2013 mission China.
The Year of Faith has just
begun in the Celestial Empire as Benedict XVI gets tweeting in Chinese.
From a geopolitical and religious point of view Beijing is for Benedict
XVI what Moscow was for his predecessor Karol Wojtyla.
In recent days,
the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization posted the logo and
calendar for the Year of Faith in Chinese to spread the word to
communities and Churches across the great Asian country, Archbishop Rino
Fisichella, President of the Pontifical Council for the New
Evangelisation told L’Osservatore Romano.
great wall no longer seems as impenetrable as it once did, despite the
fact that the country’s systematic repression of all dissent and voices
that oppose the regime.
In recent days, for example, Zhu Chengzhi, an
activist from Hunan who is investigating the death of a Tiananmen
dissident, was put in a secret residence that placed was under
surveillance for six months. Neither friends, parents nor lawyers are
allowed to visit him.
“Yet, from January 1st, Beijing has
implemented the reform of the Penal Code, which states that the police
must inform the family of the suspect within 48 hours to allow the
lawyer to meet his client,” missionary news agency AsiaNews
“In the world of dissidence there is also scepticism towards
the reform of the labour camps. In recent days, Meng Jianzhu, Secretary
of the legal and political system of the Chinese Communist Party, said
that by the end of 2013 China will have "stopped" the laojiao,
"re-education through labour", a method of detention and labour forced
that lasts from the time of Mao Zedong.” According to China Human Rights
Defenders (CHRD), the so-called “reform” is merely cosmetic as it is
just a change of name from laojiao to “Illegal Behaviour Correction."
Similarly, even the "stations of custody," where
those who present petitions are held prisoners since 2003 have been
called "custody and repatriation stations", the notorious "black jails"
where people disappear for months and which have multiplied dramatically
in recent years. According to AsiaNews sources, in Beijing alone, the "black jails" can contain up to 70-80 thousand prisoners.
During the Southern Weekend, another of the big
Chinese newspapers decided to fight against the Communist regime’s
imposed censorship. On the very day the Guangdong weekly was on the
verge of reaching an agreement with the provincial government, the Beijing News editor and his team refused to print an editorial published by the Global Times (the
Party’s official newspaper) which attacked Guangzhou’s “rebel”
Beijing News’ editors and staff say they are furious at the
intervention of the vice director of the capital’s propaganda office,
Yan Liqiang, who had asked the newspaper to print the article which had
been approved by the Party. The editor of Beijing News, Dai Zigeng,
preferred to resign rather than satisfy this request and his staff fully
In the meantime, the China train is slowing down.
Its growth rate is still on the rise but is much lower than that of
previous years: GDP growth in 2011 was at 9, 35 %, touching on 10, 4% in
2010. According to data from Beijing’s Central Statistical Office and
published by AsiaNews, there was a 7, 9% growth in the fourth quarter, indicating a slight recovery after a slow year.
These figures exceed the expectations of the
Beijing government which in its latest estimations had spoken of a
growth rate of 7, 5 %. In absolute terms, China’s GDP totalled 8280
billion U.S. dollars in 2012.
Rajiv Biswas, an analyst at Ihs Global,
explained that “the days of China’s relentless growth seem to be over
because its status is changing from that of a country with low salaries
to one with medium salaries.
These went up by an average of 10% a year for 30
years but are now in a transitional phase.
It is also important to
remember that the population is getting older and the marginal
productivity of capital is dropping. These long-term indicators exclude
the possibility of a continuous growth compared to that of recent
decades, in the future.
The one-child law, corruption and the uneven
distribution of wealth in society are the main factors that are holding
that as a result of these phenomena which are directly linked to the
Communist regime’s single-party dictatorship, there are thousands of
social protests every year.
The advent of the Internet and an increased
social awareness has amplified single cases and the wealth gap seems to
be the main contentious issue for citizens. Many analysts and dissidents
stress that without an improved redistribution of domestic wealth and
an average salary increase, the country is doomed to become divided and