Local Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leaders inaugurated a new “anti-Cult Disneyland” in eastern China last week as part of a campaign targeting religious minorities, Bitter Winter reported Monday.
“[O]n December 14, the local CCP leaders were in Qiantang New District in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, for a special festive celebration. They inaugurated a ‘rule of law and anti-xie-jiao theme park,'” according to the human rights magazine.
“Anti-xie-jiao” translates roughly to “anti-evil cult” in English. However, as Bitter Winter noted, “since the words ‘xie jiao‘ have existed in China for centuries before the notion of ‘cult’ emerged in the West, the translation is somewhat anachronistic. A better rendering would be ‘heterodox teachings,’ and ‘heterodox’ has always been intended as something the [Chinese] government, for whatever reason, does not approve of.”
The Communist Party has designed the theme parks “to influence visitors into consciously resisting the harm of xie jiao, and advocating the rule of law.” Referring to the parks as “Disneylands,” the CCP uses Communist propaganda and “education on the rule of law,” to persuade visitors against what it considers “evil [religious] cults,” namely The Church of Almighty God and Falun Gong.
In Hangzhou’s new “anti-xie-jiao” theme park, visitors encounter “cartoons, artistic representations, educational programs, and even meet ‘characters’ teaching them the ugliness of the xie jiao and the beauty of [Chinese leader] Xi Jinping’s rule of law. 10,000 visitors are expected within the next few weeks, or so the CCP says,” Bitter Winter reported.
China’s officially atheist Communist Party allows just a handful of religions to operate in the country, including Catholicism and “Christianity,” which it refers to as the “Patriotic Three-Self Church.” The Chinese government also ostensibly tolerates Taoism, Buddhism, and Islam. In practice, the CCP actively discourages any religious worship by creating hostile conditions for people of faith throughout the country. The CCP has increasingly targeted Christians, in particular, in its ongoing crackdown on religious groups.
Anti-religious cult theme parks are “proliferating” throughout eastern China, according to Bitter Winter.
Jiaojiang District in China’s Zhejiang Province opened an “anti-xie-jiao” park in October that boasts “a daily flow of thousands of people,” according to CCP media. Hefei, in China’s Anhui province, opened such a park in November.
“Liuhe District in Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, [has] had a large similar park of 60,000 square meters since November 2017,” according to the report.
“Jiangsu Province also hosts another large ‘rule of law and anti-xie-jiao theme park’ in Huaiyin, which claimed to have received 30,000 visitors in its first six months. In the same province, yet another such theme park is in Luoshe Town, Huishan District,” Bitter Winter added.
Some of the theme parks are more elaborate than others. While a few include “large structures, others [consist] only [of] sets of posters placed in pre-existing parks or residential districts. The CCP claims that each park combines anti-xie-jiao propaganda “with fitness and leisure.”