Thursday, January 28, 2010

Making use of freedom

The following is an excerpt from the diary of Gertrude Li Minwen, a young Chinese Catholic imprisoned for her beliefs and one of the personae of this blog. After being released from prison Gertrude was ordered to enroll in an indoctrination course in order to free her from her 'old ideas'. In some ways this could be a greater ordeal than being in prison because the courses and the interrogations went on inexorably and the accused were made to defend themselves in public before large crowds. The questions of the committee and participants were designed to trap the accused and get them to implicate others:

'On the afternoon of August 15 the course committee forced Giovaanni Liu and me to go up onstage to declare our attitude publicly. We obeyed. Those attending were free to interrupt with their objections. The prefect of the course leveled several accusations against me and asked me to reveal, without deceit, the reason for my last visit to Father Giovanni. I tried to excuse myself, saying that I was not prepared to answer questions like that. Those present began to rail against me and to curse me. Many times the committee tried to force me on to the stage, from which I had come down. Since I was resolved more than ever not to go back up, the girls from the school were mobilized against me and dragged me by force onto the stage. With rebellion in my heart and greatly agitated, in front of about a thousand people, I declared: "During these days of indoctrination Comrade President and all the rest have been very helpful to me... But I must admit that, unfortunately, my mind has not made any progress, that I do not feel capable of obeying the order to join the reform and to denounce the Catholic Church, and I refuse to respond to what the president has just asked me".
"But why did you go visit the European?"
"Because I intended to make use of my freedom."'

The Red Book of Chinese Martyrs, Edited by Gerolamo Fazzini and translated by Michael Miller, San Francisco 2009, pp.274-5.

Let no-one be in any doubt about the willingness of ideological atheism to use whatever means it deems necessary against those who wish to 'make use of their freedom' and remain wedded to their principles and the maxims of their faith.

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