Chinese Communists Advise Belief in Marx and Lenin, Not ‘Ghosts and Gods’

A decorative plate featuring an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping is seen in front of Chinese flags at a souvenir store next to Tiananmen Square in Beijing on February 27, 2018. China's propaganda machine kicked into overdrive on February 27 to defend the Communist Party's move to scrap term …
GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images

China’s effort to subjugate religion and firmly establish the primacy of Communist doctrine has already oppressed Christians and marched Muslims into concentration camps. The Party took aim at traditional Chinese superstition this week, strongly advising citizens to put their faith in Marxism and the writings of President Xi Jinping instead of spirits and hexes.

The Communist Party issued a long-winded statement on Wednesday that included a passage deriding superstition and religion:

Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology of our party and country. Xi Jinping’s socialist thought with Chinese characteristics in the new era is contemporary Chinese Marxism and 21st century Marxism.

It is the action guide for the whole Party and the people to strive for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It is a powerful ideological weapon that has been tested by practice and has great practical power. It must be persisted in and developed continuously for a long time.

We should further study Xi Jinping’s socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics in the new era, strengthen ideological and political education, promote learning and education to go deep, heart-to-heart and truth-to-reality, and truly achieve a profound understanding of learning, integration and integrity, and consolidate the common ideological basis for the unity and struggle of the whole Party and the whole nation.

We must firm our ideals and beliefs, firmly establish the lofty ideal of communism and the common ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics, uphold the spiritual backbone of Communists, resolutely prevent people from believing in ghosts and gods, truth and money, and resolutely oppose all kinds of erroneous ideas that distort, tamper with and deny Marxism.

We should firmly believe that socialism with Chinese characteristics is the dialectical unity of the theoretical logic of scientific socialism and the historical logic of China’s social development, the fundamental direction of China’s development and progress, and the only way to build a well-off society in an all-around way, a socialist modernization power in an all-around way, and a great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The Communists might have been a bit too honest in resolving to prevent people from believing in “truth and money,” not to mention hypocritical, since high-ranking Chinese Communists seem to believe in money quite passionately. The Chinese government as a whole is enthusiastically using big money to purchase influence around the world.

Incidentally, the Communist Party statement effusively praises “socialism” in many passages, which might be irritating for those who prefer to believe socialism has nothing to do with communism or Marxism. The world’s leading loud and proud Marxists certainly seem to think it does.

Picking on mere superstition might seem obsessive, but there have actually been some scandals involving the occult, including a high-ranking security official who was jailed for life in 2015 because he allegedly divulged state secrets to a fortune teller. The fortune teller, who boasted an impressive roster of celebrity and official clients, got seven years.

Chinese folklore includes many superstitions related to dates, numbers, colors, and other factors, their number multiplied by the many regional subcultures and religious traditions that came together to form modern China. Many marketing and travel guides have been written to advise outsiders on how to avoid superstitious taboos.

To some extent, the Chinese Communist Party’s jeremiad against superstition could be seen as practical advice for interfacing more smoothly with foreign contacts as China’s global business ambitions grow, but as the Party made clear in its statement, the primary motivation is to diminish or erase belief in everything other than Party doctrine and its latest revision, “Xi Jinping Thought.”

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