President Trump increasingly surrounds himself with anti-China fanatics, but in reality, his supporters may find the truth about the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping to be quite inspiring.
When Donald Trump addressed his supporters in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, among those in attendance were members of an extremist, religious organization dedicated to toppling the Chinese government. The Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, distributed leaflets throughout the crowd promoting its publication “Epoch Times” stating that it is dedicated to “exposing communism.”
To the westerners Falun Gong seeks to recruit and influence, the religious cult appears to be merely a peaceful, exercise-oriented, spiritual organization. Many young non-Chinese urban professionals turn to it, seeing it almost as another version of yoga, mindfulness training, or group therapy. The extremism and politically charged nature of the group is well hidden from these naive, western recruits, and mostly reserved for its ethnically Chinese cadre.
However, the reality of the Falun Gong is not hard to find out, for those who really want to know the truth. Falun Gong has openly advocated the execution of homosexuals. The group believes that women’s suffrage is a sign of societal decay in a “dharma ending period.” The organization opposes interracial marriage, arguing that people of mixed racial backgrounds are without souls.
The organization glorifies feudalism in China, and sees the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to modernize the country, improve human rights, and raise the overall standard of living as a deviation from the “natural order” of ancient times when peasants “knew their place” serving “natural superiors” in the landowning class. The practices of the Falun Gong are rooted in the primitive, superstitious rituals intended to glorify this repressive structure.
China’s rise as a country has largely been rooted in the struggle to modernize. Dr. Sun Yat Sen famously smashed religious idols when launching his nationalist movement. Mao Zedong and the Communist Party became a strong organization by providing literacy and education to millions of peasants, and encouraging them to embrace dialectical and historical materialism.
Falun Gong Joins “Team Trump?”
The Falun Gong’s conservatism is laced in hypocrisy. While the group claims to be defending traditional family values, its practices generally involve separating Chinese children from their parents. Young people recruited into the organization are often forbidden from speaking to their relatives, unless they are recruiting them or soliciting donations.
It seems that this extremist group has become part of what some commentators have labeled “Team Trump,” or the loose coalition of pet causes and special interest groups backing the White House. For many years, the Falun Gong has pandered primarily to liberal and bohemian circles in the United States, but its recent decision to publish McCarthy-esque articles on the history of the U.S. Communist Party and its attendance of Trump’s gathering indicates a shift in alliances.
This would not be the first time that eastern religious organizations have been utilized by U.S. leaders. Richard Nixon famously imported Reverend Sun Myung Moon, a Korean pastor who claimed he was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, to the United States. Reverend Moon’s supporters were loyal to Nixon, going as far staging a hunger strike in the hopes of halting the Watergate investigations.
The followers of Rev. Moon functioned almost a political counter-gang working against the Anti-Vietnam War movement. Followers of Moon were dispatched to remove posters promoting anti-war rallies, and though Moon often spoke of peace, his followers were indoctrinated to believe that they were going to a play pivotal role in a pending global war against the Soviet Union.
After the fall of Nixon, Reverend Moon’s Unification Church maintained ties to many political leaders, working as unpaid activists for the Republican Party. Eventually Moon was imprisoned for violating U.S. tax laws, and his ties with South Korean and Japanese intelligence were revealed in congressional hearings.
Communists “Made China Great Again”
The way this obsessive, anti-China cult panders to Trump supporters ideologically, saying they are “exposing Communism” is quite misleading. It is delivered in the context of Trump supporters often accusing figures like Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama of being Marxists, despite the fact that the leadership of the Democratic Party advocates free market capitalism and neoliberalism. The Falun Gong hopes that this anti-communist sentiment can create a convergence of interests between Trump activists and their efforts to undermine China’s leaders.
However, many Americans voted for Donald Trump, not because they wanted the USA to be less like China, but because they heard Trump promise results comparable to what the Chinese Communist Party has already achieved. As a candidate, Trump said he would rebuild the de-industrialized parts of the United States. All across the planet, China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is constructing railway, highways, power plants, water treatment facilities; the very essential infrastructure that continues to crumble across “rustbelt” states of the USA.
Meanwhile, China’s leader, Xi Jinping has waged a crackdown on bureaucratic mismanagement and corruption, the kind of thing Trump also advocated with his promise to “drain the swamp.”
Trump promised to “Make America Great Again” saying he would reverse a pattern of economic decline, and restore the USA to a previously held status. Xi Jinping’s concept of the Chinese Dream seeks to “Make China Great Again” by continuing the efforts of the Communist Party to raise the country to the status of a global superpower
Differences are certainly abundant. While Trump favors economic isolation of his country, China has the opposite approach and seeks to build a global community of trade based on “win-win cooperation.” While Trump continues to deregulate financial transactions and reduce taxes, the secret to China’s rise has been its ability to control the major centers of economic power and force them to function for the benefit of the population overall.
Ultimately, the people of China and the millions of Americans who voted for Trump, want the same thing. They want a safer world in which terrorism, the crisis of mass migration and other horrors plaguing the world, rooted in economic under development, are halted. Furthermore, they want to see the standard of living of their country continue to rise.
Despite the Falun Gong’s deceptive pandering, the reality is, that Trump supporters may actually learn more about achieving their stated goals, not by reading anti-Chinese deceptions from Falun Gong, but by actually studying the successes of the Chinese Communist Party.
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.