of assimilation had been achieved because China had been religiously tolerant and had little religious restriction and no religious persecutions or wars except the Taiping Rebellion and the Communist regime. Among the similarities between Christianity and communism, one of the few bad things in common is intolerance, which has led to many tragic movements in the contemporary history of China. Now Chinese people have waked up from the frenzy of the Cultural Revolution, and China is again open to the world. Novels like Peony can help both Chinese and Americans find better ways to deal with racial and cultural problems.
We are both big countries with multiple races and cultures. Racial and cultural problems are, in the end, not only the business of the legislators or policy-makers but the business of every citizen. Communism has failed in Eastern Europe and is failing in China, but this is not yet the "end of history" as Francis Fukuyama so joyously heralded. Amost every social problem of the United States indicates that class struggle and ideological struggle are by no means the only struggles among human beings, that racial and cultural conflicts, among many others, will die hard before the confluence can happen, and that the way to freedom is still long and arduous. Thus, history even in Hegel's definition will not end very soon. On the way to achieve freedom and democracy everyone shares the responsibility, for the conflict is not so much between countries as among people. We need to advocate tolerance and intermarriage. We also need to take the lesson that to understand one another is more important than to impose our belief upon other people, no matter how much better we think ours may be. We can always learn from one another and from our past experiences including Christian missions and the history of Chinese Jews. Literature serves as an appropriate medium by which students and scholars as well as general readers can learn about the past, not only the historical events, but also the people in those events, so that a fuller picture can be unfolded. Pearl Buck's books are particularly valuable in this respect.