Readers in Council,
The Japan Times,
5-4, Shibaura 4-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-0023
I was very interested to see in the photograph accompanying the January 14, 2010 Japan Times story “China faces prospect of getting old before getting rich” a clear view of a Christian crucifix on the wall of what the caption called a Beijing nursing home. It seemed unlikely to me that the atheist, communist government of the People’s Republic of China would allow such a decoration on the wall of a state facility - especially one so large, so obvious, and appearing in a photograph distributed internationally through the AFP-JIJI news service. Whatever the story behind its placement on the wall and appearance in the paper, I was interested and a little inspired by the sight of it. That seems appropriate since the sign of the cross not only indicates suffering and death, but triumph and hope as well. Great hope.
Published on Thursday, January 21, 2010 as “Hopeful sign on a wall in Beijing.”
I suppose one reason why this letter was printed is because it coincided with another letter printed the same day, “Grateful for right to proselytize,” by William Reis of Kyoto, also making a passing reference to Christianity. The paper changed my description of China’s government as an “atheist, communist government” to “atheistic communist” which sounds soft-pedaling to me. “Atheistic”sounds like it means the government of communist China is ‘like’ an atheist government. But I don’t think it is like that at all. I think it is that.
I suppose one could say that the Chinese argument knowingly allowed a photo of a state facility featuring a Christian crucifix to appear because it helps them claim freedom of religion within the People’s Republic of China.