Dr. Yanjun Sun, a visiting professor of Psychology of Religion at the University of Hawaii who just recently left China, has publicly severed all his ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Now, on a trip to Washington, DC, he is reaching out to policy-makers and the media to explain the importance of this growing movement to renounce communism and to detail his knowledge of the persecution of religious groups in China.
“The sciences, including psychology, are destined to serve the advancement of humankind. However, under a dictatorship, science becomes the accomplice of tyrannical ruling. This is the deepest shame of scientific professionals. A scientist can apply professional knowledge in doing good things as well as in doing evil things, and because of this, a scientist has to be responsible for his or her conduct to make sure that what he or she is doing is beneficial to human society,” states Dr. Sun.
“I cannot accept that the Chinese government has mobilized the entire state-run machinery to persecute peaceful religious groups like the Falun Gong in their efforts to control the population. The Chinese communist regime has brutally persecuted those Falun Gong adherents who persist their faith of Truth, Compassion, and Tolerance [the founding principles of the Falun Gong spiritual practice]. Over the past ten years, the Chinese communist regime has employed multiple defamatory and slanderous campaigns against Falun Gong, and they have committed the crime of genocide against adherents of this peaceful practice.”
Professor Sun decided to take action after reading Nine Commentaries on Chinese Communist Party, an editorial series published by a US-based Chinese newspaper that details the atrocities committed by the Chinese Communist Party in history as well as today, highlighting issues like the oppression of Falun Gong. He has now openly renounced his membership in the Chinese Communist Party and all of its related organizations. To date 53 million Chinese people have made similar statements through both formal and informal means. More details can be found at www.TheEpochTimes.com.
On Monday, May 4, Dr. Sun will present what he knows about the ongoing oppression of religious practices in China. He will also be available for interview. Joining Dr. Sun will be Dr. Wenyi Wang, who will make an announcement on the formation of the Foundation to Support Chinese to Quit the Chinese Communist Party.
Undertaking religious studies under an atheist communist regime may sound like a contradiction, but Sun Yanjun, a professor of the psychology of religion, said it is just another method the Chinese regime uses to control people.
“In order to have power in hand the regime must control tightly the ideology. And if they want to control people’s minds they have to control religion,” Sun said through a translator. “The Chinese Communist Party is a dictatorship; it is ruled through tyranny.”
Sun taught religious studies at Capital Normal University in Beijing. He said within every university is a Communist Party branch department and an executive Party department—the ultimate controlling forces of the university.
“In China everything serves the Party, and even when we give a lecture, the students are used as spies and messengers. If you say something outside the Party, they will report it to the executive and branch departments at the university.”
He said the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) set up religious studies in universities in order to get ideas on how to manage or control religions. The research he and his colleagues undertook is used to determine the policy of control or to directly influence public opinion through propaganda.
Control Over Religion
Religion has played a major role in the CCP’s battle for control of the Chinese people since the Party seized rule in 1949. It was strategic in that traditional Chinese society was based on a belief in the divine and China itself was once called “Shen Zhou” or “Land of the Divine.”
Communist ideology is based on atheism and in 1950, after the CCP gained control of China, local governments were instructed to disband groups of Catholics, Taoists, and Buddhists. The CCP ordered all members of these churches, temples, and religious societies to register with government agencies and to repent for their involvement.
“In China even though freedom of religion is in the law, only those religions controlled by the CCP can survive,” Sun said. The CCP elects its own priests and cardinals—over the Vatican’s objections—and the next Dalai Lama has already been appointed by the regime.
Fake Research Articles
Sun said he was requested to write “research papers” about religions, a propaganda exercise which became more pronounced following the regime’s clampdown on Falun Gong.
“When the persecution of Falun Gong started in 1999, because my major research focus was on the psychology of religion, I was requested several times to criticize Falun Gong and the practice,” he said. The requests came from the administration manager of the university, and the branch and executive branch of the Party.
“They said if I can write such an article it would be considered part of research and could be published. If I didn’t write it, it would affect my career and promotion,” Sun said.
“In my specialty it’s not difficult to publish an article, even within a week. I could publish some data between a Falun Gong practitioner and a non-practitioner, and use some psychological parameters to ‘prove’ the Falun Gong practitioner has some psychological problem. Once a paper like this is published it can have a very big impact.”
Sun refused to write the articles “because of the experience I had with my colleagues and professors who practiced Falun Gong. I always felt they were very compassionate, and it did not feel right to write defamatory articles.”
But some of his colleagues succumbed to the pressure and the financial lure, and wrote such articles. Grant applications and academic status were often affected by compliance to such requests from the Party.
“I personally believe religion is a good thing for people,” Sun said. “So I told my colleagues it is too unfair to attack a religious group.”
At other times he was requested to write defamatory articles about the Tibetan religion. “They also asked me once to write against some of the Christian organizations. I didn’t.”
Loss and Gain
Sun, who follows the teachings of Confucius, said he was motivated to sever all ties with the CCP last year.
“The academic study of religion should not be used for tyranny,” he said. “I cannot always live my life under the shadow of deception.”
Sun was teaching in Hawaii at the time, and his public renunciation of the Party meant he had to give up his job and his title of professor at the same time. He also had to apply for asylum—the likelihood of torture was high should he return to China—and to leave behind his wife and family.
He has no regrets. “The decision to quit the CCP is the proudest thing I have done so far in my life.”
Sun renounced membership from the CCP after reading the “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party” once he was in Hawaii and was free of the Internet blockade.
“Meng Zi [also known as Mencius] said, ‘if you don’t have compassion, you are not a human being. If you don’t know right and wrong, you are not a human being. If you cannot be tolerant, you are not a human being. If you don’t know shame you are not a human being.’
“After I knew so much truth about the CCP, and if I tied my fate to the CCP, I am not qualified to be a human being either.”
Sun hopes his wife can join him in Hawaii sometime soon. In the meantime, he is working on some of the original scriptures by Meng Zi.