Massimo Introvigne is an Italian sociologist of religion who has become an expert on religious persecution in China. MercatorNet interviewed him recently about his latest book (available only in Italian at the moment).
Massimo Introvigne: I realized that some of the articles in Bitter Winter could be put together and rearranged as a coherent narrative about religious persecution in China. The book was basically already written, although it needed editing and coordination between the different chapters in order to become readable. It is in Italian but we are ready to consider proposals for other languages,
It appears that old-fashioned Communism is alive and well in China – the kind that despised religion as “the opium of the people”. Is the persecution motivated by Marxist doctrines or just cultural xenophobia?
Persecution is mostly motivated by power and control. The CCP believes that civil society, including — particularly — religion, was left unchecked in Eastern Europe and caused the collapse of Communism there. It does not want to repeat the same mistake. For some CCP leaders, power means keeping their luxurious lifestyle. But others are true believers, persuaded that by saving the power of CCP, the last genuine fortress of Marxism, they are saving the world.
Is President Xi Jinping personally responsible for this hatred of religion and the persecution? Will things change if he departs?
Xi Jinping did bring some personal ideas. He promotes the thesis of the superiority of Chinese culture — by which he means Han culture, to be imposed on non-Mandarin speaking minorities such as Tibetans and Uyghurs, whose languages he would like to eradicate.
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