Readers of First Things will no doubt know that there is a religious dimension at play, too. Allen D. Hertzke has an article in the March 2000 issue, "What I Learned In China."
For three weeks in September of 1999 I traveled the length and breadth of the People’s Republic of China, lecturing to scholars, students, journalists, and even government officials. Sponsored by the U.S. Information Service, the branch of our foreign service that "tells America’s story" to the world, my lectures developed the theme that one cannot understand American politics without comprehending American religion.
Because the subject was religion and the U.S. State Department had just issued a report critical of religious persecution in China, these lectures often evolved into extended discussions, often debates, about the religious situation in China, the nature of a free civil society, the concept of religious freedom, and the meaning of faith in the modern world. Plentiful opportunities for quiet, one–on–one conversations also allowed me to hear personal accounts, whether of suffering during the Cultural Revolution and Tiananmen crackdown, or, with striking regularity, of the continuing struggles of religious believers in this one–party state. These encounters—some of the most poignant I have experienced as a scholar—opened a window into Chinese life and thought that I could not have anticipated. The following are some lessons I learned from this experience.
He goes on:
What I discovered is that Chinese intellectuals are also groping for moral and religious clarity. I met scholars looking for ways to make Confucianism, traditionally hostile to commerce, more compatible with modern capitalism. I was asked whether, and how, religion might provide moral restraint in a market society. I was asked about how religion might produce "social capital"—social ties and trust among people—to help smooth the process of modernization. One perceptive student even asked if communism is a religion. Yes, I said, it is the god of the twentieth century that failed.
Yet the Communist Party clings to power, attempting to fill the vacuum with consumer goods and nationalist pride. The blossoming of religious movements, however—from Falun Gong (the banned meditation cult that blends elements of Buddhism, martial arts, and strict moral messages) to Islam and Christianity—suggests that the party’s solution will not be adequate for China’s restless people.
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You can read the whole thing here.
In fact, just to "send a message" to whoever may be snooping, click through to the article from Google China, here.