On February 14, the General Office of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the General Office of China’s State Council issued the “Opinions on the Implementation of the Inheritance and Development Project of China’s Excellent Traditional Culture,” highlighting the need to “rejuvenate China’s traditional culture comprehensively by 2025.” The key tasks include “increasing publicity and education,” displaying the charm of Chinese culture through the Internet and media, promoting “red” tourism, developing education activities surrounding the theme of “loving China,” and fostering patriotism.
The “Opinions” requires the use of overseas Chinese cultural centers and Confucius Institutes to promote the global spread of Chinese traditional culture and strengthen cultural exchanges and cooperation with countries along the “Belt and Road Initiative.” It also encourages developing international trade of cultural products.
Song Yongyi, a historian at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in an interview with Radio Free Asia that the Chinese Communist Party itself is against traditional culture. Song said that Xi Jinping’s idea of the “Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” came from the Tang Dynasty over 1,000 years ago. According to historical records, the government of the Tang Dynasty reaching out to the countries west of China was not done mainly for military purposes, but for economic and cultural exchanges. Song said, “When he (Xi Jinping) went to those (Belt and Road) countries, he occupied their ports and turned them into his military ports to develop his military. This is probably not the case throughout the history of traditional China. He was there to promote his ideology, and promote the so-called ‘China model.'”
The Opinions openly stated that the policy highlights and basic principles for the revival of traditional culture are “to grasp firmly the direction of advanced socialist culture and adhere to guidance that centered on people.”
Hu Ping, editor-in-chief of the U.S. based Chinese language magazine Beijing Spring, said, “He (Xi Jinping) is facing a big problem, because the CCP cut its teeth on opposing traditional culture. The CCP is a political group that has been perhaps the most hostile and most negative toward traditional Chinese culture throughout China’s history. Temples of Confucius are an example. For dynasties and generations, even foreign invaders did not damage the Temples of Confucius, but they were smashed during the Cultural Revolution. Now having the CCP play the role of inheriting and promoting traditional culture is itself a huge irony.”
Hu Ping believes that the CCP will only use it as banner, an “icon” of traditional Chinese culture as a decoration, but it actually castrates the soul and essence of traditional Chinese culture. It has been reported that China has recently been aggressively repairing and renovating Buddhist and Taoist temples. At the same time, its control and suppression of traditional religious activities has been unprecedented. The CCP does not respect religious freedom.
Source: Radio Free Asia, February 16, 2021