What is Mi Xin?[1] 

Chinese people today really turn pale at the mere mention of the two characters “mi xin,” because many people call everything that they don’t believe mi xin. In fact, these two characters, mi xin, were coated with an ultra “leftist” garb during the Great Cultural Revolution, and they were used at that time as the most damaging term against the national culture and the most horrifying label. Thus it has become the most irresponsible pet phrase of those simple-minded and stubborn people. Even those self-proclaimed, so-called “materialists” label everything beyond their knowledge or beyond the understanding of science as mi xin. If things were to have been understood according to that theory, mankind would not have made any advancements. Neither would science have developed further, because all of science’s new progressions and discoveries have been beyond the understanding of its predecessors. Then aren’t these people themselves practicing idealism? Once a human being believes in something, isn’t that, itself a fixation? Isn’t it true that some people’s trust in modern science or modern medicine is also mi xin? Isn’t it true that people’s revering their idols is mi xin as well? Actually, the two characters mi and xin form a very common term. Once people zealously believe in something—including the truth—it becomes mi xin; it doesn’t denote any derogatory meaning. It is only that when those with ulterior motives launch their attacks on others that “mi xin” gets coated with the connotation of feudalism,[2] and so it has become a misleading and combative term that can further incite simple-minded people to echo it.

As a matter of fact, the two characters, mi xin, themselves should not be used this way, nor should the imposed connotation exist. What the two characters mi and xin imply is not something negative. Without mi xin in discipline, soldiers would not have combative abilities; without mi xin in their schools and teachers, students would not acquire knowledge; without mi xin in their parents, children would not be brought up well-mannered; without mi xin in their careers, people would not do a good job in their work. Without beliefs, human beings would have no moral standards; the human mind would not have good thoughts and it would be overcome by wicked thoughts. The moral values of the human society at that time would decline rapidly. Possessed by wicked thoughts, everyone would become enemies of one another and would stop at nothing to satisfy their selfish desires. Although those bad people who have imposed negative connotations on the two characters of mi and xin have achieved their objectives, they have very likely ruined mankind, starting from its very nature.  

Li Hongzhi

January 22, 1996

Revised on August 29, 1996

[1] mi xin (mee shin)—“superstition,” or “blind faith.”

[2] “feudalism”—in contemporary Mainland China, this is a very negative term that connotes backwardness and superstition.