China tightens control on religious groups

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The new push comes after authorities arrested Christians from the Early Rain Qingcaodi Church in the Sichuanese city of Deyang last month…reports Asian Lite News

China is pushing forward with amending the Chinese Communist Party’s doctrine on the religious policy as it tightens control on religious groups throughout the country, Taiwanese media reported.

According to Taiwan News, a recent report by China Christian Daily covered a two-day conference held in Beijing earlier this month with CCP cadres who insisted on “sinicising religion in China” and prepared a range of new ideological concepts aimed at doing so.

According to the report, the emphasis was also reportedly placed on guiding religion to “adapt to the socialist society.”

The new push comes after authorities arrested Christians from the Early Rain Qingcaodi Church in the Sichuanese city of Deyang last month, according to a ChinaAid report.

Among those rounded up on “fraud,” charges were Church pastors, community leaders, and volunteers.

The church is a faction of the Western China Reformed Presbytery group and has been under pressure from the government for years.

The trouble really began after a former elder in the church signed a joint statement in 2018 calling for the freedom of Christian churches throughout the country.

The statement eventually garnered signatures from over 400 Chinese pastors. Many were later tracked down and faced criminal charges or were jailed, per a Licas report.

In March 2021, provincial authorities in Sichuan put the Early Rain Qingcaodi Church on their blacklist of illegal organizations. Now their leadership has been taken in, the church has been forced to go underground.

Manipulating public perception

China is using films, documentaries and propaganda to distort historical facts and manage public perception.

In the above context, it is important to underline that since the revolution of 1949, China’s film industry has been a fundamental extension of the state. The position of the film industry vis-a-vis the state can be surmised by a famous Chinese proverb ‘anaconda in the chandelier’ which means the giant snake does not move, but everyone in its shadow fears provoking it, according to Policy Research Group (PRG)’s Strategic Insight.

Propaganda is the most effective when people are swayed but believe they arrived there on their own, said the PRG article.

Earlier, China’s mischief is evident in movies like Ace Troops (on China’s war against Vietnam), and the Battle of Lake Changjin (on changing Public Perception on China’s role in North Korea war).

Since the end of the Cold War, China’s State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, and the China Film Group started managing all the components of the movie industry from production, importation, to distribution and exhibition, while they levied heavy taxation on the foreign audio-visual products.

Later, Chinese regulators prohibited foreigners from investing in film distribution companies and theatre chains.

While China aspires to be a Global Power, it still has a long way to in order to play an influential role in the international battle of cultural symbols and to shape the distribution of norms and resources within the global governance of cultural setup and underpinnings, according to PRG’s Strategic Insight.

Earlier, China in recent years has been pursuing its national interests through the manipulative exercise of soft power which has opened another area of its periodical confrontation with other countries. (ANI)

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