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PRI Review – September 26, 2018



  • China “Mobilizing Masses” to Reproduce
  • Democracy and the Constitution
  • Vatican Betrayal

China “Mobilizing Masses” to Reproduce

Young Party members ordered to “lead by example” to achieve a “two-child family regime”

When the Chinese Communist Party implemented a “comprehensive two-child policy” in early 2016, outside observers assumed that it would be voluntary.  And why should they not? To all appearances, this was a dramatic relaxation—a doubling, no less–of the restrictive one-child policy.

But appearances can be deceiving, especially where China is concerned. Instead of enjoying a new dawn of reproductive freedom, Chinese couples are actually being herded into something resembling reproductive servitude.

I say this because what the Party has actually decided to do, according to internal Party documents, is “comprehensively implement a policy of each couple giving birth to two children.” (全面实施一对夫妇可生育两个孩子政策)

In other words, after decades of ordering couples to have no more than one child, the Party has now done a complete about-face, and is instructing them that they should have no less than two.

The above quote comes from a directive issued by the Party authorities in Yichang, a central Chinese city of some four million people. Such provincial and local Party directives, it should be noted, always hew closely to the official Party line.

In fact, it is safe to assume that the Yichang directive, minor edits aside, simply parrots the Central Committee directive—still secret—that first laid out the new policy.

So what does the Yichang directive “On Implementing the New Comprehensive Two-Child Policy”, which is addressed to all Communist Party members and government organizations in the municipality, actually say?

It begins by affirming that the Comprehensive Two-Child Policy “is an important initiative undertaken by the Party Central Committee … that affects the reproduction of the Chinese race from one generation to the next as well as the health and happiness of future generations.”

The reference to the Central Committee–the most powerful political body in the country–makes it clear that what follows is an order, not a suggestion. Like the imperial edicts once issued by China’s emperors, it is simply to be obeyed, not questioned.

The Yichang authorities, having established that the future of the Chinese race is at stake, go on to lament the current birth dearth:

Our city’s birthrate is beyond low, with women not even averaging one child each. If this situation continues, it will pose dangerous risks and do enormous harm to our city’s economic development, as well as threaten the family happiness of the masses.

Since couples in Yichang are voluntarily averaging less than one child, they obviously don’t feel that being the parents of an only child in any way threatens their “family happiness.”

Local and national Party officials, however, feel differently. Like their national counterparts, they obviously view the unwillingness of those under their control to reproduce as a direct threat to their power, as the next sentence of the directive makes clear:

The direct consequence [of this low birthrate] is the risk of more one-child families, the aging of the population, shortages in the work force, and lagging behind in urbanization. This will in turn affect labor productivity and the overall economic competitiveness of our city.

To implement the Comprehensive Two-Child Policy, the directive announces a whole raft of pro-natal initiatives.

  • Public hospitals will deliver a second child for free and maternity leave will be lengthened.
  • The medical exams required before couples can marry, and the eugenics exams required before they can conceive children, will both be free.
  • Obstetrical and pediatric health services will be increased, and childcare and education facilities will be expanded.
  • Infertility services for those unable to conceive and bear children, and for women near the end of their reproductive lives, will be expanded.

None of these initiatives are, as it turns out, unique to Yichang. Similar initiatives have been announced by literally dozens of provincial and municipal jurisdictions throughout China, obviously in response to the same central government guidelines that Yichang is following.

Most observers think that such perks will scarcely be enough to convince all, or even most, of this generation of young Chinese singletons to marry and have children.

The Yichang authorities seem to agree, because they put the burden of enforcing the policy directly on their fellow Party members.

Using language reminiscent of China’s Maoist past–but still used in internal Party documents today—the Yichang Party Committee issues an order:  All Communist Party members under its jurisdiction are to “take the lead in responding to the Party Central Committee’s call” to have a second child.

