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Dragon Boat Festival Used for Anti-Religious Propaganda

In Guangzhou, the elderly were “helped” to celebrate the festival and told they should not waste their pension money in illegal religion, xie jiao, or superstition.

By Guo Guo


Filling incense pouch with herbs at the Dagang event for the elderly.

At Dragon Boat Festival, held on June 3, many in China watch dragon boat races and prepare and eat the sticky rice dumplings called zongzi. Travelers who went to Guangzhou, once named Canton, in pre-revolutionary China, marveled at the spectacular Dragon Boat Festivals organized there, and even today the festival is a big event. The elderly, in particular, like the Dragon Boat Festival—and the zongzi.

For the Chinese Communist Party, there are two categories of festivals: those whose celebration is discouraged, including Christmas, and those that are accepted as part of traditional Chinese culture, but turned into an opportunity for propaganda.

In the area of Guangzhou, Dragon Boat Festival 2022 included a campaign targeting the senior citizens and warning them against illegal religion, xie jiao, and superstition. The theme was “protecting your pension money,” which some senior citizens, the CCP claims, waste for making donations to temples or religious organizations, engaging in superstition practices or, worse still, donating to the movements banned as xie jiao.

In the community of Dagang, which is part of the Nansha district of Guangzhou city, an eyewitness told Bitter Winter about the unfolding of the Dragon Boat Festival propaganda campaign. Elderly were gathered and lectured about “guarding their pension money.”

There was some sound advise about frauds perpetrated on the elderly and illegal drugs becoming a problem for them too, but soon the lecture turned to the evil of illegal religion, xie jiao, and “psychic” and superstitious practices, all activities in which the senior citizens may waste their money.

The elderly promised to stay away from “evils.”

To show that the CCP allows traditional Chinese medicine, not to be confused with “superstition,” the elderly were authorized to fill with herbs the incense pouches one wears in the day of the Dragon Boat Festival. Time was also devoted to preparing and eating zongzi.

In the end, the elderly were encouraged to promise that they will stay away from xie jiao, superstition, illegal religion, drugs, and other “evil” activities, and were given leaflets to study at home.


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