhere to rules. The ruling national party in China takes a different view. The media is of the same mind and they lie through their teeth and spit out what the leading clique tells them to broadcast. It is so designed because freedom of expression and freedom of belief hamper control and restructuring that is supposed to lead to change toward a market economy based on Western examples.
These are uncomfortable signs during a time when China is primarily on stage and open to scrutiny for her future economic possibilities, those of orderly performances in the economic/trade sector. That’s why foreign activists from abroad are particularly pesky and bothersome, disturbing and unsettling, especially so because they are confoundedly free of force, rather a nuisance, because they point the finger at the deficit of this enormous country, the absence of personal freedom of her citizens.
But without personal freedom this new economic liberalism is worthless, because it changes the nation into nothing but a profit-making machine, where individuals must either knuckle under or perish. Followers of blossoming spiritual movements in China had internalized that fact a long time ago. The rulers in Beijing don’t get it.
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