Under the CCP rule, any form of religion is banned: even worship of ancestors or ancient sages is banned.
by Lin Yijiang
Ancestral halls, an integral part of China’s folk religions and closely related to the Confucian philosophy of filial piety, have been used through generations for gatherings to honor ancestors of family clans. Relatives gather there to remember, worship, and offer sacrifices, or for weddings and funerals.
Every spring, countless visitors came to see blooming flowers in Taohua village, literally translated as Peach Blossom, in Shicheng county of Ganzhou, a prefecture-level city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi. In 2017, villagers spent more than one million RMB (about $ 140,000) on building a Luo clan ancestral hall, which was demolished not even three years later.
Over 300 police officers in dozens of vehicles were dispatched to Taohua village at 3 a.m. on May 1. They cordoned off two roads leading to the hall, preventing anyone from approaching to prevent the demolitions, and blocked communication signals in the village. In a few hours, the building was leveled to the ground.
“The government blocked our phones fearing that we will expose their evil doings to the public,” a village resident remarked angrily. He added that three days before the demolition, a police car was parked in the middle of the road to the village, and over a dozen officers questioned everyone entering it.
Many ancestral halls in other regions have been converted into CCP propaganda bases. The Cai clan hall in the Yinzhou district of Ningbo city in the eastern province of Zhejiang, built in 1588, was turned into a propaganda venue last year, despite its historical significance. It was the first ancestral hall in the province that allowed women to enter—a representation of relatively progressive views on gender by some sages amid the feudal perception of women at the time. The ancient hall is now dotted with propaganda posters featuring President Xi Jinping. An exhibition there showcases a military schoolbag with an image of Mao Zedong and other similar items, while ancestral tablets—the central feature of each such hall—has disappeared without a trace.
A person working at the hall told Bitter Winter students come to visit, study, and watch films during every holiday. “The center aims to make children remember the Communist Party’s revolutionary history from an early age and cultivate Party-loving thoughts,” the worker added.
An ancestral hall in Yantai, a coastal prefecture-level city in the eastern province of Shandong, has been converted into a propaganda center to promote Xi Jinping Thought. “The government demanded to convert the ancestral hall into an exhibition center promoting the Communist Party, or it would be shut down,” a person living nearby the hall explained. “This used to be a place to remember ancestors, but the government ordered Party members from surrounding villages and institutions to study there. This is controlling people’s thoughts.”