Wishing you a glorious, harmonized, stabilized, socially managed, brazenly co-opted, painfully sycophantic, obligatorily WORSHIPFUL, kowtowing Chinese Communist Party Day

July 1st is CanadaChinese Communist Party Day! And what could be more appropriate than a little translated propaganda? It just so happens that the most galling bit of propaganda I’ve ever seen in our few years in China coincides with the CCP’s 90th birthday. After reading it, you’ll lose control of your adjectives, too.

Below is my abridged version of this English translation of this Chinese article from the official CCC/TSPM website.

I wish I was making this up. As if helping the police bully detained worshipers wasn’t enough…

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Beijing Municipal Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee and China Christian Council Hold a Praise Concert to Celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Founding of the Chinese Communist Party
北京市基督教两会举办庆祝建党90周年音乐赞美

On June 11, the Beijing Municipal Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee and the China Christian Council held a praise concert at the Century Theatre called “One Heart, One Direction” in celebration of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the [Chinese Communist] Party.
[…]
Before the performance started, Cai Kui, chairman of the Beijing Municipal Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee, made these remarks on behalf of the many pastors and lay leaders in the capital. He said: “In the past 90 years, the Chinese Communist Party, while closely uniting people of various nationalities and various walks of life in China, has never stopped caring about and helping Chinese Christianity. Especially since the beginning of the new period [i.e. period of Communist Party rule], with the generous help of the Party and the government, churches have been built everywhere across China and great efforts have been made in training clergymen who actively engage in social work and walk a path compatible with socialism. At the same time that the living and working conditions of the vast number of clergymen have greatly improved, their social status and political treatment have also risen without interruption. Facts have proven that the Chinese Communist Party is sincere in its treatment of and support for the development of Chinese Christianity. And Chinese Christianity has already formed a constant and changeless relationship of co-dependency and mutual aid with the Chinese Communist Party and the Central People’s Government and will always be of one heart and on the same path with the Party and the government. As long as we adhere to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party as we always have, adhere to serving the overall interests of the Party and the government, adhere to the policy of independence and autonomy in religion, adhere to being of one heart with and on the same path as the Party and the government and firmly abide by the Three-Self policy in the road ahead, then we will certainly create a more brilliant tomorrow for China.”
[…]
“Picking a Camellia Flower to Give to the Party” movingly expressed the gratitude of Christians toward the Party and the government for the many years of care and help they have given to Christianity…

The entire performance included both Christian hymns and revolutionary songs praising the Party … all the believers responded with round after round of enthusiastic applause. When the famous singer Liu Bingyi sang, “I Produce Petroleum for the Motherland,” his passionate song not only brought the whole concert to its climax, it also greatly inspired the audience’s love for the Party and the country.
[…]
The theme that was unfurled in this praise concert was that when everything is well with the Communist Party and the state, then everything will be well with the church. [The concert] once again demonstrated the Christians’ true feelings of support for the Party, love for the country and love of their religion, and expressed the eternal theme that Chinese Christianity has always been of one heart with and on the same path as the Chinese Communist Party and the Central People’s Government. In particular, the inscription by Pastor Yu Xinli on the title page of the program all the more expressed the deep gratitude of the many Christians on this 90th birthday of the Chinese Communist Party: “The Chinese Communist Party and the people of China have been of one heart and on the same path for 90 years, and the Party has led us from victory to victory, has brought about the revival of the Chinese nation and our lives are becoming better and better. May God bless our motherland and its people!”
[…]
[The concert] is a profound embodiment of the support of Beijing Christians for the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and their firm adherence to the path of loving their country and loving their religion. It is also a vivid portrayal of the support for and allegiance to the Party and the government on the part of the many Beijing Christians. … This will surely inspire all the Christian clergy of Beijing in their enthusiastic and indefatigable efforts in the construction of a “harmonious society!”

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I’m not the kind of person who takes a hardline black-and-white stance regarding Three-Self churches. And it’s possible this whole event isn’t meant to be taken literally; it could just be a big kowtow, a scripted sop that church leaders put up to please and appease their overlords, a big exercise in obligatory face-giving hierarchy-affirmation, similar to the relationship between illegal migrant street vendors and chéngguǎn (城管), that they are especially obligated to perform right now given the on-going weekly public standoff in Beijing between the authorities and a big TSPM-rejecting church. But with the prime criticism of China’s Three Self churches being that they are politically compromised tools of the explicitly and aggressively atheistic government, this kind of stuff isn’t helping.

Of course, we need to understand this outpouring of religious allegiance to the CCP in the context of what else happening in Beijing right now, i.e. the aforementioned unprecedented weekly showdown between the authorities and a large unregistered church that refuses to join the Three Self and refuses to stop meeting in public. You can catch up on that on-going story here:

You can see all our propaganda-themed stuff here. (Note: the word “propaganda” does not carry negative overtones in Chinese.) And if the original article link breaks, you can download the text and photos here: Chinese Communist Party Worship Service.doc.

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