“Older comrades”–that is to say, those who are beyond their childbearing years–are instructed to “educate and supervise their children” in the new policy.  In other words, parents are to ensure that their own grown child (most will have only one) goes on to give them—and the country—two grandchildren.

“Younger comrades”—by which is meant those still able to have children—are given an even more difficult assignment.  They are told that they must help implement the “comprehensive two-child policy” by leading by example. The Chinese phrase used in the text literally means “doing it starts with me.”

In other words, younger Party members are being ordered to bear two children.

Party members must also “mobilize the masses,” they are then told:

Every comrade must become a propagandist.  Publicize the benefits of having two children, and the risks associated with having only one.  Strongly encourage the masses, especially women of childbearing age, to adopt the policy as their own. Guide the masses to be responsible and follow the [new] birth plan by having a second child. All manner of measures must be used to mobilize the masses, and to actively implement the Comprehensive Two-Child Policy.

By now, each and every one of China’s 90 million Communist Party members knows what their comrades of Yichang know, namely, that there is a new political campaign underway to raise the birth rate.

Each and every Party member has seen a local Party directive similar to Yichang’s, and has been told to mobilize the masses to have two children. They have been told to lead by example, and to pressure their own children to comply.

We in the West, long accustomed to China brutally restricting births under the one-child policy, have to understand that there is a new reality in China.  An aging population, a shrinking workforce, and diminishing economic prospects have led Beijing to strikingly reverse course.

The Chinese Party-State has stopped forcing young women to have abortions.  Under its new Comprehensive Two Child Policy, it is now mandating that they give birth.

 

Second Segment

 

“A Republic – If You Can Keep It”

– Benjamin Franklin, on leaving the Constitutional Convention, 1787

 

Every year on September 17, America celebrates Constitution Day, commemorating the signing of the Constitution in 1787. This year, Hillary Clinton used the occasion to complain that she would have won the presidency in 2016, had it not been for the Constitution.

The Constitution, apparently, is undemocratic, and Mrs. Clinton champions democracy, “our birthright as Americans.” Of course, she ignores the Founding Fathers, who detested democracy. They believed that our birthright is liberty. They knew their Aristotle: in his Politics, he carefully explains how democracy, the rule of the mob, leads to the rise of the tyrant.

Some 750 years later, Saint Augustine discerned a simple truth that inspired Western Civilization for over a thousand years. Aristotle sought man’s highest good, and Augustine, in the light of Revelation, told us what that highest good is: we achieve our highest good when we enjoy the Beatific Vision in Heaven. To attain that eternal goal, he explains, our goal in this life is virtue; and the highest virtue is Caritas, love, “a motion of the soul toward the enjoyment of God for His own sake, and the enjoyment of one’s self and one’s neighbor for the sake of God.”

Well, the government – any government – ultimately rules by force. Government cannot love, whatever form the regime takes. It can’t make us love, either. So it can’t attain our highest goal for us, no matter how hard it tries, no matter how much power it has. Augustine tells us that the earthly ruler can provide us with only a modicum of peace, justice, and order in which to work out our salvation. But while our salvation is eternal, those goals are temporal, and thus subordinate. Hence, government must be limited in order for man to flourish in the realm of freedom that government must protect, but not invade.

Augustine’s notion of limited government was new to the ancient world, and it has been central to the history of Christendom. While the West flourished, every other civilization languished in tyranny. What made the West different? Christianity, and its limits on power.

The lust for power, Augustine explains, is the driving force of the City of Man, whose ruler is Satan. That’s why, since the French Revolution, those seeking unlimited power have unanimously recognized that they must destroy not only the limits on power, but the truths that demand those limits: they must destroy the Catholic Faith. And in destroying those limits, and the Faith that informs them, they must also destroy the source of that Faith – the Church, the bulwark that is the tyrant’s timeless obstacle to achieving unlimited power and keeping it. Once that destruction is achieved, the Left can finally attain its goal. As O’Brien describes it to Winston in Room 101, the torture chamber of Big Brother’s Ministry of Truth, that goal is “a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”

Ambitions Good and Bad

Well, our Constitution was written to prevent tyrants, not to preserve them. The Founders limit power in many ways. They were realists, not ideologues. They knew well the imperfections of fallen man and the attractions of the nefarious temptations to illegitimate power, so they introduced checks and balances to curb them. They included now familiar, but at the time groundbreaking, principles: Separation of Powers (the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial), each with limited and defined powers; the Division of Powers (state and federal), with the guarantee that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

In James Madison’s words, “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.”

