Major Chinese media outlets reported on Feb. 14 that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rolled out a new policy to revive traditional Chinese culture by 2025. However, the policy was criticized by media and China commentators who accuse the regime of using traditional culture as a facade for its own political gain, while destroying its essence.
The newly issued policy, called “Major National Policy of the State Council: Comprehensive Rejuvenation of Traditional Culture by 2025,” reiterates a policy from a similar document issued in 2017. The new policy requests all levels of the CCP to support traditional culture. It declares that China will “rejuvenate traditional culture in an all-around way by 2025.” The CCP is also requiring the implementation of the so-called “Chinese Traditional Festival Revitalization Project” in the policy.
Hu Ping, honorary editor-in-chief of Beijing Spring, a popular China-based political magazine, told Radio Free Asia that the CCP was initially established on the basis of opposing traditional culture. The CCP is a political group that is the most hostile toward traditional Chinese culture, Hu said.
He cited the example of the CCP’s destruction of temples dedicated to Confucius. Structures dedicated to worshipping Confucius and other sages in Confucianism were built in various regions of China since the fifth century. But they were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, which was a mass anti-cultural political movement launched by then-Communist Party leader Mao Zedong. The Cultural Revolution lasted for 10 years (1966-1976) with countless artifacts, architecture, and antiques destroyed, and tens of millions of people persecuted to death.
“Therefore, it is a huge irony in itself that the Communist Party now plays a role of inheriting and carrying forward traditional culture,” Hu said.
Hu believes that the CCP’s new policy is merely a propaganda slogan, using the “symbols” of Chinese traditional culture as its facade while destroying the most precious soul and essence of Chinese traditional culture.
As widely reported, China has recently been aggressively repairing traditional Buddhist and Taoist temples, Hu said. But in actuality, it controls and suppresses traditional religious activities more severely. It does not truly respect religious freedom and what it expresses on the surface completely contradicts what it is actually doing, he added.
China-based independent media commentator Wu Te told The Epoch Times on Feb. 16 that the CCP’s purpose is not to revive traditional culture, but to “promote its own agenda under the guise of reviving traditional culture.”
Wu said that communism has gone bankrupt and cannot attract believers. In recent years, China’s economic development has stagnated and the CCP is facing a crisis of legitimacy. Therefore, the CCP has turned to using “nationalism and traditional culture” to deceive people.
He pointed out, “If the CCP really cares about the protection of traditional culture, it will not harass Shen Yun performances overseas, nor will it suppress traditional religious beliefs such as Buddhism and Taoism in China.”
Shen Yun is a performing arts group that seeks to revive traditional Chinese culture through music and dance. The independent company is based in New York and tours all over the world every year.
Shen Yun has drawn the ire of the Chinese regime over its depiction of scenes exposing the persecution of spiritual group Falun Gong on stage. Since 1999, adherents of Falun Gong have been subject to Beijing’s sweeping campaign to eradicate the practice, involving arbitrary detention, forced labor, brainwashing, torture, and even death.
Beijing often pressures theaters and governments around the world to pull the show, and has occasionally succeeded.
Chinese internet writer Jing Chu told The Epoch Times that this new policy shows that communism is completely bankrupt and that the CCP cannot sustain its grip over people. Therefore, the CCP tries to use different methods to maintain its regime. It wants to find “ideological resources with Chinese characteristics” from traditional Chinese culture, he said.
Jing pointed out that communism is totally at odds with traditional Chinese culture. Confucianism teaches “benevolence, justice, courtesy, wisdom, and trust,” as the basic ethics of mankind; while the CCP speaks of “fighting against the heavens, the earth, and others for endless joy” (Mao’s famous slogan).
Luo Ya and Zhang Dun contributed to this report.