People in China are bombarded with atheist propaganda in a variety of forms, as the government seeks to eliminate religion from their lives.
by Yu Shi
China’s totalitarian regime has been fighting for ideological territory with religions by vilifying them through indoctrination and other means to make its citizens pray to the only God – the Communist Party.
And it uses an assortment of tools to achieve this. In the Suiyang district of Shangqiu city in the central province of Henan, every few meters on the so-called Street of Legal Propaganda About Religious Policies, comics on the bans in new Regulations on Religious Affairs are displayed.
In the cartoon dedicated to “opposing foreign religious filtration,” foreigners are portrayed as ugly capitalist exploiters. And the one explaining that “religious groups are forbidden to use depictions of the ban for religious groups to use charity for missionary work,” missionaries are portrayed bribing people to follow them.
Indoctrination disguised as skills classes
In mid-May 2019, Yunyang county in Chongqing, one of the four municipalities directly administered by the central government, launched sewing classes. The courses were not only for free, but participants also received a daily subsidy of 30 RMB (about $ 4). Excited about this opportunity, trainees soon realized that the classes were more about anti-religious propaganda than sewing.
All participants had to disclose their religious status and that of their relatives and friends. They were taught during classes that Christianity, Islam, and some other religions have been brought in from abroad and that the Chinese must not believe in them. Buddhism, according to teachers, is a false religion. Teachers also incited the participants to report believers for monetary rewards.
“There were 20 sewing machines in the training class, most of which didn’t work,” a trainee told Bitter Winter, adding that nobody was allowed to take a day off or quit the course.
In September, the county launched a free “nursing for the elderly” course, during which participants were indoctrinated with atheism, teachers explaining that religion goes against science, and people should believe in it rather than religion.
As the CCP thinks that people are drawn to religion because of spiritual emptiness, they try to keep them away from it by providing more entertainment and vocational courses.
The Compilation of Special Operation Exemplary Cases, issued in Henan Province in July 2018, states that training classes, disguised under various pretexts, like “night school for farmers,” have been organized to study the new Regulations on Religious Affairs.
In early 2019, a county in Henan issued a document, entitled Dealing with Serious Problems of Religious Situation. The decree aims at halting “the spread of Christianity through vast rural areas” through “cultural activities, extensively launching ‘Happy Sundays,’ events promoting culture, science and technology, and health in rural areas, and other activities, to eliminate the influence of religion.”
Touring groups to slander banned religious groups
The banned religious movements that have been included in the CCP’s list of the xie jiao are suppressed especially hard. And systematic propaganda plays an essential role in this process.
In mid-September, counties in Chongqing started various activities to “normalize, standardize, and institutionalize anti-xie jiao undertakings through propaganda in government agencies, villages, communities, schools, and enterprises.” The main goal – “inciting citizens to resist superstitions and religions,” in the name of “the stable political situation.”
Organized groups are touring localities to show skits and lead talks that smear The Church of Almighty God (CAG), the Shouters, Falun Gong, and other religious movements on the xie jiao list.
A resident who has attended one of these activities told Bitter Winter that officials lured people with rewards to answer what a xie jiao is, and gave 5 RMB (about $ 0.7) to everyone who signed pledges not to believe in God.
A city government in Henan issued a confidential document in June 2019, detailing a special operation to suppress the CAG. It demands “to use the internet, TV, and other platforms to broadcast propaganda videos or variety shows” to slander the movement.