40 years after the founding of the Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics, it is possible to decipher the goal and the objectives that the leaders of the CCP had set and hoped to achieve through its creation.
The Chinese Communist Party (continued)
2. Communism: a new type of faith
In the first half of the 20th century, China was shaken by terrible political and social upheavals. The Qing dynasty prostrated itself in the new century, mainly due to the inability of its institutions to adapt to modernity; its history will end in a dramatic way in 1911, with the definitive fall of the Empire.
The republican regime did not have much better luck in improving the lot of institutions and citizens. The political front quickly disintegrates into a mosaic of “warlords”, effective masters of parcels of territory. The internal political explosion is at the same time confronted with the reinforcement of the very close Japanese neighbor which very quickly invades Chinese territory.
The temporary truce to deal with the common enemy broke down long before Japan’s collapse: the ruling faction, the Kuomintang, unable to deal in a coordinated and intelligent way with the country’s serious problems, collapsed irreparably. This allowed the opposition to organize on the basis of the discontent that permeated people’s lives.
These, poorly informed of events, ignorant of power games but “losers” each time in all the games played by those who claimed to dominate the political field, were above all eager to survive and obtain decent living conditions. . In the late 1940s, very few Chinese remember experiencing a period of relative peace and tranquility.
“Victory” over the common enemy has proven incapable of satisfying the aspirations of the people. The great satisfaction of seeing the foreigner (Japan and Western nations) outside national borders has been replaced by a concern: the search for something that can “transcend divergent interests, demand undivided national devotion, and which can offer action capable of to catalyze attention. It was the need of individuals and of the nation.
But this pole of attraction “could not develop within the traditional theistic religions which were no longer able to guide individuals and the nation”. These no longer served the people to avert the calamities that befell them and which they could not understand, nor to provide the intellectual class with motivation and direction.
What the Father of the Fatherland, Sun Yat-sen, proclaimed has proven true: “China urgently needs ideology. An ideology would inspire faith and faith would engender strength; a collective force, so essential in times of national crisis. For him, the ideology of his “Three Principles” defined in Canton in 1924 (nationalism, democracy and well-being of the people), was sufficient.
After the end of World War II, the Communist Party presented itself to the nation as Sun Yat-sen’s most authentic heir. His credentials were constituted by victory over the nationalist armies of the former government and by the firm will to attack the two main aspirations of the Chinese nation: material progress and the restoration of national pride by the reconquest of the respect on the international scene.
From the previous century, the political weakness of the country and the material backwardness of the people had been constantly singled out as being the main reasons for China’s inferiority in the modern world. The Party that emerged victorious from the revolution has set itself the goal of restoring strength and well-being to China and the Chinese.
3. Party policy towards theistic religions
“Communism’s position with respect to theistic religions is that of one creed meeting another creed.” CK Yang continues: “Since faith is always radical, the relationship between different faiths implies reciprocal exclusion. Between mutually exclusive organisms there can be no reciprocal tolerance, only conflict.
From pre-revolutionary times to the most recent official pronouncements, the Beijing regime has consistently claimed that theistic religions are the product of ignorance and failure to understand the world in which we live. With the progress of the revolution, the expansion of science and the political liberation of the masses, religions are inevitably destined to become historical waste.
This same concept appears unchanged in the first writings of one of the founders of the Chinese Communist Party, Chen Duxiu (1879-1942), until the documents published after the turn taken by Deng Xiaoping. Pragmatic considerations discourage the elimination of religion by force.
But they did not completely prevent it, especially but not exclusively during “the years of the great catastrophe”, as a document (1981) of the Central Committee of the Party calls the “Great proletarian cultural revolution” (1966-1976). But any religion in China that attempts to resist or pose an obstacle to the Party will be violently suppressed.
In 1960, CK Yang wrote that “the only organized religion by which the Chinese communist regime feels threatened is Christianity, and more particularly the Catholic Church, because of its links with Western powers”. At the end of the century, this affirmation appears retrospectively in all the tragedy of its truth.
In any case, the policy of tolerance coupled with the policy of subordination certainly does not mean the abandonment of the long-term plan for the non-violent elimination of theistic religions. Document No. 19/82 states this openly, in full. The privileged instrument is the monopoly of the education of young people, the preserve of the regime.