Yang Feng | Bitter Winter
On April 15, Chinese were called to support repression of banned religions, including Falun Gong, The Church of Almighty God, and the Association of Disciples
It was April 15, and at Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications students from several colleges in the municipality had to parade in front of a large billboard and sign their names there. This was National Security Education Day, and they had to sign a pledge to renounce the illegal religious activities of groups labeled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as xie jiao.
It was a scene repeated all over China. In Xinjiang, which one would believe has other problems, police officers mounted an exhibition at Xinjiang University and guided the students through it. In several provinces, the National Security Education Day was celebrated with lectures calling the students to fight against the xie jiao, be alert on the possibility that some on campus may attend illegal religious activities, and report them to the police.
In Chongqing, the main speaker of the day, from the Chongqing Public Security Bureau, connected the ongoing Party History Education campaign and the fight against xie jiao, stating that the same undue curiosity may lead students to illegal religion and to texts on history criticizing the CCP.
At a national level, in preparation for National Security Day, Zhou Qiang, President of the Supreme People’s Court, called xie jiao “a cancer,” mentioned the CCP’s concerns about the success of Falun Gong in catering to those affected by COVID-19, and indicated three main targets: Falun Gong itself, The Church of Almighty God, and the Association of Disciples.
He also indicated that xie jiao collude with Western anti-China forces, and accused the Association of Disciples to “manipulate the elections of rural grassroots organizations in certain places.”
The celebrations for April 15 confirmed the CCP’s obsession for the continued presence of illegal religion in China. While in theory xie jiao are only the groups listed as such, in fact under the banner of the fight against the xie jiao campaigns are organized promoting the repression of all spiritual activity falling outside the five authorized religions.