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Session Two of a CFR Symposium on Religion and the Future of China: Religion and the State [Rush Transcript; Federal News Service]

Speakers: Robert J. Barnett, Director, Modern Tibetan Studies Program, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, Dru C. Gladney, President, Pacific Basin Institute, Pomona College, and Rebecca Nedostup, Assistant Professor of Chinese History, Boston College
Presider: Minky Worden, Media Director, Human Rights Watch
June 11, 2008
Council on Foreign Relations



This event is part of the Religion and Foreign Policy Symposia Series, which is made possible by the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation.


MINKY WORDEN:  Thank you all for joining us today.  And we're following our excellent first session with the second session of our symposium on religion and the future of China.

I'd like to give a brief reminder to everyone to turn off and not to put on vibrate your cell phones, Blackberrys and all wireless devices.  They will interfere with our sound system here and give a very unattractive feedback.  I'd also like to remind the audience that this meeting is on the record.  Participants from around the world will be listening in and have the ability to view a live webcast on the Council's website.

And I would like to introduce our speakers today.  In the materials that you have, there are very extensive biographical details, so I will just introduce them very briefly.  Professor Dru Gladney who's the president of the Pacific Basin Institute at Pomona College; Professor Rebecca Nedostup, the assistant professor of Chinese history at Boston College; and Professor Robert Barnett the research scholar and the head of the Modern Tibetan Studies department at Columbia University.  So I will give a very brief and brisk introduction to the -- this session is titled Religion and the State.  So a very quick framing because we have a lot of ground to cover today and I want to leave a lot of time for questions from the audience.

This year has been a very difficult and important year for China and for Chinese leaders.  Last October, we had the party congress.  In March, we had the Tibet protest followed by a crackdown that is still ongoing.  In March, we had the Szechwan earthquake -- in May, we had the Szechwan earthquake.  And the Olympics in Beijing and seven cities across China will begin August 8, 2008, at 8:08 pm.  That's a very lucky day in the -- on the Chinese calendar.

So I'd like to ask all of our speakers to say a very quick -- to give a brief introduction to certain topics.  Rebecca is going to do the sweep of Chinese history in relation to religion and the state.  It's a very challenging framing exercise.  We're going to go then to Robby Barnett who is going to talk about the Tibetan history and the Tibetan autonomous region but also deal most particulary with the recent protest and the crackdown and also what is ahead for Tibet.  For example, when the torch relay goes to Lhasa at the end of June.  And Dru Gladney is going to talk about the Ouiger autonomous region and some of the challenges there.

So let me turn it first over to Rebecca for an overview and a -- to lead us into the discussion.

REBECCA NEDOSTUP:  Thanks so much.  I'm a bit lucky in my task because for those of you who were here for the first session, Professor Mayfair Yang did a bit of my work for me, so I want to pick up a little bit on some of the things she said.  And especially if you place the history of the development of the relationship of state and religion in China in the 20th century, not just in terms of Chinese history but in terms of world history because it really is -- that development really is a world historical development, and that's something that's not often talked about.  Because the changes that we have when in the shift from the imperial government to modern representative government is a really important one because, yes, the imperial state often had cause to stigmatize certain kinds of religious groups, particular as heterodox as was talked about in the first session, not just because of the social threat, but because of the religious role that the state, particularly the emperor and officials in their guise as representatives of the emperor played themselves because they represented the balance of the cosmos -- they represented the pivot point between heaven and earth.

And so when certain heterodox groups rose up to challenge that role, that was a very important challenge.  But it is important to remember that they also often were required to carry out religious rituals in their role as representatives of the government.  So when the last dynasty falls, that all changes.  And in the move to elected representative governments of various kinds, that is gone. And so, what we have then in the 20th century is different states coming into competition with religious community organizations for resources.  Sometimes that's direct competition for financial resources, sometimes for temple property and for the other kinds of economic resources that religious organizations can command.  And sometimes that's in competition for the affections of people.  And in times when the state is very strong or mobilizational in the early 20th Century and during the cultural revolution as well, there's a sense that modern citizens should cast all their affections as citizens to the state rather than to religious affiliations and any other kind of social affiliation.  And at other times when the state is looser, you can have multiple affiliations.  So there is this sense of competition.

But the other thing that I would like to bring out -- and this is sort of the world historical context -- is the idea of what religion is changes as well at the beginning of the 20th century.  And this was alluded to in the morning session.  When constitutionalism is introduced with the idea of freedom of religion, that brings with it the need to determine what religion is.  That brings with it a new vocabulary, i.e. the name religion, Tsungiao (sp) in Chinese which did not exist in the Chinese vocabulary before the turn of the 20th century.  There is and idea of religions of course in the sense of there is Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, et cetera, et cetera.  But the idea of religion as a discrete category distinguishable from politics, from science, and so on is something that is introduced from the West.

And so what should religion look like?  It carries with it this neologism, the idea that religion is something that looks -- ought to look particularly like Christianity, particularly like Protestant Christianity, something that has a visible text, something where people go to church once a week so that you have this oddity of, in the early 20th century of Buddhists trying to create Buddhist church where you go to Buddhist church once a week.  That's a very short-lived unsuccessful movement.  But there is -- this is a cultural ideal and so this is something that we still see today in a lot of analyses of freedom of religion and even surveys of religions.  When we count people who have religious affiliations, what are we counting?  Are we counting people who sign up for a particular faith or belief 24-7, and does that necessarily go against how -- what the traditional view of Chinese religious practice is, which is extremely eclectic and can include a variety of things ranging from funerary practice to ancestral veneration and so-on and so forth.  And so this is a consistent struggle, both an intellectual struggle and a political struggle throughout the 20th century, of classification both ion the governmental level and on the academic intellectual level of trying to fit a very multitudinous religious practice into these slots. And so this is -- this is the sort of framework in the 20th century that state and religion fits into.

So when freedom of religion is guaranteed it is often guaranteed to institutionalized religions that eventually end up into the five religions that we have today guaranteed.  And the other corollary is that is in most Chinese constitutions from the early ones in the late Ching Dynasty there's the corollary of freedom of religion is guaranteed except where determined by law.  And that's something that's adopted actually from the Meiji constitution in Japan.  So there's always this kind of gray area attached to freedom of religion as well.  So those are the few things that I would like to bring out at the outset in terms of the overall framework of state of religion.

