The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is going through a survival crisis as Chinese society is waking up to its incorrect repression policies, censorship, economic and social inequality, and strict covid-19 protocols, among others.
As of 2014, around 90,000 riots occurred in China, officially described as “mass incidents.” This number has been on the rise since then, according to Eurozine.
According to BBC, thousands of protests are held in China each year, mainly against corruption, state pollution, and land grabbing.
Also, according to the BBC in Henan province, citizens protested when the Covid application mistakenly reported that several people had the virus. Although it was a lie, they were banned from public transportation, retail stores, and banks and forced to quarantine themselves.
For these reasons, CCP officials are trying to get the people of China to trust them again and are looking for new strategies to survive and remain in power.
Since 2018, the Chinese regime has been implementing a new plan, “Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era.” It is a plan that attempts to showcase the regime’s generosity by forming volunteer groups that work to boost solidarity, instill good habits, and improve citizens’ behavior so that their loyalty to the CCP comes from their “spirit and heart,” China File reported.
For example, in the town of Longli, in Guizhou province, a group of volunteers has been set up to sing hymns to the CCP and call themselves Pure Folklore; they go door to door to teach neighbors how to save money and how to reduce excessive spending. Other volunteer groups help low-income people, clean up neighborhoods, and care for children and the elderly who are left alone when the head of the family works.
These subtle indoctrination units are called Practice Centers for New Age Civilization and emerged in 2018 through the General Office of the Party Central Committee.
In 2019, the Central Guidance Commission on Spiritual Civilization Construction, a CCP institution for the “ideological, moral and cultural” progress of the people, built these Centers in 500 provinces or counties. In November 2021, Party propaganda chief Huang Kunming called for further nationwide construction of centers.
Xinjiang built 2000 centers distributed in neighborhoods, farms, army regiments, and companies. In Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, they reached almost 3000 centers, about one every half kilometer.
In Binhai New Area, Tianjin District, the Centers are engaged in organizing lectures and theoretical discussion forums on “The History of Materialism and the Historiography of Marxism.” In Beijing’s Haidian District, young Party members and volunteers offer “Micro Party Classes” online and through virtual reality technology.
However, these Centers help the CCP to carry out strict social control. For example, this is the case in Guangzhou, where its Centers organize surveillance protocols called network management.
Police then have access to direct information about residents. But they also get data from Internet users, and even their cell phones that run facial scans for secure identification of neighbors, reported Freedom House.org.
This way, electronic surveillance is complemented by monitoring volunteers in centers such as Xinjiang. In addition, Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups are monitored and taken to labor or re-education camps.
On the other hand, the Centers above are a form of control that directly intrudes into the internal functions of civil and religious organizations. In addition, they have the mission to investigate and monitor, for example, religious leaders and Falun Gong practitioners.
The Yinliu City New Age Civilization Practice Centers in Tianjin use “Codes of Conduct,” i.e., the controversial Social Credit System, a point system. People receive or lose points according to their “love for the Party and country, respect for their elders and family, hard work and thrift.” According to China File, they can then spend their points at the “Points Supermarket” by buying discounted laundry detergent, among other products and services.
Officials in more than 300 unique localities and institutions across the country spent more than $110 million on projects related to building, provisioning, or operating New Era Civilization Practice Centers between August 2018 and September 2021.
In 2019, the CCP urged to recruit 13% of residents in each province to participate as volunteers. These citizens are under the supervision of local Party cadres to perform their duties.
The CCP considers it essential to impart “civilization” (wenming, 文明) for “long-term regime stability, and for self-control and state control,” says Carolyn Cartier, professor of International Studies and Global Societies at the University of Technology, Sydney.
But, apparently, the Centers for Civilization especially give life to the country’s controversial Social Credit system, which combines surveillance and the “more civilized behavior” of the individual, without resorting to repression to “maintain stability” in society.
The CCP supposedly created the Social Credit system to have a “Harmonious Socialist Society.” The scoring systems are supposed to increase citizens’ confidence, Eurozine reported.
But all these small party units that try to increase the enthusiasm and trust of the Chinese society in the regime are nothing more than a disguise to persuade the citizens. The CCP needs them for survival, and it seems that this strategy is the last play for the atheist regime to survive and stay in power.