Tags: History | China | vs. | Christendom

History of China vs. Christendom

Friday, 02 September 2005 12:00 AM

One example. From Chinese histories of China published in Russia, I know that on one occasion in ancient China, out of its population of 40 million, 5 million were buried alive. But no American historian I questioned (one of them was a Chinese!) had heard about it. What is important? Sino-American good-neighbor relations; an American professor of history who would mention such facts might damage those relations.

Let me devote this column to a brief comparison of the history of China and of Christendom, that is, of the West and Russia.

The sociocultural role of Christianity has been strong in the West and in Russia. This role has been immensely beneficial, but the teaching of Christ cannot be held responsible for its abuses after the death of Christ and his disciples. One of the aims of "the powers that be" has been to create, by education and propaganda, the "correct" psyche (Greek "soul").

An extremely ugly example of it is the Inquisition, which originated in the 13th century. A Catholic whose psyche deviated from "the correct psyche" was to confess and recant his deviation, as did Galileo, who recanted his discovery that the earth revolves around the sun (and is not the center of the universe), and thus saved himself from the stake at which Giordano Bruno had perished in 1600.

In Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany the "correct psyche" was different from that of the Inquisition, but the method to preserve its "correctness" was much the same.

In China the method of prevention of undesirable behavior was not psychological, but purely physical - infliction of suffering on a transgressor by torture. No religion as psychologically intense as Christianity ever existed in the history of China, which has been atheistic or vaguely deistic, pragmatic, "scientific."

Marco Polo, an Italian who visited China in the 13th century, the first century of the Inquisition, found that Jews and Christians practiced their religions unmolested - indeed, their temples were exempt from taxation. Books were printed for general use in political economy, philosophy, religion, warfare, painting, music and other arts.

On the other hand, Polo writes that many Chinese "always carry poison about them" to swallow if they are arrested, because no human being can expect Chinese torture without trying to commit suicide. "But the rulers, who are aware of this practice, are always provided with the dung of dogs, which they oblige the accused to swallow, causing a vomiting of the poison." ("The Travels of Marco Polo," p. 197). Incidentally, torture is practiced in China today.

The above may suffice to show the fundamental difference between the history of China and that of Christendom.

Those Westerners who criticize or praise today's China often mistake it for a new Stalin's Russia or Hitler's Germany. It is not. Stalin and Hitler were not indifferent to what their subjects believe in - they wanted them to have a single "correct" faith and behave as a single "correct" soul. On the other hand, no Russians in Stalin's Russia and no Germans in Hitler's Germany carried poison about them to poison themselves if arrested.

The pre-19th-century and post-1949 rulers of China have been pragmatic (or scientific, if you will) about their behavior toward the outside world. When Christopher Columbus was sailing toward the Americas, the giant Chinese navy could conquer the Americas, Europe, and the rest of the world. Instead, the giant navy patrolled the coast of China. At one time, the territory of England itself accounted for only one percent of that of the British Empire, that is, its colonies (including, incidentally, Iraq), which it soon lost. The rulers of China never tried to conquer territories overseas despite their navy, infinitely superior to whatever navy any country had before the Industrial Revolution.

As is known by those who cared to read the relevant documents, Columbus was after gold and slaves he sold for gold. Later England was after the raw materials for its Industrial Revolution. What about China?

The Chinese phrase, denoting China and translated by English-speaking professors of Sinology as "the Middle Kingdom," actually means "the Center of the Earth." China regarded itself as the Center of the Earth. What country could match its silks or its ivories or its "china"? The outside world, including Europe, was a collection of paupers, savages, and thieves who roamed the world and created nothing valuable. The Industrial Revolution? A vulgar absurdity, since every dress and every household article should be designed individually with superb skill (remember an ivory sphere within an ivory sphere?) and not mass-produced.

However, it is the Industrial Revolution that made it possible to mass produce firearms. Hence, in the 19th century, China was virtually defenseless when attacked by England, to make the Chinese buy the English merchants' opium.

It would have been ridiculous to suppose when the Middle Kingdom was in its prime that some Chinese would think and say that the Center of the Earth should imitate the political system of the back of the beyond, steeped in poverty, ugliness, ineptness, and vulgarity. But in 1989? It is still officially forbidden in China to mention in the press the Tiananmen Square in any sense or context. The dictators are worried about the subversion of their power by that same West that was despised so by the Center of the World just several centuries ago. The Center of the World must become again the Center of the World; this time the rest of the world will be conquered by post-nuclear superweapons.

The rulers of China missed the military applications of the Industrial Revolution in England - they were bogged in the previous era. Similarly, the political establishment of the West is missing the military applications of what Major General Sun Bailin of the Chinese Academy of Military Science described as the Nano Revolution in his article in "National Defense" of June 15, 1996. The political establishment of the West is bogged in the previous era, the era of nuclear weapons, which the West regards as the latest weapons mankind is able to produce. Certainly China can be expected to modernize its weapons to overtake the United States, but not to produce what the United States has not yet even begun to develop!

Major General Bailin spoke in 1996 about the military applications of the Nano Revolution. As of today, the U.S. Congress has been denying even the possibility of such military applications, though Eric Drexler, the founder of nano technology, devoted a 30-page chapter to "Engines of Destruction" in his book of 1986. To punish him for this "militarism," the U.S. Congress has not allocated a cent to the Foresight Nenotech Institute he founded. The keynote address at the 13th Foresight Conference in San Francisco on Oct. 22–27, 2005, will be made by Floyd Kwamme, Partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and is entitled "Nanotechnology Is Not Little in Washington."

Kwamme is right: Nanotechnology minus its military applications "is not little in Washington;" Congress generously distributes allocations to the nonmilitary applications of nanotechnology. It is its military or defense applications that are - no, not little, but zero in Washington.

It is worth recalling that the dictatorship of China invites to work in China and/or for China the world's best nano scientists and technologists in order to develop the military applications of the Nano Revolution. So in this respect, Washington's zero spending should be contrasted not with just China, but with the world at large. On his photograph, Kwamme is beaming and is ready in general to be converted by the Chinese "nano engines" to atoms.

E-mail Dr. Navrozov at navlev@cloud9.net. The link to his book is www.levnavrozov.com.


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One example. From Chinese histories of China published in Russia, I know that on one occasion in ancient China, out of its population of 40 million, 5 million were buried alive. But no American historian I questioned (one of them was a Chinese!) had heard about it. What is...
Friday, 02 September 2005 12:00 AM
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