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Tear Down This Wall!

The New York Times reported on July 31 that the U.S. has decided to retaliate against China for the theft of 20 million American’s personal data from the Office of Personnel Management. One option under consideration is breaching China’s Great Firewall, the government imposed network of Internet censorship designed to control the information available to people inside China.

Chinese media responded strongly, claiming, “If US cyber forces launch blatant attacks against it, the consequences will be serious. Unlike sneaky hacking, these attacks will be treated as a US invasion of China.” [1]

They have reason to worry. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which obtained power in 1949 via a military campaign and a promise to the Chinese people of democratic, non-corrupt governance, has yet to deliver on its promise.

In fact, the CCP doesn’t want the Chinese people to know about many of its prior acts, including how the CCP’s “Great Leap Forward” policy in 1958-1961 resulted in 20 million deaths; how, during the Culture Revolution, the CCP completely destroyed traditional Chinese culture and ethics; the Tiananmen Square Massacre; the spiritual and physical persecution of Tibetans, Uyghurs, Christians, and Falun Gong practitioners; the systematic official corruption; the Chinese leaders massive accumulation of wealth and power; and the authority’s unrestricted use of abduction as a means of demonstrating its power over its vulnerable citizens.

The Communist Regime built the Great Firewall so the people could not use the Internet to disseminate the truth. It could thus provide itself with a safe haven for its iniquitous acts against the Chinese people.

Should the U.S. tear down this wall that the Chinese government warned the U.S. not to touch?

Before answering this question, let’s take a look at recent history. We are reminded of another wall: the Berlin Wall. The former Soviet Union and the East German government built it to block people from escaping to freedom. However, the Free World stood up in front of the “evil empire” and in the end, tore down the wall! That enabled the people who live on both sides of the wall to enjoy the same freedom.

Is the Berlin Wall different from the Great Firewall? One prevented people’s freedom of physical movement while the other prevents people from having the freedom to learn the truth. In essence, they do the same thing; they block people from pursuing freedom.

The West took down the Berlin Wall without hesitation. Should it do the same thing to the Great Firewall?

By setting up the Great Firewall, the CCP has established itself as being against the Chinese people. When the people in China use software to bypass the wall and access the outside world, they have made a clear statement that they want to know the truth! Breaching this wall will not only help the Chinese people access the truth; it will also demonstrate a faith in the ability of the Chinese people to stand for their own freedom and determine their own futures. Leaving it there, on the other hand, provides a favor to the CCP.

Abraham Lincoln said “it is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.” That the “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The Chinese people deserve no less.

One may argue that the U.S. does not need to view China as its enemy and does not need to be involved in China’s internal affairs. The U.S. may not see its task as the overthrow of the Communist regime in China. However, it may not see enabling the CCP to remain in power as its task, either.

When a regime will do anything, including killing its own citizens, to ensure that it stays in power, will it act as a civilized participant in the international community? When it keeps fanning the flames of nationalism and anti-U.S. sentiment internally, will it contribute to the world’s peace or will it aggravate conflict? Again, is it a U.S. obligation to enable the CCP to remain in power?

Actually, the purpose of breaching the Great Firewall is not about the form of China’s political system – it is up to the Chinese people to decide what political structure they want to have. The Chinese people would simply have access to the truth, to the tools they need to make informed, rational decisions, to see the value in shared, common rules, and to avoid reckless attacks to the common order.

The freedom of speech and freedom of press protected in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution are the fundamental values on which this country was founded. Likewise, China’s constitution guarantees the freedoms of religious worship, speech, the press, assembly, association, and demonstration. In practice, however, the CCP deprives its citizen of these rights. Isn’t it time to get the regime to fulfill its own promises? It is not only U.S. citizens who deserve these freedoms; the people around the world deserve them also.

Breaching the Great Firewall is also the right things to do from the spiritual perspective. It is a question whether this atheistic regime should dictate the belief system that its 1.4 billion citizens can practice. When a regime denies its citizens’ access to religious or spiritual information and disallows their practice, isn’t it shutting what they see as their door to heaven?

“Tear down this wall!” President Reagan said it in 1987. Now might be the time to say it again!

[1] Chinascope Online, “Global Times: U.S. Cyber Retaliation Would Trigger a Tit-for-Tat Conflict.”