WORDEN:  That's a very good transition moment because it is all in the implementation of course of the law.  So we'd like to move along to cover a couple of important regions and themes.  And for the next two speakers I'd like, if you'd be interested to -- if you're not familiar with the areas we're going to be talking about, we have a map at the back of your materials here.  And we're going to move on to Professor Barnett who will speak about recent developments in Tibet and challenges there.  But before I ask him to speak, I'd like to recognize a Tibetan monk who's in the audience with us today.  Paul Den Gatzo (sp) if you would mind standing is visiting the Council today from Dampala (sp).  He is a monk that has experienced torture but tells his story as a way of explaining the experience of many religious Tibetans, and I wanted to recognize him. Thank you. (Applause.)

Robbie if you wouldn't mind picking up with a brief overview of the history of the Tibetan autonomous region, emphasis on autonomy ,and talking about the latest developments.

ROBERT BARNETT:  Well, thank you.  To follow on from what Professor Nedostup has said, the same kind of problem exists when we think about Tibet.  The problem I think is twofold.  One is for us as Westerners.  Following the Western project we tend to think of religion as somehow emotional and we tend to think of the state as somehow rational.  And I think China, the state, goes with that set of premises also when it thinks about an area like Tibet.  It tries to produce this flattening project that you described so well, and apply a set of ideas and regulations across China, including the areas that it has annexed very recently as if they were all much the same, as if religion as a unitary thing that can be dealt with in fairly similar ways.

In Tibet, this kind of approach, this super-rational approach of the Chinese state, the Chinese bureaucrat has caused huge problems, momentous collapse in the relations between state and society.  One of the problems is that historically, if I should address that, Tibet was never an integral part of China.  It had some kind of status within the Chinese empire, but not strictly even the Chinese empire in the Mongol empire under the Yuan and the Manchu empire under the Ching.  It had some rule there.  There was a Chinese commissioner, actually two commissioners would be established there.  And essentially they had very little involvement in Tibetan affairs except for foreign relations and things like that.  So Tibet never really saw the Chinese officials or any Chinese state until -- after 1904, the British invaded.  That provoked the Chinese to move toward annexing Tibet as if it were an integral part of China.

Moving towards setting it up as a province, the Chinese invaded in 1910.  They failed because the Ching Dynsasty collapsed in 1911.  Tibet declared independence a couple of years later,  but Mao, of course, was able to move in in 1950 with the People's Liberation Army.  And then he established what seemed to Tibetans at the time something that was really welcome, the idea of Tibet, which he defined just as the central and western areas of the plateau, as an autonomous area.  That autonomy in a very real sense was allowed to exist for eight years.  That project collapsed in 1959 as you probably all know, the Dalai Lama fled, there was an uprising, and then there was 20 years in which, more or less, there was an attempt to wipe out religion.  Some 95 (percent), 96 percent of monasteries had been closed down before the cultural revolution began -- several years before.  We have to be careful about thinking of the Cultural Revolution as the only site in which religion is seen as the enemy of the state.  In Tibet and other areas that had happened much earlier.

From 1980, we get a very, very interesting attempt by China under Hu Yaobang to move back to the 1950s dispensation, an idea of giving Tibet some form of real autonomy.  By that time it wasn't you allowed the traditional government to continue as they had in the 1950s, the idea was a cultural and economic idea of autonomy, much more limited but still very welcome to Tibetans who can practice your religion Hu Yaobang said.  You can have your own administrators, the Chinese officials should leave, something that made him very unpopular in China; and you can have an economy that is developed according to local criteria of benefit, what we would call a Tibetan-centered notion of development.  There's some protests in 1987.  The Chinese state reacts very strongly to those and this dispensation, the 1980s cultural autonomy phase, is ended.  And really, it's the ending of that cultural autonomy that brings us to the situation we're in now.  It wasn't an ending that was really done by security forces.

In the first six years or so after the protests of 1987, the state tried to deal with religion and with politics by using essentially police forces.  You arrested people.  For a while, you tried torture, then they backed off that, they learned that that was counterproductive to use in large scale.  They tried to control information especially after '93 and so on.  But it was only in 1994 that a new leader was sent to Tibet by Beijing who decided that the problem of nationalism in Tibet was not what we would call a political problem or a security problem.  He decided it was a cultural, religious problem.

And the leadership in Tibet formulated a phrase which has enormous significance for everyone in Tibet and all of us which is, it's never been made public but we understand something like this, "the roots of nationalism in Tibet are in the language, and the roots of the language are in the religion, and the roots of the language are in culture."  Sometimes the formulation varies.  This meant that the Chinese state had decided to treat religion and culture in Tibet as a security problem.  Essentially, what happens in the Chinese administration, not consciously -- this is a historical resurgence of old imperial dynastic fears about religion that religion is a political problem.  That religion is something to do with sects, that's -- we heard about this morning that you have to regulate and control politically.

And then China began in 1994 the campaign against the Dalai Lama.  There'd never been criticisms of the Dalai Lama as a religious figure in the 1980s.  He was criticized only politically.  Then there were very strict rules brought in in the monasteries, and all the monks, nuns were required then to denounce the Dalai Lama.  And continually we see more and more limits on religion in Tibet.  Some of those limits are rational.  You or I might not agree with the decision not to allow monks who are under 18 (years old), not to allow monks to be members of a monastery unless they are patriotic, that's a requirement.  But we can understand why a government might do that; it makes sense.  But it does not make sense to Tibetans, and I don't think it makes sense to Chinese in the metropol in the center of China, why China has rules in Tibet and I think we'll hear more about Chizhang (ph) that say no government employee, whether or not they're in the party, is allowed to practice religion.  No student is allowed to practice religion or go to a monastery and so on.

So there we see a leakage of the rational state which regulates religion to fundamentally a pathological state an anxiety-driven kind of regulatory machine that starts to make rules that it can't explain.  Those rules are secret.  They're not distributed in writing.  Rules that it hasn't got a rationale for.  And in that situation we get a much bigger split between state and society.  And I think that's what's led to the protests this spring -- or one of the major factors -- the continual push against religion for incoherent unexplained reasons.  And that's produced a very important result now but we've seen protests in the last two months from maybe 120 places, about maybe 80 percent of those protests were peaceful but 20 were quite violent.  The violence in all cases really was against the government.  Once case, in Lhasa was against Chinese migrants, but significantly like 70 percent of those protests are rural or in county towns and probably 60 (percent) to 70 percent are lay people, not monks.  In other words, the attack on religion in secular, in lay society has triggered now a response that we've never seen in Tibet for some 40 or so years, a response from the rural-lay base across the countryside as well as in the town.  This is a big problem for China.  And that response is not just from that area central to that but from the whole of the Tibetan plateau. So now we have a situation where the state has created a kind of unity among Tibetans.  It's created a nationalism, really in defense of its religious identity and its traditions.

