Chapter 74: [email protected] G0ne

During a reunion lunch with one of my favorite former Chinese coworkers, Jane, I discover she's gone over to [email protected] G0ng -- and hopes John and I will too.

In late August 2003, John and I returned to Hangzhou to reunite with our friends — including my former Chinese coworker Jane.

This was the same “almost vegetarian,” sprightly young twentysomething with a zen chime ringtone, and a grin that could breath even a little humor and grace into the ultra-serious “technical room,” where the two of us used to work. Jane even worked her own hours, and wore edgy outfits, defying the usual “good-girl” pastels most Chinese women wore. Jane reminded me that, even in China, there are girls who just want to have fun — their way. My inner feminist adored her.

If only this were the same Jane I’d known. That day, she served up Hangzhou-style, stir-fried veggies — and a surprise helping of [email protected] G0ng.

[email protected] G0ng is the reason for my newfound inner peace and strength,” she beamed, with the kind of radiance you usually find in a woman with child. But Jane’s gestation was all about bringing a new spirit, and not a child, to birth in her own life.

Before John and I knew it, the conversation morphed into a sales pitch, as Jane praised [email protected] G0ng as the one and only pathway for salvation.

What? The one and only?

Well, it’s not like I’ve never heard that one before. After all, in the Catholic tradition I knew as a girl, Catholicism was the way. And if you’ve been in any other religion, most say the same — good marketing, I suppose. If people thought there was a better way, they might start “shopping around” with other religions.

But I guess I’ve never believed there was just one right belief. And I’ve been skeptical of anyone who would say so — just like all of the born-again Christians I met in high school, telling me to embrace Jesus or face hell (so, does that mean all of the Buddhists, Muslims and Jews just end up in hell, because they “were wrong?”).

I couldn’t believe this was [email protected] G0ng. But maybe I only knew one side of [email protected] G0ng, the Western media point of view. I always thought anyone had a right to something that brought them peace and happiness. I just never thought they’d expect everyone else to embrace their same vision of peace and happiness. And, especially, I never thought I’d hear it from Jane.

“Here, take this home and read it,” Jane suggested, as she slid a nondescript, blue book my way.

“I promise to read it,” I replied, smiling in the hopes I would bury the churning of my emotions within.

Sometimes I wondered why [email protected] G0ng, and thought I lost Jane. But [email protected] G0ng was, in a way, a very Jane-like choice. Jane had always lived at the fringes of life in China — ready to buck the mainstream at any moment. I just hope that Jane wasn’t bucked away by her choice. After all, I never heard from Jane after that.

Have you ever discovered a different side to a major news story or controversy in China (or elsewhere)?


Memoirs of a Yangxifu in China is the story of love, cultural understanding and eventual marriage between one American woman from the city and one Chinese man from the countryside. To read the full series to date, you can start at Chapter 1, or browse the Memoirs of a Yangxifu archives.

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8 Replies to “Chapter 74: [email protected] G0ne”

  1. Jocelyn, when you write about this topic it might be a good idea to use some sort of code, like [email protected] G0ng or something, to make sure you get past the censors. I had to use a proxy to open this page from China, I could get to your front page but clicking on this post completely killed your whole blog and I had to wait a few minutes and connect my proxy to get back in. Of course for readers outside of China it doesn’t matter but I think you have quite a few people reading from in China too.

    Interesting story though. I’ve never had any FG run-ins personally but I know of some people who have.

    1. Hi Jessica, thanks for the message — I think I was so busy I didn’t even realize how reckless that was! I just went ahead and changed things around per your suggestion, plus I changed the permalink to that post (which seemed to be blocked). Now it’s fine and you should be able to access it.

      Thanks too for your comment, Crystal. Close call, but I think I’ll be fine now.

      Tiffany — how interesting that you grew up in a family with so many different religious choices! Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

  2. Religions, among many other “taboos” are not mutually exclusive in China or Taiwan. I can see the younger generation has a way of taking a new religion and their life compass when such religion is adapted in the right time. I grew up in a mixed religion family – dad was a buddist until a few days before he passed; mom took all of us (4 children) to the Christianity path; my grand parents and countless uncles and aunts are/were mostly buddists. Now I look at my generation, there are 50/50 Christians and Buddist. As my sight places upon the next generation, I find them mostly atheists or “mutual” – whatever that means.

  3. I’ve personally met some [email protected] G0ng people.. they’re very “friendly” but love to harass me on the streets and force their religion onto me. 🙁

    I wrote this earlier from a facebook group:

    — begin quote:
    yo FG dudes, PLEASE READ:

    I don’t need your pamphlets, I don’t want your books. If you’re truly peaceful, then stop imposing your religion and political views onto bystanders. Stop harassing me because I’m Chinese. When I say I’m not interested, please stop advancing in my direction and stick your chest onto my …body like a gorilla. (that LITERALLY HAPPENS) I didn’t go across the street to hear your preaching. So please be ->peaceful<-

    Side note: Getting hundreds of people to practice your "art" in [email protected]@nm3n square and expecting tolerance is like holding the Woodstock hippy convention on the White House lawn and expecting the President to sit back and watch. Or doing back flips in a classroom and expecting the teacher to congratulate you for your peacefulness. HINT: Try practicing in the mountains or inside a gym instead.

    (I don't feel like posting this on an actual FG website because i don't want to be harassed online. Getting harassed on the street is bad enough)

    — end quote

    1. Chris, thanks for sharing. Your experiences remind me of a video I saw about FG in Flushing, New York — they did harrass people on the streets there.

      Jessica, whew! (big sigh of relief) I think I was testing my website five times a day for a while there. Lesson learned. 😉

  4. Haha see it is unblocked now Jocelyn, close call! I frequently post on a forum for expats in China and we’re VERY careful to use codewords when talking about certain things. I’ve been surprised with some forums, Candle for Love for one, that they seem to discuss extremely sensitive topics not really caring (or maybe not aware?) that they might end up blocked. It is something to always keep in mind if you have a site with a large China-based readership. 🙂

  5. I think if any of us have a “vision of peace and happiness”, the very first thing we’d do is share that with those closest and dearest to us because we’d want them to have it too. So it’s completely reasonable for any friend to have expectations that another would embrace their beliefs but important to not sit in judgement of them should they reject.

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