We often take our daughter for walks around here because it’s the neighbourhood right next to ours:
This month, the right half of the notice board is filled with what are probably the most colourful and, um, educational propaganda posters we’ve seen so far, compliments of the Tianjin City Anti-Evil Cults Association (天津市反邪教协会) and the Tianjin People’s Government Guarding-Against-and-Dealing-With-the-Evil-Cults-Problem Office (天津人民政府防范和处理邪教问题办公室). Click either picture for a bigger view:
Here’s what the posters say (mouseover the Chinese text to see the pronunciation and definition). Translation corrections welcome.
1. The “Five Musts”
To Guard Against and Resist Evil Cults, Must Do the “Five Musts”
- Must not listen to, not believe, not pass on;
- Must actively report and expose the illegal activities of evil cults;
- Must eliminate superstitious thinking and properly treat ‘the four miseries of human life';
- Must properly treat the bumps in life’s road; strengthen and pursue confidence in a nice life;
- Must establish becoming-rich-with-science-and-technology and becoming-rich-by-one’s-own-efforts thinking; create a nice life with your own two hands.
- [Yellow bubble] “Hold up science, oppose superstition” 崇尚科学，反对迷信
- [Red books] Science 科学
- [Sign board] Little demi-god 小半仙
- [Bad guy speaking] “No one at all believes in computer fortune-telling!”
- [Blue card] ** (name of evil cult/teaching)
- [Woman speaking] “Put your hand and foot down!” “把手脚放下！”
- [Woman’s paper] Divorce 离婚
- [Red book] Law 法律
2. What is an Evil Cult?
Uphold Science, Oppose Evil Cults, Build Harmoniousness Together
What an Evil Cult is 什么是邪教
An evil cult organization fraudulently uses religion, qìgōng or the name of other kinds of established things, deifies the ringleader, exploits and uses methods like creating and spreading superstitious rumours and heresy (etc.) to seduce and deceive people, and to expand control of their members and their illegal harmful-to-society organization.
- [Left] *** / *，*，* (name and slogan of the evil cult)
- [Right] Anti-science, anti-humanity, anti-society (mirrors the evil cult’s slogan) 反科学、反人类、反社会
3. The Characteristics & Dangers of Evil Cults
The Characteristics of Evil Cults 邪教的特征
- Use the pretense of religion and science to concoct sophistry and heresy;
- Deify the gang leaders of evil cults, conduct mind control;
- Establish underground organizations, conduct illegal activities;
- Scam to raise funds by any and all means;
- Oppose the government, look with hatred on society;
- Proclaim that “Doomsday is approaching”.
The Dangers of Evil Cults 邪教的危害
- Incite opposition to the government, harm ‘grass-roots political power';
- Engage in illegal criminal activities, harm society;
- Wreck regular production and living, harm the masses’ mental and physical health;
- Corrode and poison the minds of minors.
- [Speech bubble] I want to reach a higher level! 我要上层次！
- [Blue book] ** (evil cult’s name/teaching)
- [Headband] *，*，* (evil cult’s slogan)
- [Knives] Slaughter children, chop fathers, kill mothers 宰子女，砍父，杀妻
4. Evil Cult’s Scam Tricks
Evil Cults’ Mass Deception Scam Tricks 邪教欺世骗人的伎俩
- Use the pretense of religion or qìgōng to deceive people;
- Use cures and bad luck avoidance to entice people;
- Use all kinds of cheap tricks to frighten people. For example: reading facial features to tell people’s fortunes, deceiving people by pretending there are ghosts, writing characters with ants, making words appear on white paper, doing the Fu talisman trick, smearing eel blood to attract bats, circulating things like poisonous toads;
- Get close to people to rope them in;
- Bribe people with small favours;
- Use violent methods to coerce people.
- [Bottom left] Reading ants 蚂蚁识字
- [Bottle] Honey 蜜
- [Clothes] Divine 神
5. The Main Differences Between Religions & Evil Cults
The Main Differences Between Religions and Evil Cults 宗教与邪教的主要区别
- 1, Our nation’s religions advocate that their believers fit into society, serve society, benefit the people, defend society’s harmoniousness, support the leadership of the Communist Party of China, and support the socialist system. The essence of evil cults is anti-societal; they poison and inflame members to look with hatred on society, they harm society even to the point of having wild political schemes, they agitate for and inflame people to overthrow the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership and the socialist system.
- 2, The things religions believe in and worship are each religion’s specially designated god, which are fixed and don’t change. Religions believe in opposing people who compare themselves to deities and boast about possessing “spiritual powers”. An evil cult, by contrast, worships the founding person himself.