Well, one thing we know about Hillary Clinton is that she resents powerfully anything that counteracts her ambition. And right now she’s convinced that the Constitution is her enemy, because she wants to destroy the barriers to the mob rule that our Founders strived to avoid.  And her number is legion. Decades of content-free public schools and generations of lazy, ill-educated journalists, not to mention shallow politicians, constantly trumpet the notion that the United States is a “democracy.”

Well, “democracy” is the horse that Mrs. Clinton is going to ride, and she isn’t wasting any time. In order to erase the Constitution’s barrier to the victory she should have had, she is blunt: “I passionately believe it’s time to abolish the Electoral College,” she writes.

Mrs. Clinton’s apology tour never seems to end, but her passion for “democracy” is widely shared among the Left; If the presidency could be won with a simple majority of votes cast across the country, candidates could campaign in a couple of dozen major cities (all failing miserably, and governed by Democrats, of course), as well as the twelve states where the majority of voters live. The rest of the country – the eighty percent of America’s counties that Trump won – would be left high and dry, forever.

We recall that the Electoral College was adopted in order specifically to convince smaller and less-populated states to support the Constitution in the first place. It’s a slam dunk that the required 38 states would never support a constitutional amendment granting Hillary’s passionate wish.

Why all the Fuss About Kavanaugh?

Well, the Supreme Court amends the Constitution all the time.

Consider: Article Four of the Constitution guarantees to the states a “Republican form of government,” but in 1962, the swaggering Warren Court declared the Republican form of the U.S. Senate to be unconstitutional when enacted in the states. The court thus required that state senate districts be apportioned with equal populations in each. Now, if this principle were applied to the U.S. Senate, the states of North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont and Wyoming would have to join forces in order to get just one senate seat between them. But no problem! A profound change that the states never would have approved as a constitutional amendment was imposed on them by a simple decision of the Supreme Court.

Well, why not abolish the Electoral College by judicial fiat?

Enter Judge Brett Kavanaugh. He believes in obeying the Constitution as written, not the Constitution he would have written had he been in Philadelphia 231 years ago. But there are four justices on the Court today who take a different view; with one more justice of like mind, they could change the U.S. Constitution by a wave of the wand in the same fashion that the Warren Court changed the constitutions of every state in the union. Their allies on the Left are well aware that their victories in the Court – on abortion, on same-sex marriage, and countless other issues – could be reversed with the same ease that they were achieved: by a majority of the justices of the Supreme Court.

Let’s face it – for the Left, Hillary is expendable, but her nonstop whining accurately reflects the resentment and hatred of millions on the Left for the reality that they never thought could come to pass: she lost. And now the Left rages at the logical consequence of that fact – Donald Trump won, and he is nominating Supreme Court justices that they cannot abide.  They want an activist Supreme Court that will overturn every section of the Constitution that limits their power. And that’s why there might well be a string of anonymous Hillary Diehards showing up every ten days until Christmas claiming that Brett Kavanaugh did something awful to them in grade school. This charade parade is all they have left.

Of course, their target is not only Kavanaugh. It’s a warning. The same sully-and-ruin campaign will be directed at any nominee whom Trump dares to name to the Court.

Leftists will always do whatever they can get away with. They always have. To paraphrase Lenin, “whatever furthers the revolution is ethical.” And there are 49 Democrats in the U.S. Senate who agree with him, so stay tuned.