WORDEN:  Well that's a very good transition to -- particularly your definition of treating religion and culture in Tibet as a security problem.  It's a very good transition to Xinjiang.

So over to you, Professor Gladney.

DRU C. GLADNEY:  Thank you, Minky.

I think that map that's in the back of your program is most useful for my segment of the talk when Robbie Barnett, Professor Barnett, says Tibetm I think most of you all of you have a pretty good idea where Tibet is and what Tibetan religion is about and who Tibetans are.  But when Minky says Xinjiang, the maps go open because, you know, where is that, how do you pronounce that X.  Who are these people Ouiger?  How do you pronounce that name?  And I think that is one of the biggest problems for talking about that region.  It's hard to pronounce.  You know, it's like, why -- Americans drink chardonnay, they can pronounce that but they don't drink chavignon blanc because that's hard to pronounce.  And I think the problems of that region is that it's been little covered in the Western media because it has seemed so remote and exotic.  But that has changed. It's changed since 9-11 and it's changed since the Olympics.

I want to say very clearly that China does not have a Muslim problem.  It does not have an Islam problem.  The vast majority of China's 20 million Muslims are very patriotic.  They're very well integrated into Chinese society and culture. China enforces freedom of religion for Islam.  Islam is one of the five constitutionally allowed and permitted and regulated religions in China.  It's permitted.  To be a Muslim in China the government pays the mosques.  It pays the salaries of the imams.  So China, I want to make very clear, does not have an Islam problem.  It does not have a Muslim problem.  But it is also true that China has a Xinjiang problem and a Ouiger problem.  And I want to make a distinction between those two problems.

First, a little bit more about the issue of Islam in China because if you go on Wikipedia, as I did this morning, and you look up the population and you look up Islam in China, you look at the population, it'll tell you 38 million Muslims in China.  National Geographic five years ago published a map of Islam around the world, global Islam -- 40 million Muslims in China, National Geographic.  That's absolutely incorrect.  One of the things the Chinese are really good at doing is counting people, and the national census has been recognized by international sociologists and demographers to have been extremely accurate.  Probably the most accurate Census the world has ever seen was the one conducted by China in the year 2000 -- great improvement over the 1982 census.  And that told us very clearly there are about 21 million Muslims in China.  Now that doesn't include Han who may have converted to Islam.  But there are very, very few examples of that.  And it doesn't include Muslims who actually might be secular or Marxist.  Now only Allah knows for sure if they're real Muslims but they are counted as national minorities.

And that's very interesting phenomenon in China.  That China has recognized it's Muslim populations as members -- 10 separate nationality groups -- and that's a very interesting policy that is also influenced by the West.  As Professor Mayfair Yang mentioned today earlier that the Western social science approach to Marxism and through Western scientism in some ways in China had a very strong influence not only in creating the word religion which, as Rebecca told us earlier, did not exist, but the word Islam did not exist in Chinese prior to the modern era.  Islam was the Hui person's religion.  Now, who are the Hui.  The Hui are the largest Muslim group in China.  And they are dispersed, they're extremely diverse.  They never really were a single ethnic group.  They are descended from Muslims who are Arabs, Persians, even Turks and even Mongols who came into China and settled, mostly men, intermarried over 1,300 years with Chinese populations and have become very integrated into every city and every town in China. There are over 10 million of these Hui in every city you go.

If you see Arabic on a street sign, that means that's a Hui restaurant or a Hui market.  The government pays for Halal food stores, grocery stores, hospitals.  Because of course for China, one of the biggest challenges for Muslims is the prevalence of use of pork and lard -- and all products, not just food but cleaning products and et cetera.  It's a great challenge.  It has also meant that the Hui Muslims, to live and to be integrated in Chinese society, have had to be tremendously resilient and innovative and accommodating to Chinese culture.  It's a great success story -- the integration of Muslim population into a very alien society.

When you think about Middle Easterners coming into China and you compare what's happened in China with this group compared to Europe -- for example, Muslims in  Europe.  So China has a great success story to tell about this extraordinary integration.  I wouldn't so far as saying Professor Yang really has to talk about Confucian Muslims because there are some tensions there.  But Confucianism was integrated into Islam in China. In a sense, the Muslims tried to prove themselves to be as moral as Confucians and to use the morality of Confucianism to legitimate and justify Islam.

(In progress after audio break) -- but they flourished in China.  Some of the most successful businessmen today in China are Muslims.  China is using many of its Muslims in foreign diplomacy.  They're playing an incredibly important role in China's extremely good relationships with every Middle Eastern country, including Israel, including Palestine, including Iran, Pakistan.  China's Muslims are there.  They've been going there, and they're going there in larger numbers.  And Middle Eastern Muslims are coming to China in huge numbers, creating a whole city, Niwu and Jejung (ph), that I'm sure Mayfair knows all about, where it's a huge Muslim population.

Iraqis can't get visas to go to Europe or the United States.  They can to China.  There's a huge Iraqi-Muslim population in Jejung (ph) that never existed before, and Chinese Muslims -- Hui -- are very involved with these people in trade, speaking Arabic, which they learn in the mosques.

But that story is quite different than Xinjiang.  And again, when you look at the map on the far corner of the region, you find that there's two problems for this -- for China.  It's the Xinjiang problem and it's the Ouiger problem.  I'll just mention a couple of aspects of those problems.  If you look at Xinjiang, it's in a bad neighborhood.  (Laughter.) It's a tough neighborhood.  At one point, you know, you had the Soviet Union and now you have eight countries, five of whom are Muslim, most of whom are in very sad shape.  And China -- Xinjiang for that reason is in a difficult position.

It's also -- you may not know -- the largest AIDS growth region in China, partly because of that neighborhood, because of drugs, trucking, all of those reasons that AIDS flourish anywhere else in the world, such as Africa, China has those problems in Xinjiang, also Yunnan, also a border minority area.

The other aspect of the Xinjiang problem is its wealth, its mineral wealth.  It's extraordinary.  China no longer has any other sources for petrochemical growth except Xinjiang, no other domestic source.  And if China is going to maintain its growth trajectory, it not only has to import greater energy sources, but especially liquid natural gas as well as oil.  It has to either come from Xinjiang or go through Xinjiang, especially if it's using Central Asian oil.

But that wealth is also problematic for the region because of the great disparity in income it's causing between those who are benefiting from that mineral wealth and those who are not.  And the locals in Xinjiang, both Muslim, Ouiger and Han, equally complain about the fact that they aren't benefiting.  They are not like Alaskans who benefit from development in their region.  The mineral wealth throughout China, whether you're from Tibet or Xinjiang, belongs to the state and it goes to the state, and then the state redistributes that wealth.