- 3, Our nation’s religions have lawfully registered organizations and activity locations. Religious citizens’ collective religious activities are held at registered religious activity locations.
- Tianjin People’s Government Guarding-Against-and-Dealing-With-the-Evil-Cults-Problem Office 天津人民政府防范和处理邪教问题办公室。
- Tianjin City Anti-Evil Cults Association 天津市反邪教协会。
- Guilty of unpardonable evil 十恶不赦。
- *** (name of the evil cult’s founder)
6. Five Reasons the Common Masses Follow Evil Cults
Five Reasons the Common Masses Mistakenly Enter the Evil Cult Wrong Road
- The first is that when people meet sudden misfortune in life, they have a desperate state of mind toward real life, and evil cults will then enter by taking advantage of this weakness, they will use vague and illusory devious heresy to mislead, and cause people to be taken in and cheated;
- The second is that when people meet special difficulties in life, evil cults will seize the opportunity to show a helping-in-trouble and assisting-the-poor appearance, they’ll use small favours or help in a short-term difficulty, thereby people are filled with thankfulness psychologically and join an evil cult organization;
- The third is when people suffer illness and are unable to get well for a long time and are suffering, evil cults will, by introducing ancient traditional secret recipes and by promoting some kind of qìgōng extra-sensory-perception abilities, lure people into taking the bait;
- The fourth is when people need to make their health and bodies stronger, some evil cults will seize the opportunity to proclaim some qìgōng methods’ mystical capabilities, luring people through group exercise over a long period of time, etc., cause people to unwittingly become members of an evil cult;
- The fifth is the psychology of blindly following. They see the people around them practicing some kind of qìgōng method and they are caused to follow the crowd, the “hurry after the crowd” effect, so they confusedly become members of an evil cult.
7. How to Report an Evil Cult
Methods for Exposing and Reporting the Discovery of Evil Cults’ Illegal and Criminal Activities 发现邪教违法犯罪活动的揭发检举手段
- Report to the lowest-level Party organization. 向基层党政组报告；
- Make the situation known to the local police station. 向派出所反映情况；
- If you meet a public trouble-causing gathering, etc., you can immediately call 110 and report it to the police.
Image: (A man turns over some evil cult materials that he found in his mailbox to the Anti-Evil Cults Committee 反邪教委员会。)
- “The fire-fighters are great!” “消防宫兵们真棒！”
- “Look! As soon as I use my kungfu powers, the fire is extinguished!”
- “You only have to believe our **, and this bracelet is yours.”
- [On clothing] Kingdom of Heaven 天国； *，*，* (evil cult’s slogan)； perfection 圆满； divine 神； look with hatred on society 仇视社会； Doomsday is approaching 末日来临； Reach a higher level 上层次。
- [Underneath] illegal activity 非法活动
- [On clothes] *，*，* (evil cult’s slogan)
- [Papers] Don’t need to take medicine 不用吃药； qìgōng healing 气功治病； use kungfu powers to avoid disaster 发功免灾； divine 神。
- [On building] Local Police Station 派出所
- [Arm band] “On duty” (a member of the Neighbourhood Committee 居委会)
- [On prisoner] “****” (name of the evil cult)
These posters most definitely have a specific “evil cult” in mind; they name it repeatedly in the pictures, just not in the main text. In the picture on the right, this group’s name is written on the “faithful running dog” (忠实走狗) of Uncle Sam (山姆大叔), who isn’t directly named but is clearly insinuated by the tall skinny legs and striped pants. In other words, they’re insinuating that the U.S. uses this group to try and destabilize China.
This group is among the top three most hated/least tolerated groups in China, and were one of the biggest China stories of the 90’s. They’re the people who were outside the Chinese consulate in Vancouver when my parents went to get their visas, who my mom didn’t know about and almost walked in to apply for a Chinese visa with their material in hand (my dad made her leave it in the lobby). I didn’t translate the parts of the posters that identity this group specifically because those terms are just too sensitive for the Chinese internet.
I’m not blogging this for the politics so don’t go writing or linking about them explicitly in the comments. I’m blogging it for the Chinese practice and to show what normal people in one average Tianjin neighbourhood like ours are getting propagandized with (each neighbourhood seems to choose its own posters; I’ve only seen this particular kind of poster in two or three different neighbourhoods; it’s not a city-wide thing). If you want to know more about this particular “evil cult”, read the third chapter of Ian Johnson’s Wild Grass: Three Portraits of Change in Modern China. I do, however, wonder if this kind of “evil cult” rhetoric will begin to appear in the increasingly tense on-going showdown in Beijing. There are alarming similarities between both situations, but also crucial differences.
And if you just can’t get enough of translated propaganda posters, here’s one more: