Signs with propaganda slogans required to be displayed outside shops and factories, as kindergarten and elementary school students pledge to follow the Party.
by Wang Yichi
Communist Party glorifying banners and posters of all sizes and forms are flooding the streets of Chinese cities and villages. As part of the campaign to indoctrinate the population, local authorities are making obligatory for enterprises and institutions to display propaganda materials with the main message “Love the Party, Follow the Party,” alongside the national flag. The mandatory requirement to prove the love to the regime and the rapid multiplication of such signs has provoked widespread resentment among ordinary people.
Ordered to love and obey
Since the beginning of this year, the governments of multiple townships under the jurisdiction of Gongyi city in the central province of Henan have been requiring all businesses, residential areas, schools, gas stations, temples, and other public venues to display the “Obey the Party, follow the Party” signs.
“The government mandates us to display these signs. Our factory spent 2,800 RMB (around $ 400) on the installation alone. Every factory is required to have them,” explained the owner of a local factory.
The implementation of the policy is not debatable – those who disobey are punished. In mid-May, authorities in one of the towns under Gongyi’s jurisdiction reprimanded a factory director for not installing the sign on time. He afterward spent 6,000 RMB (around $ 870) to make two LED signs “Obey the Party, follow the Party” to be displayed outside his business.
“Since Xi Jinping came to power, he has driven society into disarray. With one word from him, the factory has to spend several thousand RMB for nothing,” a worker at the factory complained. “If you don’t install these signs, the government will halt your factory’s production on any grounds, like ‘substandard environmental protection.’”
Seeing dozens of omnipresent propaganda slogans and signs on every corner of every street, residents of Huiguo town in Gongyi created a jingle “Obey the Party, follow the Party; if you don’t follow the Party, you’ll be arrested” as a way to mock the CCP’s totalitarian regime.
Businesses threatened for not raising the flag
In April, the government of Xinmi city in Henan ordered all shop owners to put up the Chinese flag outside their businesses. This was presented as part of the initiative to “create a civilized city.”
A government insider stated that the reason for the initiative was “to put the Communist Party first and to strengthen the patriotism of city residents.”
The next month, officials from one of the neighborhood committees in the city brought three workers to a local market who were ordered to raise the national flag outside each of the stores there.
“If you don’t have the flag, your shop will be closed,” the head of the neighborhood committee shouted at a shop owner. Soon after, the workers put up the national flag outside his business, to which the owner remarked sarcastically: “Will raising the national flag really make the city civilized?”
Afraid of having their businesses closed by the authorities, all shop owners were forced to raise flags in front of their shops. One of them commented that the Communist Party always has the final say; anyone who resists will suffer consequences.
According to insiders, the “civilized city” initiative also encompasses activities dedicated to the suppression of religion through setting up special groups for the task in each of the neighborhood committees.
Children pledge to love the Party
In late May, 16 townships in Anle county in the southeastern province of Jiangxi, held an educational activity themed “Obey the Party, be grateful to the Party, follow the Party.” One of the main messages of the event was that religion should be prohibited from entering schools and people’s homes.
According to the parents of children in an elementary and primary school in the county, their children were demanded to memorize and pledge an oath of “deep love for the Communist Party of China.” The children were taught to “be prepared to contribute to the cause of communism.” Students who were unable to memorize the oath were forced to copy it by hand ten times as a punishment.
A parent of a boy in the first grade of the elementary school said that his son was very distressed after the event because he couldn’t memorize all the content of the pledge – there were too many Chinese characters that he doesn’t know yet. Moreover, he didn’t understand the meaning of the words. The parent found it disturbing that the government is forcing political indoctrination on such small children.
Some elementary schools and kindergartens in the county also organized arts and cultural performances for the Children’s Day celebrations in late May and early June. The main slogan of the events was: “Children’s hearts turn toward the Party; strive to be good children in the new era.” Children were also forced to sign their names under an anti-religion banner “Respect science and oppose xie jiao.”
Kindergarten children perform in a program to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party: