Montesquieu

It results from this that China does not lose its laws by conquest. Manners, ethos, laws, and reli­gion being the same thing, all that can­not be chan­ged at once ; and as either the vic­tor or the van­qui­shed must change, in China it has always had to be the vic­tor. For his ethos not being his man­ners, his man­ners his laws, and his laws his reli­gion, it has been sim­pler for him to adapt lit­tle by lit­tle to the van­qui­shed peo­ple, than the van­qui­shed peo­ple to him.

It fur­ther fol­lows from this some­thing very regret­ta­ble, which is that it is almost impos­si­ble for Christianity ever to become esta­bli­shed in China.1 The vow of vir­gi­nity, assem­blies of women in the chur­ches, their neces­sary com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the minis­ters of reli­gion, their par­ti­ci­pa­tion in the sacra­ments, aural confes­sion, extreme unc­tion, mar­riage to a sin­gle woman : all these upset the ethos and man­ners of the coun­try, and fur­ther strike at reli­gion and the laws at the same time.

The Christian reli­gion, with the esta­blish­ment of cha­rity, public wor­ship, and par­ti­ci­pa­tion in the same sacra­ments, seems to require that all eve­ry­thing be done toge­ther ; the Chinese rites seem to com­mand that all be sepa­ra­ted.

See the reasons given by Chinese magistrates in the decrees by which they forbid the Christian religion (Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, 17th volume).