While protests on school reforms continue, the authorities launch a “Prevention of Xie Jiao Propaganda Month,” and claim that banned religious groups are threatening the region’s stability.
by Massimo Introvigne
Inner Mongolia, which local Mongols prefer to call Southern Mongolia, is making headline news throughout the world because of the protests against the school reform making Chinese the main language in the region, and confining Mongolian to a marginal role. The CCP is reacting to the protests with a severe crackdown. It also does something it usually does in crisis situations. It blames problems and instability on xie jiao, a term translated by the CCP itself as “evil cults” but meaning in fact “heterodox teachings,” and used to label banned religious movements such as Falun Gong and The Church of Almighty God.
On August 28, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Anti-Xie-Jiao Association launched throughout the region the “Prevention of Xie Jiao Propaganda Month,” through an event in the prefecture-level city of Höhhot (perhaps chosen because it has a large majority of Han Chinese). The anti-xie-jiao month was started by pressing buttons on a strange-looking orb.
Zhao Jianmin, Secretary General of the Anti-Xie-Jiao Association, stated in his opening speech that “the struggle against the xie jiao is a contest between justice and evil, and it is a political struggle to consolidate political power and maintain stability in the frontier.” Obviously, he added that the anti-xie-jiao propaganda month “should be guided by Xi Jinping’s thought for the new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, thoroughly implement the spirit of the CCP Central Committee’s instructions on the prevention and control of the new coronavirus epidemic, and target cult organizations using the new coronavirus epidemic to create various rumors and disrupt society.”
Until September 28, events will be organized, and banners and brochures distributed, teaching “all ethnic groups in Inner Mongolia to guard against cults, and make positive contributions to building a safe and stable barrier at the motherland’s northern borders.” It is an interesting combination of the fight against so-called separatism, against any criticism about how CCP managed the COVID-19 epidemic—and against the xie jiao, that the Party uses as a convenient scapegoat for all its problems.