“I believe in Christ. I believe everyone [is] born equal, and they’re loved by Jesus.” –“Joshua” Wong[i]
HONG KONG - Western media love to depict other cultures as savage and backward: Islam is violent and ignorant; Confucianism is corrupt and authoritarian. Moreover, those stereotypes are used to explain the actions of those people, say, for example, when countries in the Middle East refuse to adopt ‘Democracy’… even long after having been bombed by the United States into submission. Ah, they say, it can’t be helped. Those Muslim societies have difficulties with Western-style democracy. Same with Chinese society that is said to be patriarchal and godless; therefore does not follow Western-style ethical code and moral conventions, say, about human rights.
What is lacking in all those discussions is, similarly, the inherent bias of Western societies. There’s just not enough feedback from Asia on how the West is perceived, largely because Asian voices are marginalized or ignored in our mainstream media. One of the main things Asians admire and fear about the West is its ‘creativity’. Any people is creative, but the West has undeniable mastered the art of ‘disruption’. The words “creator,” “creation,” and “creativity” are all derivatives of Latin ‘creo’ - to make, the Maker. Hence the idea that the world is created by a divine shaker, and that man was created in His image, and that therefore man must create, is a creative being himself. The greater the disruption he causes to the lives of as many people as possible, the better.
Needless to say, Western media, which has inherited that Western historical bias, is constantly looking out for great disrupters in the East; people who may bring about revolutions, topple foreign governments, and change the status quo. Stories are ‘fabricated’ that often reflect our Western biblical narrative. Nowhere is that better exemplified, as I explained before, in the recent fabrication of a new biblical hero for China: “Joshua” Wong. Joshua is a Hong Kong teenager who was chosen by a coordinated Western media campaign to “lead the people of Hong Kong” –and allusion to the people of Israel– out of slavery and oppression: the Communist Party of China; and into the “Holy Land”: Freedom and democracy.
Christianity is euphoric about Chinese “Joshua” –who by the way was educated at United Christian College in Hong Kong- who’s probably going to be martyr: “Why Christians Are Helping Lead Hong Kong’s Pro-Democracy Movement,” celebrates Think Progress, a Washington-DC based Think tank (partly) funded by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.[ii] “Christians take a prominent role in Hong Kong protests,” boasts Public Radio International, a non-profit organization engaged “to affect positive change in people’s lives.”[iii] And the Gospel Herald recalls: “Wong […] unabashedly identifies as a Christian on his social media accounts and says his faith is the driving force behind his activism.”[iv] Selfless pastors such as Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, of Church on the Hill in Washington, DC, even announced that he “will be joining with Joshua Wong in his hunger strike” and that he encourages “people all across the world, especially the faith community, to join with me in prayer for their efforts,” Christian News Wire reports: “It is absolutely critical that our brothers and sisters in Hong Kong who are risking everything for freedom know that we have not forgotten them in America.”[v]
It is indisputable that such a powerful ‘God’s messenger’ narrative is at once recognized - whether conscious or unconscious - by most Jews and Christians and Muslims –the Abrahamic religions- all over the world. It triggers in Western audiences a quasi-religious, almost fanatical response toward “oppressive” China: How dare you, Beijing, to interfere with the freedom of these people?! Don’t you know that a ‘leader’ will emerge from Hong Kong who is protected by the Christian god and who must lead his people into freedom, or else his representatives on earth, the global media, are going to take bloody revenge on your sorry country?
If you think this is religious pornography, and too low and cheap for Western propaganda tactics in the 21st Century, think again, because that is precisely what the powers – from The New Yorker magazine[vi] to the Guardian,[vii] from Fox News[viii] to Open Democracy[ix] and Christian Today[x] –are doing in Hong Kong: Re-creating the Coming of an East-Asian version of the biblical leader “Joshua”, and re-enacting the Exodus of China.
[i] Christian Today, Joshua Wong: Meet the 19-year-old Christian activist who’s taking on the Chinese government, Oct 21, 2015, Hong Kong
[ii] Think Progress, Why Christians are Helping Lead Hong Kong’s Democracy Movement, Oct 12, 2014, Washington DC
[iii] Public Radio International, Christians take a prominent role in Hong Kong protests, Oct 6, 2014, Minneapolis
[iv] The Gospel Herald, Joshua Wong, Christian Pro-Democracy Student Activist, Denied Entry into Malaysia: ‘He is an Undesirable Element’, May 26, 2015, San Francisco
[v] Christian New Wire, Christian Leader and Human Rights Activist to Join Joshua Wong in His Hunger Strike Seeking Democratic Reforms for Hong Kong, Dec 2, 2014, Washington DC
[vi] The New Yorker, The Party and the People, Oct 13, 2014, New York
[vii] The Guardian, Leader of Hong Kong democracy protests Joshua Wong to face trial, Sep 2, 2015, London
[viii] Fox News, Hong Kong teen protest leader Joshua Wong faces new charges over pro-democracy rally, Aug 27, 2015, Hong Kong
[ix] Open Democracy, Hong Kong’s angry young millennials: an interview with Joshua Wong, Nov 1, 2015, London
[x] Christian Today, Joshua Wong: Meet the 19-year-old Christian activist who’s taking on the Chinese government, Oct 21, 2015, Hong Kong
Thor Tukoll is a pen name of Thorsten J. Pattberg, a German writer and cultural critic. He is the author of The East-West Dichotomy, Shengren, and Inside Peking University.
2016 (c) Thor Tukoll