But you don't see that if you're a resident.  You see beautiful roads, beautiful buildings, excellent telecommunications in a rather undeveloped region, and you see some of the highest per capital GNP in all of China is in Xinjiang.  But the locals, Han and Ouiger, feel that they're not benefiting.  It's also -- that wealth is attracting huge populations of migrants, poor Han peasants from all over China because it's a boom town.  It's like Los Angeles, you know, 150 years ago and the discovery of gold and then later the story of the growth of the West is not unlike Xinjiang.

Now, the Ouiger problem is, of course, related to the fact that they are in this very isolated region, whereas China's Muslims, the Hui, are spread out throughout China, Beijing.  You have 160 mosques, 200,000 Hui Muslims in Beijing city alone.  And in Xinjiang the Ouiger have been the vast majority for centuries.  They're used to having their own region, their own language, their own culture.

But starting in the 1940s, Chinese migrants started to come to the region.  As far as we can tell, Han Chinese population in Xinjiang was less than 5 percent in the 1940s.  Today it's about 40 percent, enormous growth of population.  And the Ouiger I think feel very embattled.  They aren't prospering from the enormous growth and wealth, but they also feel that they're connected to a global Islamic network.  They are near these other regions.  They are influenced by these global trends.  And 9-11 had a tremendous impact on the Ouiger, not only in their awareness of global Islam, but also in their position as being regarded as a threat to the integrity of China.

For the Ouiger Islam, is not the issue.  It's sovereignty.  Sovereignty for the Ouiger has meant that -- they were actually -- many Ouiger were expecting that when the Soviet Union dissolved, you had all these new stans, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan.  They were hoping for a Ouigeristan, or at least East Turkistan.  And when it didn't happen, there was a great deal of frustration, particularly in the late '90s.  There were protests, civil unrest, some organized revolts, bombings in Beijing even that can be fairly accurately traced to Ouigers.

But since the late '90s, we've seen almost no protests.  Now, there have been some incidents, and most recently on March 9th, just before the Tibetan protests related to the Olympics, supposedly a group of Ouigers attempted to commandeer an airplane, and they were accused of plotting to bring this airplane down.

Now, all the evidence on that case is not in yet, but it does suggest that there continue to be Ouigers who -- though we don't see mass protests and indeed, we haven't seen any real Olympics related protests among Ouigers in China or abroad, interestingly enough.  But we do know that there's tremendous amount of discontent in the region among the Ouigers.

What are the sources of that discontent?  I mentioned migration.  I mentioned being sort of kept out of wealth, but also many of the laws that are regarded as repressive, as Robby has mentioned in Tibet, have also been applied in Xinjiang, not because they're Muslims, but because they are thought to be a threat to the state and because they are thought to be separatists -- have separatist sentiments.

What I have seen in the last 10 years is a growing awareness of Ouigers, that if they're going to make it in China, they can't entertain illusions of a separate state.  They have to realize that if they were a separate state, they might look a lot more like places like Tajikistan or Kashmir than they do like today, growing metropolis, a lot of support from the state center.

So there's been a sort of disillusionment with independence among Ouigers, but there's also continued discontent.  And for China that's a problem because you have nearly 10 million of these people, and they are tremendously well engaged in the region of Central Asia.  They're a Turkic speaking people.  The language of Ouiger is basically similar to Uzbek.  Twenty-five million Uzbeks, nearly 10 million Ouigers.  That whole Central Asian region speak Turkic languages that -- I speak Istanbul Turkish, and I can fairly well communicate with many of those people.

So they're a tremendous asset for China in terms of their connection with Central Asia, but also I think China needs to find better ways to win their hearts and minds.  For the Ouigers, I think it's difficult for them to participate in the broader Chinese mainstream, particularly learning Chinese as a second language, also wanting to learn those other languages in the region, such as English.  Urdu is a very popular language in the region, trade with Pakistan.  Russian was once very strong among Ouigers.

And to win over the hearts and minds of this population is an enormous challenge for China, but I think the benefits would be extraordinary.

WORDEN:  Okay.  At this time we'd like to open things up to the audience, and when you get the mike, please stand up, state your name and affiliation, and keep your question brief and brisk.

Any questions from the audience?  Let's see.  Well, I will perhaps direct the first question to our speakers, and that is what impact, if any, the earthquake has had in your respective regions or areas of expertise?  And Rebecca, please speak generally to the earthquake.

And I'm particularly interested because the earthquake happened to also affect a number of the ethnic Tibetan areas that are outside the TAR, the Tibetan Autonomous Region.  These were areas that had been closed off, including to journalists.  So what are some of the likely Effects of the earthquake on the -- on some of these issues of autonomy and openness that we've discussed?  Maybe we'll start with Robby.

BARNETT:  Well, this morning, I got some calls from some journalists, Western journalists who were in the Tibetan areas for the first time partly in a sense by mistake.  The Tibetan areas are being closed off by China almost entirely since the protest -- quite problematic for China's international image.  But they're having to let some journalists go through part of the Tibetan areas in order to get to the earthquake zone.  And the people I talked to this morning -- are actually with NPR -- were saying that they think there's no real damage to the Tibetan parts of the earthquake area.  The damage is very, very local, but, of course, it was very densely populated on the Chinese side of the fault line.

So Tibetans have not been, it seems, hugely physically affected, not significant numbers have died, thank God, compared to the numbers of Chinese who've died.  I think many Hui as well probably, though we don't know yet, but especially China.  People are saying in China that 10 percent of the Chong may have died, a really catastrophic loss for that nationality there.

If we talk about the Tibetan question in relation to the earthquake, it is interesting because it shows such a strong contrast in the way the Chinese state behaves.  When I talked about earlier this question of the sense of the irrational, the sense of the pathological, about the way the Chinese bureaucrat operates with regard to a problematic like religion, unfortunately, the earthquake has made this seem even more evident because you have a Tibet that's completely closed down, extremely traditional hardline, crackdown policies.

Everybody in Tibet is now being forced to recite formal denounciations of their religious leader, the Dalai Lama, for very unclear reasons, really, if you think about it.  And no journalists are allowed to go there except a couple of groups.  And yet, in the earthquake area and because of the earthquake tragedy, there's been a lot of openness of press and the state has been very wonderfully positive and supportive and so on.

So I don't mean this is deliberate by the Chinese state, but it has produced by default through this kind of unevenness of policy a perception among Tibetans that there's one system for Tibetans and one system for the non-Tibetans.  Of course, they all understand one is a natural disaster and one is political protest.  But nevertheless, the difference is so huge.

And we see here China stumbling.  China stumbled hugely when it handled the Tibet protests because it decided to attack the Dalai Lama, which means attacking religion -- again, no clear reason, hasn't been able to produce any obvious reason for that attack.  And it also put on television footage, endless footage of the one incident in Lhasa among the 100 or so where Tibetans attacked Chinese migrants -- very vicious, very ugly and very unpleasant.

But what it did was to create a gulf between Chinese and Tibetans, thousands of Chinese, millions writing on the Internet saying how bad the Tibetans are.  That's undermining the Chinese project of we are a multinational state.  They're not calling it that now.  They're calling it a multicultural state.  For the last 10 years it was a multi-ethnic state.  The rhetoric's changing.

But still, China, with its handling of these difficult questions, it's beginning to throw out these contradictions.  And I think the earthquake, unfortunately, increases that.  One example of that is a lot of arrests happening now in Lhasa, a lot of publicity from the state about rumors.  Five people have just been arrested last week and charged, punished for spreading rumors.  We think, from the messages we get from Lhasa, the rumors are the earthquake was a kind of retribution for China's actions in Tibet the month before.  That doesn't mean that people literally think this.  It's a kind of notion of karma, if you like, the Sharon Stone approach to (laughter) -- but, you know, even among Chinese you see that view.

And yesterday I saw -- and I saw this morning some article saying that religious belief is going to increase now in China across Chinese people because of the earthquake.  So there are these kind of unexpected results of these disasters.

WORDEN:  Rebecca, do you have any thoughts about the impact of the earthquake?

NEDOSTUP:  Yes.  Well, I think -- a couple of things to think about.  One is in the long historical view, Chinese states have often been willing to welcome the social service provisions that religious organizations can provide, and that is very much in keeping with the favoring of the Christian model of religion.  And this is certainly true of earlier 20th century governments.

One of the things that the Chinese nationalist state in the 1920s -- when it was setting up the state regulatory framework that we sort of see the inheritance of today did was write sort of horditory (sic) letters to Chinese Buddhists saying why can't you be more like those Christians and set up hospitals and clinics and so on?  And Buddhists themselves were extremely interested in doing this, so there was this very interesting dialogue that went back and forth that carried on through the war with Japan that led to some Chinese Buddhist monks actually taking up arms against the Japanese and so on.

So there has been this back and forth, and we see some of this now in a lot of religious charitable organizations going into the earthquake zone, international organizations, and some of this came up in the morning session with the mention of Saji (ph) being one of the most prominent ones, the Taiwanese Buddhist group, but there are other ones.

But there have also been local temples that have opened their doors to refugees.  And so there's been -- and this has been reported in the Chinese press, so there's been a lot more sort of open manifestation, but also open reporting of religiosity happening in the aftermath of the earthquake.  And not all of that is contrary to state interests.  The things that religious organizations can provide, the material resources, are often -- often can work in tandem with what the state needs in an emergent situation.

But also, there's the sort of ritual aspect, the emotional aspect and so on.  And that's important I think not just for people who are outside the state.  And in the first session there was beginnings of a discussion of religious affiliation for people in government.  And I think that's important to remember.  And it's important to -- at this point maybe to start to disaggregate the state, to think of the state not just as unitary actor and to think of different levels of the state, local versus central, as maybe having different interests.

And particularly when we think of the earthquake, there's starting to be a lot of discussion of -- certainly in terms -- mostly in the press of blaming local officials for problems that have happened in the earthquake versus not blaming central officials.  But I think the local officials can sometimes get things out of religious affiliations and organizations that central officials maybe have different interests in.  And that can include also what we might lump very crudely under community needs or spiritual needs.

And that can be defined variously.  There was an item in the New York Times today about the one panda that was killed in the earthquake, being buried by the panda's keeper and the panda's keeper putting an offering on the grave of the panda.  I think we can count that as -- you know, in the broad spectrum of religion.

So, you know, these things are manifesting themselves quite, you know -- in different ways, and I think that times of trauma especially and times of crisis bring out religion and religious needs into state actors in ways that they don't necessarily in more ordinary times.  So I think it's well worth keeping an eye on.  This has happened over and over again in times of war in the 20th century in China.

WORDEN:  Dru, any thoughts about the seismic changes in China in relation to the earthquake?

GLADNEY:  The Muslims were less affected.  They're mostly Hui in the urban centers in that area, traders.  Hui connected the tea trade that freighters from -- down into Burma, Southeast Asia, all the way up through Szechuan, Ching-Hai, Gonsu, (ph) right up into Xingjian, and the Hui were often the traders, smugglers you might call them sometimes because there were often other things being traded.

But for the most part what I think the earthquake illustrated -- Xingjian has had its fair share of earthquakes as well as Ningsha -- major fault lines there in those regions -- is the tremendous complexity and ethnic diversity that is masked by the general focus on Beijing's policies or on China.  What that illustrates is not just this enormous Szechuanese population and culture, which is quite different from the north, but also the fact there's this group known as the Chong.  Nobody had ever heard of them, you know.  Three-hundred thousand of them, 90,000 in the center, Betan, in the center where the earthquake was.  Probably all 90,000 perished, maybe up to -- more than 10 percent, maybe -- some people are saying almost half their population.  Nobody had hardly ever heard of this group before.

So the diversity that is in China today I think is something that is really overwhelming people so that when we talk about Muslims in China, we can't just talk about Muslims.  We have to talk about Ouigers versus Hui versus some very poor and very uneducated Muslims in that region of Ching-Hai, Gonsu who are the most patriotic, the least rebellious.

And normally we think Muslims are driven -- and I think the Chinese state erors on this situation.  They think that that Ouigers are rebellious because they're not well educated, they're not well developed.  But the least developed Muslims in China are probably the Dongsheng, the Bao'an, the Salah in this Gungsu, Ching-Hai region, these former traders.  They're very patriotic, very well integrated in the Chinese -- they speak this weird Turkic-Mongolian language.  But they are extremely well integrated into the broader, multiethnic, multicultural Chinese mainstream.

WORDEN:  And now I think we can go to the audience.  We'll start back here.  Just identify yourself and your organization.  Stand up, if you will.

FENGGANG YANG:  Yeah, this is Fenggang Yang.  I'm from Purdue University.  Just some questions.  Birst a question for Professor Barnett about Tibetan and Tibetan Buddhism.  What do you think about the Chinese government's pouring hundreds or sometimes millions or even billions of yuan to restore, renovate those temples in the Tibetan areas?

Second is what do you think about the popular appeal of Tibetan Buddhism in eastern part of China?  Because in some urban areas, I find many people like Tibetan Buddhism and practice Tibetan Buddhism.  These are the people -- these are the Han people, not Tibetan people.