 

Third Segment

 

PRI President Stephen Mosher condemns Vatican for ‘betrayal’ in secret agreement with Communist China

As someone who, over the years, has helped underground Catholics in China build churches and open orphanages, I believe that the “provisional agreement” is a betrayal of the Catholic Church in China.

Actually, I see it as a betrayal on several levels.  It betrays the authority of the papacy by giving the Chinese Communist Party the right to name bishops.  It betrays the underground Church in China, a Church which not only has survived decades of persecution at the hands of the authorities but is now, once again, under siege.  And–I would argue–because it is a secret agreement, it betrays the Truth by allowing both sides to misrepresent it.

Whose purposes are being served by signing a secret agreement? Scripture tells us that “Darkness always hates the light.” A secret agreement keeps Catholics in China and around the world in the dark about whatever compromises the Vatican has made.  Even worse, it also allows the Communist authorities to misrepresent the agreement to the Chinese faithful in whichever way they choose. They will surely use the borrowed authority of the Vatican to undermine the faith of believers in China in their own Church.

Cardinal Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, told me in May that the signing of an agreement with the Chinese Party-State would give Rome “leverage” over the Communist authorities that it could use to help Catholics in China. But how much leverage does an agreement give you that is not only “secret,” but entirely “provisional.”

The answer, of course, is none.

If the Vatican is relying on the trustworthiness of Chinese Communist officials, it will surely be disappointed.  Beijing has signed many agreements over the years–agreements whose terms are publicly known–only to violate them before the ink is dry on the paper.

Cardinal Parolin insisted to me that, since “we will be signing an agreement with Xi Jinping himself … will they not abide by it?”

The short answer is “No.”  The Chinese Party-State has signed many agreements over the years, many of which it simply later ignored, like the Sino-British Agreement over Hong Kong.  Others, like the World Trade Organization covenants, it merely pretends to honor.

Does the Vatican not know that the same officials they are naively trusting to keep an agreement are currently engaged in a widespread crackdown on all forms of religious expression in China?

Cardinal Parolin certainly knows, since I read him the new regulations restricting religious activities during the course of our meeting.  These new regulations, announced on February 1 of this year, have led to a wave of persecution, with churches are being torn down and Bibles are being burned.

Will the Communist authorities cease and desist simply because they have signed an agreement with the Vatican? It seems unlikely.

As I write in Bully of Asia, the head of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping, is modeling himself on the late Chairman Mao, one of the great mass murderers of human history.  Like Mao, Xi is carrying out a Cultural Revolution in China to eliminate all religions. And he has made it clear that he simply will not tolerate “foreign interference in internal Chinese matters.”

What this means is that, whatever the precise terms of the secret agreement, it will not put the Vatican in a position to aid the Chinese Catholic Church, much less direct its activities.

The agreement will instead benefit the Chinese Party-State, which will use it to assert its control over the Underground Church in China. It will tell the faithful that the Pope himself has recognized the Communist-run Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, and that each and every one of China’s 12 million Catholics must worship only in its churches. It will intensify its attack on the Underground Church, using the borrowed authority of the Vatican itself as an ideological assault weapon.

I will say that, had the agreement been negotiated by prelates like Cardinal Zen, men who are profoundly and personally aware of the nature of the officially atheistic, one-party dictatorship that rules China, we could have confidence in it.

But I have no confidence in an agreement that was negotiated by clerics who have zero understanding of China’s recent history of brutally suppressing religion. These include clerics like the now-disgraced McCarrick, who has made no fewer than eight trips to China in recent years, the last few at the specific request of Pope Francis, in pursuit of just such an agreement.

The Communist Party long been determined to force underground Chinese Catholics out of the catacombs so they can be brought under strict Party control.  Why anyone in the Vatican, including Cardinal Parolin, would think it’s a good idea to lend the name of the Pope to this effort in this way is beyond me.

We must pray for the suffering Church in China.

 

 

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