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Chinese City Guangzhou Offers Rewards for Tip-offs on Religion Crackdown

On March 20, 2019, the Department of Ethnic and Religious Affairs of Guangzhou, a city of 14 million people, which is adjacent to Hong Kong, announced that members of the public could earn up to 10,000 yuan (US$1,500) for providing tip-offs about “illegal religious activities.”

The announcement prohibits anyone from using “religions to carry out activities that undermine the social order, harm the health of citizens, or impede the State’s educational system.”

According to the announcement, the “illegal religious activities” that were targeted include the construction of temples and statues of Buddha, organizing pilgrimages, private Christian gatherings, spreading religion on the Internet, religious training, and the printing of religious publications that the authorities did not approve.

The department’s website said the new reward scheme also has the purpose of “resisting penetration” by foreign countries that use religion to Westernize or divide the Chinese people. “At present, the use of religion for infiltration activities abroad is pervasive and this trend is increasing.”

Further, according to the announcement, “at present, hostile forces and lawless elements carry our many illegal and criminal activities under the banner of religion. These activities undermine the unity of the country and national unity, violate the rights of citizens, and seriously endanger society.”

Department of Ethnic and Religious Affairs of Guangzhou, March 20, 2019

China to Censor TV Programs for Kids

China’s National Radio and Television Administration (NRFT) recently issued the “Regulations on Programs for Minors.” The regulations emphasized that the state supports and encourages the production of programs that “promote socialist core values” and “revolutionary culture and advanced socialist culture.”

The “Regulations” then also included a universal term that minors’ programs must not contain “contents that display violence, blood, terror, and abetting crimes or imparting criminal methods; nor should they contain sexual topics and graphical pictures other than health education.”

NRFT, the state censor, also emphasized that minors’ programs must not contain contents that “distort national history or national historical figures, or that distort, vilify, defame, or deny the deeds and spirit of heroic martyrs.” Nor should they “proclaim, beautify, or worship the countries, events, and characters that launched the war of aggression against China or carried out colonial rule.”

China’s leader Xi Jinping said at a “School Ideological and Political Theory Class Teacher Symposium” on March 18th that, in order to train the next generation that loves the party and loves socialist ideology, one must “start with the schools and start with babies.”

Radio Free Asia quoted from a Chinese student who is pursuing a doctor’s degree in the United States, “In fact, the trend began a long time ago. Kindergarten kids in China have to learn from Xi Jinping’s theory of ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics.’ The Chinese government is comprehensively revising the Chinese language and history textbooks so that they conform to the Communist Party’s political ideology. In the future, the nationwide language and history textbooks will be under the unified control of the government.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, April 3, 2019

Xi Jinping’s Speech Published on Qiushi

On April 1, Qiushi, the official theoretical journal of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, published Xi Jinping’s speech from 2013 given to the new members of the Central Committee, the most powerful 200 some communists in China. Other mouthpiece media such as People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency also carried the speech in high profile.

In the speech, Xi emphasized what the so-called Socialism with Chinese characteristics is. “It is socialism and not other kinds (of “isms”). The basic principles of scientific socialism cannot be lost. If they are lost, it is not socialism.”

Xi also mentioned two historical periods. The first period usually refers to 1949 to 1978, when China was, for the most part, under Mao Zedong’ reign. The second period, 1979 through the present, refers to the post-Mao era of China. “It is necessary to evaluate the historical period before the reform and opening up correctly. (We should) not deny the historical period before the reform and opening up using the historical period afterwards, nor should we use the historical period after the reform and opening up to deny the historical period before the reform and opening up.”

The last section of the speech was on the two ideologies: socialism versus capitalism. “Facts have repeatedly told us that Marx and Engels’ analysis of the basic contradictions in the capitalist society is not outdated. The historical materialistic view that capitalism is inevitably dying and socialism is inevitably winning is not outdated. This is an irreversible general trend in the development of history, but the path is tortuous. The eventual demise of capitalism and the ultimate victory of socialism must be a long historical process. We must profoundly understand the self-adjusting ability of capitalist society, fully estimate the reality of the long-term advantage of Western developed countries in the economy, science, and military, and conscientiously prepare for all aspects of long-term cooperation and battles between the two social systems.”