Third question is during the March riots in Lhasa not only Han businesses were affected, I think also some Muslim businesses were affected in Lhasa.  And there are Muslims in Tibet and also Christians, both Catholics and Protestants.  What's the attitude toward the Christian evangelism in Tibet?  What's the government's attitude, the local government, and what's the attitude of the Dalai Lama?

For Professor Dru Gladney, would you talk about -- I know, because this is a rare occasion to get some information.  I have been fascinated by those, but really want to learn.  And for the 10 acting minorities who are considered Muslim -- but you said there are some non-practicing.  Do you have a sense of the proportion of people who do not practice Islam among the 10 acting minorities, especially the Hui minority.

And also the question about evangelism, Christian evangelism in Xingjian.  What do you know about that, and what you can tell about that?  Thank you.

WORDEN:  Thank you.

NEDOSTUP:  You'll go first, Robby.  (Laughter.)

BARNETT:  Thank you so much.  Firstly, the Chinese government has poured huge amounts of money into restoring temples in Tibet, but it's basically a very small number of temples that are national monuments, the fatallah (ph) and so on.  But a couple of -- three have been put on UNESCO World Heritage site.  So a lot of money.

This is the phenomenon we have to bear in mind all the time about China.  There's never a China that tries to eliminate something or completely wipe out something.  It always has a carrot in one hand and a stick in the other.  It always has an incentive policy for that category and an elimination policy for that category.  And what's so tragic on the Tibet issue is the Chinese have moved the Dalai Lama from this side to that side.  They can't talk to the one person who can really very easily resolve their problem really very, very quickly because they're put in that eliminate category, the enemy category rather than the united front category.

When they're thinking about that category, they spend money on temples.  They don't spend money on local temples.  There's -- bout 3(thousand) 4,000 monasteries have been rebuilt in Tibet, probably 90 percent of them at a guess are entirely private, local money.  But they do -- the Chinese does national, big symbolic kinds of religion.  It has a -- unfortunately, it creates a notion of state folkloric practices with its money spending, not very evenly distributed.  But it's a very positive thing.

Now, popular appeal of Tibetan Buddhism -- wonderful point.  Huge increase in fascination and devotion, real devotion to Tibetan Buddhism among Chinese, not just Taiwan, but -- not just East Coast, but across middle class China, this is a massive phenomenon of devotion, a massive source of funds, very, very important.  There was -- a major monastery was basically wiped out about five years ago because it had 800 Chinese monks up in Liugong, Szechuan.  Basically that monastery is completely reassembled now very quietly in the last couple of years.

WORDEN:  Robby, has that been affected by the backlash after the -- the nationalist backlash after the protests in March?

BARNETT:  I was just going to say I have no idea.  I think you will find that Buddhism amongst Chinese completely survives the nationalist backlash because Buddhism is a non-centralized religion.  It is not a church.  It's a mass of thousands of little groupings each around their own lama.  So each lama will skillfully take their flock around that issue, will perhaps politely separate themselves from political issues, and the Chinese followers will be able to say this is different.  My lama is different from the Dalai Lama or something like that.  So I think it won't make a difference.

This is a huge resurgence of 1930s interest in Tibetan Buddhism that was cultivated by the Republicans in the 1930s.  The Panchen Lama gave teachings to 35,000 people in 1934, something like that, in I think Shanghai, was it?  Greg Tuttle, my colleague at Columbia, has written a wonderful book about this.  So this is, again, a historical re-emergence.

The Hui attacks -- yes, they're -- not just this time.  There were attacks on the Hui by Tibetans on March 14th.  This is a recurrent phenomenon.  You know, when you read the Chinese press saying oh, these Tibetans now they're so violent and this is because of the Dalai Lama or something, or when you read Westerners saying oh, this is so shocking, there must be a new climate in Tibetan politics or Tibetan attitudes, this is completely wrong.  There have been dozens of riots in Tibet in the last 20 years against Hui Muslims.  They're always started by rumors of pollution, you know, that somebody's food has been polluted or the water supply has been polluted.  A lot of antagonism.  Historically, it comes from 1930s, 1920s wars between the two communities and so on.  This has continued.

And I just want to say that when we look at Tibetan violence, when it's about race, it's really very typical in situations where you have very, very rapid demographic change in a small space.  And lastly, the Christians, the evangelists -- 90 percent of the Westerners working in Tibetan areas probably are hardcore fundamentalist Christian evangelists, many of them from America.  They're very, very much regarded with suspicion by other Westerners because many of them do have an agenda, which is to destroy Tibetan culture, although they will disagree with that.  They will say they respect the culture.  They only want to replace the religion.

They basically have been entirely supported by the Chinese state, and for the last few months there's been a slight change.  All the foreign language teachers in the TAR are necessarily members of an evangelical born again movement.  They're very nice people.  I work with them and know them.

But Tibetans all accept them wonderfully initially because they discover they like religion.  They think that's wonderful.  And later on they get -- when they get to the stage of serious converting, then some animosity arrives.  We're sort of still in that stage.

GLADNEY:  But they're cheap.  I mean, I would say 99 percent of the foreign workers in Xingjian -- and I had read something, like about 400 -- this is a large number -- are probably evangelical Christians, a large group of Koreans in South Korea.  Particularly in Central Asia the numbers go way up.  But now I'm just talking about Xingjian.

And I don't think it's really -- again, it's like the migration issue.  It's not so much that the Chinese government is sending Han and other workers into the region.  They're attracted.  There are opportunities there for the poor as well as for these teachers.  They need foreign skilled labor, and they're cheap and they're clean.  These Christian teachers -- they don't take drugs.  They don't sleep with the students, they're reliable, they show up to work on time, and they get support from the outside.  So they're cheap.

And so I think it's not as if there's some devious plot to -- in fact, there could be an argument to say that the Chinese government policy towards nationalities has done more to preserve culture than to eradicate it.  China is the only government in the world that I know that spends millions -- (inaudible) -- dollars to translate documents, to create languages, ethnic languages that didn't exist, to have bilingual, multilingual publications, to allow second and third language education at the elementary school level.  In places like Xingjian, it's not just Ouiger and Chinese, but you have Kazakh.  You have Kyrgyz.  You have a lot of other languages that are being actively taught, and publications, newspapers, radio broadcasts, television shows.

So China's government policy is I think somewhat conflicted on this issue.  On the one hand, there's a lot of preservation and a lot of energy devoted to that.  On the other hand, there has to be, you know, a recognition that China very much wants integration.

