01/02/2012, 00.00
CHINA

Hu Jintao’s cultural war against the West (and Christianity)

China’s president, who also heads the Communist Party, rails against “hostile” powers who want to “westernise” and divide the country. The struggle includes opposition to Christian “cultural infiltrations” since christianity is viewed as the “essence of Western culture”. Thus, media controls must be tightened.
Beijing (AsiaNews) – Chinese President Hu Jintao has warned that "hostile" powers are seeking to "westernise" the country. Despite its status as an important world power, China “soft power” is weak, with Beijing incapable of influencing the world. For this reason, it must take “powerful measures” to stop Western cultural colonisation. Hu's remarks were published in the latest edition of Communist Party magazine Qiu Shi (Seeking the Truth).

For some analysts, Hu’s words are throwback to old Maoist slogans. Others are saying that the struggle against “hostile” powers include Christianity and Catholicism. "Hostile international powers are strengthening their efforts to Westernise and divide us," Hu wrote in the article, also highlighted in Xinhua, noting that "ideological and cultural fields" are their main targets.

"We must be aware of the seriousness and complexity of the struggles and take powerful measures to prevent and deal with them,” he explained, because "The overall strength of Chinese culture and its international influence is not commensurate with China's international status”. At the same time, China must undertake greater efforts to develop Chinese culture to meet the "growing spiritual and cultural demands of the people" in China.

Sources told AsiaNews that the Qiu Shi article comes from a speech Hu delivered in October to the Central Committee of the Communist Party (see “Economy and Maoist slogans at the CP Central Committee,” in AsiaNews, 14 October 2011).

According to them, the unpublished sections of the speech dealt with the fight against Christian “cultural infiltrations”. For China’s rulers, Christianity is seen as “the essence of Western culture”.

It is no accident “that an attack by Zhu Weiqun, deputy chairman of the United Front, against Christianity and the Catholic Church was also published in Qiu Shi. Zhu attacked religious conversions by members of the Communist Party (see Bernardo Cervellera, “Get behind me Satan": No religion for the Chinese Communist Party members,” in AsiaNews, 20 December 2011), and has strong words against the Catholic Church and Christianity for present and past deeds.

“Zhu interpreted Hu’s thoughts and made them public,” the sources told AsiaNews. “How could someone like Zhu, who is the vice chairman of the United Front, dare tell party members what to do?” they ask. “That is something only the party’s general secretary or his delegates can do.”

As part of its “cultural war” to nationalise culture, the Communist Party wants to enforce tighter control on the Internet, blogs, newspapers and TV.
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