China Strangles Civil Society


In the late eighteenth century, Edmund Burke, the intellectual godfather of American conservatism, praised man’s natural desire “to love the little platoon we belong to in society.” These “platoons” – our family, our church, our neighbors, our co-workers – are the foundation for our love of country.

China’s President Xi Jinping will have nothing of it.

For him, “patriotism” means love of government, and, specifically, love of the Communist Party and its atheistic ideology – and nothing else. This goal is the motivating force behind his double-edged campaign: the consolidation of his own power within the Party, as well as the elimination of potential threats to the Party’s power from China’s own “little platoons.”

The Communist Party first took aim at the family. The notorious “One-Child” policy was only one of many attacks on this venerable institution. But it was perhaps the bloodiest: hundreds of millions of unborn children have been killed as a result, many of them torn from their mother’s wombs during the final months, weeks, or even days of pregnancy. The Party-State has warred against Christian churches with equally brutal methods. Land-grabbing officials recently razed a new church, deliberately running over the pastor and his wife with a bulldozer, killing the wife.

“Communist officials protect their own,” Steve Mosher tells Breitbart News. “The bulldozer operators were taken into custody by the police, but no charges have been filed. In fact, no one will ever, under any circumstances, be brought to account for this heinous crime.”

Mosher, author of several books on China, is president of the Population Research Institute in Virginia. He was expelled from China when, as a graduate student at Stanford University, he was the first American social scientist to report on China’s newly instituted one-child policy. He was allowed freely to travel to the country’s rural areas – but that freedom ended abruptly when he went public with his report of the Party’s brutal forced abortion of any woman found to be pregnant with a second or third child, whether she lived in the city or in one of China’s 900,000 rural villages.

China didn’t stop there. The Communist Party warned Stanford that Mosher had to go – or the university’s privileged status as America’s “Gateway to China” would be slammed shut. Stanford meekly complied, and Mosher was expelled.

Today, decades later, the Party’s campaign against China’s “little platoons” continues. Just last week, the Guardian reports, the Party adopted a controversial new law that places some 7,000 foreign NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations) operating in China under the control of the Party’s widely-feared security forces.

As the Guardian reports:

Lu Jun, a well-know social activist, who was forced to move to the US last year after his organization was targeted by law enforcement, described the decision to give greater powers to police as a disaster.

The real purpose of the foreign NGO law is to restrict foreign NGOs’ activities in China and to restrict domestic-rights NGOs’ activities in China, cutting the connection between [the two],” he said.

The foreign NGO “management” law, which will come into effect on 1 January 2017, stipulates that any group wishing to operate in China must register with public security officials. Foreign NGOs must refrain from engaging in political or religious activities or acting in a way that damages “China’s national interests” or “ethnic unity.”

According to Lu, the Party would now treat foreign NGOs as enemies rather than friends – and the number of NGO’s still willing and able to operate in China would fall sharply.

“Communist China has always had its champions in the international community,” Mosher observes, “but those who thought that China was going our way, moving in the direction of freedom of association, assembly, and speech, have been caught short by the move, which requires all foreign NGOs operating in China to find ‘local sponsors.’”

That onerous requirement is a cynical threat, says Mosher. “No Chinese in their right mind is going to want to be associated with a foreign NGO, which can now at any time be accused by the Party of illegal activity, even espionage. Yet without such local sponsors, the NGOs will have to shut down.”

International humanitarian organizations might be stunned, says Mosher, but the Party’s latest move fits into a long-standing pattern. “Even as China is becoming richer and more powerful,” he points out, “it is under Xi Jingping becoming more and more of a police state.”

If Xi has his way, his grim campaign will replace China’s few remaining “Little Platoons” with platoons of Communist government security goons.

The author, co-founder of the American Foreign Policy Council and longtime staff member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, writes often on issues reflecting the intersection of religion and politics.