So when groups are thought to be threatening, then they will -- the strength of the state will come to bear so that you do see overflowing mosques and young boys studying Islam in the madrassa, often state-funded madrassa, in interior China.  But you go to Xingjian and you don't see that because the government's very strict.  And so these loose rules about religion are sometimes more applied in areas such as perhaps the autonomous region and Muslim areas as opposed to the non-autonomous regions where there are Muslims, such as Gonsu and Ching-Hai.

And I think also the comment about secularism and Islam, non-practicing Muslims -- I think sometimes that's often generational or regional.  You know, urban Muslims tend to be more secularist.  But I've found that, you know, like in many of these, you know, religious populations as they get closer to, you know, thinking about the future or when there are great events, like funerals or marriages, then religion will come out.

And religion is I think -- we have to think about -- among Muslims in China as ethno-religious.  It's part of their identity.  It's part of their cultural background.  So even if you have Communist Party members who are Hui or Ouigers, you know, they will make all of these sort of atheistic statements and sign the documents in public, but in a private persona you might see that, well, they won't eat pork, or they will be very, you know, well versed in the religious traditions, such as weddings and funerals, et cetera.

So I don't know that we can actually -- and I think Mayfair Yang's book that -- and part of what I was involved with as well -- the notion of Chinese religiosity.  It's not so much religion as much -- you know, institutionalized religions, though we have them, but it's the awareness of ritual and private practice and the appeal of the richness of religious practice that is not just for Muslims or Buddhists, but it's for -- in popular religion in China, pervasive in Chinese society as well.

WORDEN:  So we're going to go in the back here.  Moira Moynahan.

QUESTIONER:  My name is Moira Moynahan, and I'm the executive producer of the documentary about Paldon Gyatso's life and his -- called "Fire Under the Snow," his 33 years in a Chinese labor camp in prison.  And I know that since March 14th, when riots exploded in Tibet that the Chinese government has accelerated arrests, torture, deportation of Tibetans with particular persecution meted out to the Buddhist clergy there.

And as China approaches the Olympic Games and gets set to host this enormous international gathering in August, it appears to be tightening security grip around tourists and journalists who will be coming for the Games as it continues the crackdown in Tibet.  So I'd like to ask the panel what they predict or foresee may happen with the Olympics as the international spotlight beams on Tibet.

WORDEN:  Any many other parts of China, yes.  We'll perhaps start with Robby and then move along to the other panelists.

BARNETT:  Thank you very much.  I suppose we're in one of those classic situations where Chinese Marxists and Chinese analysts teach us to think about contradictions.  (Scattered laughter.)  And this is a situation where contradictions are going to manifest.  And it's a very interesting one because I have -- I don't like to -- I don't want to be patronizing at all, but I think there is another historical problem for China, which is China has become used to -- and by China I mean the central leadership, you know, recognizing your point about the distinctions within the state -- but China's become used to the idea of the symbolic ritual event, a kind of -- I don't -- it's not a state religion, but this huge importance in the way the Communist Party organizes social life and history around major events -- anniversaries, festivals and so on.  And this is the biggest one of all perhaps since -- I don't know -- 1959 10th anniversary of liberation.

Now, of course, in the Chinese climate those were managed.  You could contain every form of input and output and so on that happened with these, and the Olympics, of course -- China's discovering you can't manage, the way it's experienced, the way it's understood.  The symbolism of the Olympics is in freefall.  And that's very difficult for China.  As they try to manage that, they're going to have to live with the difference or the different interpretations.

And the problem for China is will it overreact to the protests that will happen?  Will it crush those in full view?  Will it stop people seeing them and produce more contradictions that a benevolent, modern state that crushes its protests?

Well, I'm very interested in something that Han Donfang has been saying for a couple of years, which is the problem for the Olympics won't be what we'll think, you know -- will Falun Gong -- they're keeping very carefully quiet on this.  (Inaudible) -- keeping quiet.  Tibetans -- not much involved in Olympics except for the exiles.  The problem he's saying will be the petitioners, the letters and petition people, Chinese people often from the countryside who for years and years have deep, unanswered grievances about their personal lives and so on who will try to get to Beijing or other cities and join this occasion.  That could be much more --

WORDEN:  And I should say the petitioners have a legal right to petition the state that dates back to ancient times, but the petitioners' village that at one point numbered 10,000 people in Beijing -- the final remnants of that were cleared out last September.  So they've been dispersed, but these are people who have dedicated their lives to settling their grievances.

Rebecca, do you have any thoughts about this?

NEDOSTUP:  Well, picking up on this -- I think this is one area in which the earthquake has really sort of changed the game or opened up this -- the question of sort of ritual or civil ritual in a completely new way.  And I'm thinking of the moment of silence or the non-silent moment of silence because, you know, of course, it was met by so many car horns all over China.

But it was observed so widely, and -- you know, I wasn't in China at the time, but I knew a lot of people who were and wrote extremely moving accounts of it.  And this is a case where all the stage management of -- that the state could do in a sense didn't really matter because people were really joining into this in a very sincere way.

And this to me is much more significant than any kind of reinvention of Confucianism and Gonggi, and, you know, sort of Confucian ceremony that could go on because I know that the state tried to do that in the 1930s and it didn't go over very well.  And I'm not very convinced that any attempt to do that -- you know, however many times they go to the Yellow Emperor's tomb, that's always going to be a stage managed sort of thing.

But this is something different.  And the -- because it's also backed up with genuine acts of contributing and donating blood and donating money and people leaving their jobs for a week or a month or more to go to Szechuan.

So there is something else going on here, and it may be a little bit tied to the Olympics, but it may be something else entirely.  So that's what sort of I'm keeping my eye on.  And it seems to have deflected a lot of this -- the nationalist rhetoric that developed after the torch protests.

WORDEN:  I'd just make one quick comment that as you watch this civil ritual of the Olympics in China unfold, pay attention to what an enormously public and important role the ethnic minorities will play in this ritual.  They'll be forefront in the -- front and center.  And Tibetans are often almost in the very front.

And I think -- you know, it's important to realize how important multinationalism, multiculturalism is to China because it sends a signal to the entire country and the world that China is a united place, that it's brought all of these different cultures together.  It's not monolithic.  It's not monocultural.

There is somewhat a contradiction there as well, because on the one hand, China wants to bring its country together.  On the other hand, it also wants to preserve these differences and showcase them, but only certain kinds of differences.  In other words, there are many differences that are masked by those 56 minority nationalities and one great majority, the Han Chinese.