Source: Qiushi, April 1, 2019

CNA: Retired Military Doctor Called for Vindicating June 4th Student Movement and Insists on Telling the Truth

Taiwan Central News Agency (CNA) reported that Jiang Yanyong, a retired PLA physician, recently sent a letter to Xi Jinping requesting Xi to vindicate the June 4th student movement. In 1989, Jiang participated in the rescue of the victims of the Tiananmen incident and has been supporting the cause since then. During the SARS period in 2003, he was the first one to disclose the serious epidemic in mainland China.

On March 25, Hong Kong Cable i-CABLE News Channel broadcast an exclusive interview with Jiang Yanyong. Jiang called for the Chinese authorities to take the initiative to resolve the June 4th issue, give an accurate assessment of the incident, and minimize the social impact.

Jiang Yanyong is 87-years-old. He was the dean of the General Hospital of the PLA 301. He was forced to retire in 1993 because he refused to support the crackdown involving the Tiananmen incident. Jiang retired as a major general. Along with Bao Tong, the secretary for Zhao Ziyang, Jiang is considered a party liberal. For many years, Jiang Yanyong has written to the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party in a number of different forms, asking to vindicate June 4th. The suspicion is that, as a result, he was barred from leaving the country. However, he still believes that his advocacy is based on respect for human life. In addition to his support for the June 4th movement, Jiang is known for the disclosure of the truth about SARS in Beijing in 2003. It was Jiang’s interview with Time Magazine that forced the Chinese officials to disclose the situation of SARS prevention and control work in China. Jiang told the media that he must speak the truth. Although it is hard to do, after having been through so many political movements in the past fifty years, he must insist on telling the truth.

Source: China News Agency, March 26, 2019

Chinese Football Association Stipulates that Foreign Naturalized Players Must Accept Party Culture Education

On March 29, the Chinese Football Association announced the “Interim Provisions on the Management of Naturalized Players.” The provisions clarified the regulations covering the transfer, registration, participation in games, follow-up services, and management of the naturalized foreign players. The regulations require that naturalized players should accept, “traditional culture education,” understand Chinese history and national conditions, learn Chinese, recognize the national flag and the national emblem, and sing the national anthem. The party organization of the club must also conduct party history and basic education for the players. The club shall appoint a person to be responsible to monitor the players on their opinions, life, training, and playing condition, and submit a written report to the Chinese Football Association every month.

Many Chinese fans have reacted strongly to these regulations. Some have lodged the criticism that the purpose is not to find a player with good technique, but to find player who is obedient. There are also fans who sarcastically said that in order to play football, they must first learn to be a patriotic person who loves the party and they must study politics before they can be naturalized. Some people said that imposing the party organization’s education is indeed a bit overdone.

Source: Voice of America, March 30, 2019

RFA: Tsinghua Law Professor Suspended from Teaching for Openly Criticizing Xi Jinping

Xu Zhangrun, a professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, published a number of articles last year criticizing Xi Jinping’s totalitarian political control and asked the authorities to re-construct the constitution, restore the president’s term limit, and “vindicate the June 4th incident.” Radio Free Asia (RFA) has learned that Professor Xu was recently stripped off all duties, prohibited from teaching and counseling students, and stopped from conducting scientific research activities. The relevant department of Tsinghua University may investigate his visits to Japan and the UK last year.

Xu Zhangrun, 57, is a professor at Tsinghua University Law School, serves as the director of the Center for the Rule of Law and Human Rights at Tsinghua University, and is a special researcher at the Tianze Economic Research Institute. Last year, he criticized Xi Jinping for unconstitutional abolition of the term limit for the presidency. Bao Tong, a Chinese dissident, called on the authorities not to silence Xu Zhangrun.

Currently news of Xu Zhangrun’s dismissal and suspension has been spreading continuously on the Internet. Chinese writer Zhang Yihe is calling for the solidarity of the intellectual community to step up and show support for Professor Xu. RFA stated that due to this sensitive timing before the “June 4th Anniversary,” it can’t be ruled out that the intellectuals in China could take joint action on the incident.

Source: Radio Free Asia, March 25, 2019