12/02/2004, 00.00
CHINA
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Party's secret directives on how to eradicate religion and ensure the victory of atheism

The Department of Propaganda has prepared a new paper to promote atheism and ban religions and superstitions. It is intended to stop conversions among leading party cadres and youth.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – 'Westernising' and 'disintegrating' trends in the name of religion threaten China and the government must "be patient and meticulous in imperceptibly influencing the people", especially the young and leading party cadres, so as to stop the "growth of religions, cultic organisations and superstitions and strengthen Marxist atheism".

These are the main points presented in a paper prepared by the Department of Propaganda of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to stop the growth of religion and spirituality among the Chinese.

Conversions among the young and leading party cadres are of particular concern. For this reason, the government is particularly interested in exploiting all the means of communication at its disposal, especially Internet, as privileged "tools to conduct Marxist atheism propaganda and education". According to the paper, Internet is a new resource for improving the moral development of the young who are its greatest users in the country.

In a summit on religions held in Beijing in October, the government stressed that, given China's special conditions, it is opposed to "laws based on western mentality". Religious freedom is in this sense a concession of the state, not an innate human right.

The secret paper for party members only was leaked to the West by party members opposed to the government's atheist policies and released to the public by a Canadian Website: The Voice of the Martyrs.

It is divided in eight parts; here's a synopsis by AsiaNews of its main points:

Part one stresses the importance of increasing research, education and distribution of Marxist atheist information in order to stop the growth of cultic organisations and superstitions. 'Westernising' and 'disintegrating' trends in the name of religion are seen as a threat to China; hence, the importance given to the expansion and purity of the CPC and to improving every aspect—spiritual, moral, scientific and cultural—of national life.

Part two explains how to broaden the appeal of Marxist atheism and its goals, especially among the young and leading cadres of the party, who have been rediscovering faith and spirituality

The paper insists on the "need to promote the development of every individual in terms of the needs of the people". Propaganda and education are key elements requiring "patient and meticulous efforts to imperceptibly influence the people, above all the young and leading party cadres".

Part three emphasises the goals of Marxist propaganda. There is an absolute need to "eliminate fatuity (i.e. weakness or imbecility of mind) and superstitions" and replaced them with the norms and dogmas of "scientific thought".

The people must be helped to recognise "the general process and rule of the development of human society" so that it can "voluntarily and firmly stick to the historical view of Marxist materialism."

Reaching this goal means educating people in the "natural sciences" so that they can have "the basic knowledge about life, [. . .] the universe, the origin of life, the rule on human evolution, and correctly deal with various natural phenomena, natural disasters, birth, aging, disease and death."

The paper stresses the importance of good health and healthy bodies which must be promoted by helping people "acquire the habit of good behaviour, and scientifically and reasonably conduct of physical exercises, health care, living, sightseeing, recreation and entertainment." Health care, sports and leisure must find inspiration in Marxist atheism and follow the practical directives of party members.

Integrating Marxism in the education system is the main focus of part four. This is to be achieved through Deng Xiaoping's four standards, namely ideals, morals, knowledge and discipline.

The paper reiterates the party's absolute monopoly over education and the need to "stick to the principle of separation of national education and religion [and] integrate Marxist atheism propaganda and education into the syllabi of the course of political theory".

Part five explains how to integrate Marxist doctrine in everyday spiritual activities. Marxism must permeate all activities in everyone's life so as "to change old habits into new ones, conducting people's cultural and sports activities, satisfying people's spiritual and cultural demands, [and] popularising knowledge on laws, rules and regulations".

Media are dealt with in part six. Television, radio and newspapers represent important channels through which "Marxist atheism propaganda and education can be conducted". Internet is particularly prized as a new frontier from where to broaden the appeal of Marxist culture. "We shall enrich," the paper says, "the pages and sections related to morals of some key websites, strengthen the instruction and management over online comments, and make Internet a new tool to conduct Marxist atheism propaganda and education."

Part seven is dedicated to integrating Marxist atheism research, as a key subject, into the social science. Superstition, pseudoscience and cults are harmful and must be removed from the minds of leading party cadres and the young. This will be done by strengthening Marxist atheism departments, training of talented people, running well atheism research institutions and related departments in colleges and universities.

Lastly, part eight highlights the importance of spreading Marxism in order strengthen the power of the party leadership. Party members, especially leading party cadres, must boost "the party culture continuously, firmly hold a materialist worldview, and voluntarily set an example in studying and disseminating Marxist atheism" among the people. (DS)

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