But, you know, China has much to be proud of that it's going to be celebrating.  And it'll be -- you know, what's fascinating is that many of these minorities are equally proud of their country.  I remember sitting in a cafe in Xingjian with some Ouigers, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbek students who had been involved with a research project over the summer, and we were celebrating around a big hot pot, lamb hot pot.  There was lots of beer there, though these were Muslims.  They were over 21.  And there was a lot of celebration at our table, but there was a lot of complaints about government policy and everybody -- you know, academics when they get together, they tend to complain a lot.

And then suddenly there was a celebration out in the street, and it was May 12th, and they had just nominated Beijing -- Beijing had just won the Olympics.  And these students from many different ethnic Muslim backgrounds were just out in the street as happy as anyone, thrilled for their country.

And I think what Americans can't understand is that when we criticize China on issues such as Tibet or its treatment of its Muslims, Chinese think that we're trying to drag that country down, we're trying to keep them back, hold them back.  It's not that we're that concerned about human rights issues.  It's that we really don't want to see China succeed, and we don't -- and we, you know, think China's a threat, things like that.

And I think what we fail to realize is that the Chinese have the right to celebrate, that many of these minority groups will be celebrating, and it'll be a tremendous civic ritual event.  At the same time, you know, China won't be able to manage the criticisms that will come out, the many, many layers of issues, the difficult issues, the challenges China has ahead of itself to continue with this pace of development and satisfy the many complaints that its population has.

WORDEN:  And I was given a few minutes to run over. The -- you know, we've walked right up to the beginning of the Olympics.  I'd like to ask in closing for each of you to give us your view of what will happen after the pressure is off from the Olympics.  You know, what is the likely scenario, you know, for China after this year of very momentous events, some anticipated, some not anticipated?  You know, what is the scenario?  Will things get tighter perhaps in some of the ethnic regions, or will there be a collective national sigh of relief?  Is it possible, then, to return to the general track of reform that we've seen over the last 30 years?  And why don't we start again on the end with Robby?

BARNETT:  Well, of course, I don't know what's going to happen, but it's very interesting to see how constantly everybody on every side of the picture is changing.  You know, suddenly we have Chinese people on the Internet suddenly taking up the Tibet issue and defending their government, although the week before they were critics of their government.  We have the Chinese government, you know, that is talking with the Dalai Lama's people on one side and attacking them on the other.

We have American policy, has actually been very gentle on China during the Tibet issues and less so than in Europe and lots of changes.  We had a remarkable moment during the Tibet issues when all the European governments and much of the West was pretty unified in criticizing China.  These things are changing all the time.

And one of the changes that's happening, which is really interesting and is a result of -- perhaps of the earthquake, but not just -- is people outside learning how to play the Chinese song, how to listen to what China wants to hear without becoming panda huggers.  (Laughter)  And this is a new kind of appeal that comes out of this Chinese nationalism, which is be nice to us. Differentiate in your criticism.

And I notice how the earthquake has led to this.  I mentioned it earlier.  A lot of Tibetans doing prayers for victims, the Dalai Lama insisting that people not stage any anti-China protests during much of May, giving a $50,000 donation to the International Red Cross.

This is very interesting because this is learning to differentiate between your politics and your alliances if you like, to say we like you Chinese people.  We sympathize with this and that.  We just disagree about that thing.  American government trying to do this as well, different groups trying to do this.

I think the Olympics will be an opportunity where we'll see people trying to learn that new way of differentiating their criticisms, trying to find ways to talk to China and Chinese people in a more nuanced way.  And I think that will come -- the same thing will happen with Chinese people talking to the West saying, well, we recognize this is wrong, but on the other hand, this works for us.  So I think that could be a positive outcome here.

WORDEN:  Rebecca.

NEDOSTUP:  Well, I think that there is probably two levels going on.  One may just keep on percolating the way that it's always been and one may change a bit.  The one that may keep on percolating the way it's always been -- I'm not so sure it's necessarily been affected by any of the Olympics -- is the level of local religion.  And that really hasn't come up that -- it came up a little bit in the first session, hasn't really come up too much in this session.

Because the question of how that is affected by state regulation is a very good one because it's not one of, you know, the five religions.  This is a question -- there has been a question that has come and gone with state authorities of whether it should be made a state religion.  It seems to have gone pretty much in the last couple of years.  And so -- but it's flourished and flourished largely through the contributions of entrepreneurs, especially local entrepreneurs, have poured a lot of money into local religion.

And that, I think, may just keep on going the way it has been.  There may be a question after the Olympics of whether or not the government now has a little bit more breathing space to revisit this issue.  But, again, that may just continue on as it always has been.  The issue that really have seemed to come to the fore with the Olympics and the earthquake is the state's contact with international religious groups.  And now, you know -- and especially intra-Asia religious groups as well as sort of East-West contacts.  And that's especially come out in the past few months with these contacts with religious charities from other parts of Asia.  And I think that those dialogues may well increase after the Olympics.

BARNETT:  Well, I think it depends on how many gold medals China wins.  (Laughter.)  And not just on the playing field, but also I think in terms of world recognition for its management of such a global event.

China, I think, is now on a world stage like never before, and it's shifting the way we see the world.  And I'm hoping that it shifts the way we see China, that there'll be great awareness and that China itself will be a more secure state, a more open society.  And that I think will be good for its marginal peoples.

China is very insecure on issues such as religion, it's very afraid of some of these religious movements so that as a state itself, having a secular background -- I mean, when we talk about religion in China, we talk about religiosity.  There's a lot of religion going on.  But who manages the state?  It's a state bureaucracy.

And who are those people?  Most of those people came up through a very secularist, atheist educational system.  They never had Introduction to Christianity 101.  They (laughs) never had any training on religion, these state bureaucrats.  And they're often very afraid of what they can't understand.

Why are people so motivated by Tibetan Buddhism?  What is the appeal of Christianity?  What is the strength of Islam?  Why don't, you know, people listen to someone like, you know, Al-Zawahiri?  Why don't Ouigers -- why are they interested in Wahhabism?  Why is conservative Islam attractive to young, modern, educated Ouiger professionals?  What is attractive about that?  That's very threatening to an insecure government.

Now, if China, I think, becomes -- recognizes that it is a very secure state; no one's threatening China in terms of armies on its borders.  Many people want to see China succeed, but also be a responsible stakeholder in the world, not just with its own population in terms of human rights, but also on the environmental issues that affect the entire globe.  And I think -- I hope that if China does well with the Olympics -- and many gold medals, not just on the playing field -- that it will lead to a more open, more secure China that will be good for Chinese, not just Han Chinese, but all Chinese citizens as well as global citizens.

WORDEN:   Well, thank you to our speakers.  We've run a little bit over, so we'll have a very short break before convening for Session three.  And thank you all for helping us with such a fascinating -- (applause).









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