New Chinese broadcast rules ban dissent and religion

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TWH – The Chinese government has issued new rules promoting “advanced socialist culture” that restrict religion and target criminalized religious movements that include folk religion practices.

As The Wild Hunt previously reported, in recent years Chinese authorities have purged the influence of popular religion, which it calls xie jiao, sometimes translated as “evil cults” or “destructive cults”. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) determines only which religious organizations and practices constitute xie jiao, often subsequently dehumanizing followers of a religious group. The CCP noted in its slogan that followers must be “totally eradicated like tumors.”

Headquarters of the Islamic Association of China, the state-controlled organization that controls the practice of Islam in China [Wwbread, Wikimedia Commons, CC 3.0]

Earlier this year, the CCP opportunistically used a Dragon Boat Festival celebration to warn elderly residents of the dangers of illegal religious activities and other factions infiltrating their “folk religion” into Chinese society.

At the end of July, the Chinese government join his list of xie jiao with a document titled “alert! alert! alert! These are sects →. The list includes Christian and Buddhist organizations, as well as those that use the practice of Qigong and “organizations that misuse the name of Buddhism, namely ‘Guanyin Dharma’, ‘Lingxian Zhen Buddhist Sect’, ‘Yuandun Dharma’ and ‘Hua Zang Sect.’ “

Qigong or “life energy cultivation” is a spiritual and physical practice to coordinate the flow of energy through the body and promote balance.

The Guanyin Dharma Method promotes a position that “vegetarian food saves the Earth” and further asserts that at the end of 2007, “due to the warming of the earth and the increase of toxic gases in the seabed, two-thirds of the people of the world must eat vegetarian food to save the Earth.

Early last month, the CCP released its final draft “Provisions on the Administration of Production and Exploitation of Online Radio, Television and Audiovisual Programs” for public comment. The law applies to all “online radio, television and audio-visual program programming,” which Chinese President Xi Jinping called “chaotic” and not fully controlled by the CCP.

The new provisions “will promote the prosperity and development of the online radio, television and audiovisual program production industry, and meet the spiritual and cultural needs of the people”.

The new law reaffirms a clear line on the practice of religion in China, which had been relatively laissez-faire until 2016, when President Xi described a vision of the “management” of religion and what he called the “sinicization” of religious practice. President Xi called on CCP members to be atheists and “love the country, support the CCP leadership, support the socialist system, abide by the Constitution, laws, regulations and statutes, practice socialist core values, support the religious principle of China’s independence and self-reliance”. -determination, support the Chinese policy of sinification of religion, support national unification, ethnic solidarity, religious harmony and social stability.

The “sinicization” of religious practice can include not only doctrinal and practical changes, but also a redesign of physical structures. Just this week, there were several reports that Arabic-style mosques across China were being or had already been modified by the Office of the Leading Group for the Rectification of Arabic-style Mosques. Sinicization involves remove features such as domes and Moorish arches as well as the realignment of Muslim holidays to depict “happy uyghursas they did on Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

The new law contains a long list of prohibited content:

(A) violating the fundamental principles established by the Constitution, inciting resistance or undermining the application of the Constitution, laws and regulations, distorting and negating advanced socialist culture;

(B) endanger national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, reveal state secrets, endanger national security, undermine national dignity, honor and interests, promote the terrorism, extremism, nihilism;

(C) denigrating China’s excellent traditional culture, inciting ethnic hatred, ethnic discrimination, violating national customs and practices, distorting national history or national historical figures, hurting national feelings and undermining the national unity;

(D) distort, slander, profane or deny revolutionary culture, or the deeds and spirit of heroic martyrs;

(E) being contrary to national religious policy, or promoting xie jiao and superstitions;

(F) endanger social morality, disrupt social order, undermine social stability”

The law also prevents foreigners from producing content for broadcast in China and limits the development of broadcast content to an authorized minority of companies.

The magazine bitter winter further notes that “the usual formula excludes religion, since it refers to ‘national religious policy’ which prohibits religious activity and information through any media unless expressly authorized, while any non-negative reference to groups banned as xie jiao or the very broad domain of “superstition” is prohibited.

Ancestor veneration and the presence of temples housing Chinese deities and emperors are of great importance in some parts of China. It remains to be seen how the new law will impact these representations of daily life in the Chinese media.

What is clear is that the final element of the new law which prohibits “endangering social morality, disturbing social order, undermining social stability” is largely designed to inhibit dissent and criticism. of the existing political power structure in China.

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