An Analysis of the Propaganda of Hu Jintao's Religious Policy in English Version

China Aid Association
An Analysis of the Propaganda of Hu
Jintao’s Religious Policy in English Versi

—Response to the plenary collective study session on religion in the
politburo of the Communist Party of China on Dec. 28 of 2007

Caleb   Wang 01/02/2007

           Recently, through Googling the
English key words of “Hu stresses full implementation of free religious
policy”, you may find abundant links related to the news in an English
version about the plenary collective study session on religion in the politburo
of the Communist Party of China held by Chairman Hu Jintao in Beijing on Dec.
28 of 2007. Xinhua News website, the official Chinese government news agency, which
is also called ” mouth piece” of Chinese Communist Party, stands as the top
one. The second news link is the website of People’s Daily, the third one Chinese
Embassy website in US, and the fourth one the official Tibet website of China. The news on
the links used the same Xinhuang version with the title “Hu stresses full implementation
of free religious policy” and the first sentence as the argument: “Chinese
President Hu Jintao on Wednesday reiterated a policy of free religious belief
while stressing law-abiding management on religious affairs and support to
self-governance of religious groups”. The interesting thing is, if we compare
the English version with the Chinese version of the news from Xinhua News website
and other Chinese websites, we can find out they are quite different in the
title, the first sentence, tone and the main
argument. Besides, the great difference is that in the English version, it adds
the word “free” in the title and the first sentence. The news used the word
“free” and “freedom” four times in the English version in the outline, but only
once in the Chinese version in the sub-position under one paragraph.

         The title in the Chinese version is “Hu
Jintao stresses full implementation of the Party’s essential religious and
actively doing a good job on religious affairs in the new situation (???:?????????? ??????????) .” The first sentence is “Hu stresses, to
fulfill our goal of development, we must unite all the powers we can unite and
activate all the positive factors we can activate (??????????????????????????????????????????????).” Then
he talked about how the government should do a good job on religious affairs in
the new situations with new problems. In the later part of the news, it
mentioned that Hu “reiterated a policy of free religious belief while stressing
law-abiding management on religious affairs and support to self-governance of
religious groups” in a sub-position of the paragraph. In the English version it
has more content such as: “The CPC is atheistic but allows freedom of religious
beliefs. China
is home to 100 million religious faithful, largely Buddhists, Taoists, Christians,
Catholics and Islamites.”

         Through the different titles, the
first sentence, paragraph, and the different order of the contents, plus the
different words, readers can get a dramatically different impression from the
two versions because of the different wording in translation.  In Hu’s
three point teachings or guiding principles for this study session in the Chinese
version, the first one emphasized “to insist and continue the Party’s essential
policy on religious affairs (???????????????).” The second one is “to enforce
the managing work on the religious masses (???????????).”  The third one is “to enforce the construction of the
religious workers team (???????????????).” In the Chinese version, the
main argument of the news and the meeting is to insist or continue the
Party’s existing essential religious policy which they call “free religious
policy”. It mentions the Chinese word “insist ( ??)” ten times, but not once in the English version.
For example, it stresses an insistence on Marxism, the theory of Deng Xiaoping
and Three Represents Theory of Jiang Zemin, the subjection of religious masses
to the Party and the Chinese socialist system (it means the Communism system)
as the principles of the religious policy. The Party repeated that kind of “free
religious policy” often in propaganda in the last six decades. But through
reading the English version, the readers are easily led to a conclusion that
the Party’s new policy stresses religious freedom under legal protection. The
English version especially mentioned “At the 17th CPC National Congress ending
in late October, the Party for the first time in its history has mentioned the
word ‘religion’ in an amendment to its Constitution,”, but in the Chinese
version, there are no such words or meaning of “for the first time in its
history” (because the Chinese readers know the
Party’s history well). That is why some English readers got the impression of a
new trend and hopeful change in this study meeting related to the religious
policy. For example, see the Milan
(Asia News) quoted by Angelo Lazzarotto (
        However, by using the word “new ( ?)” in the Chinese
version eleven times, for example, it mentioned “new situation (???)” six times, and the participation of
specialists in Christianity who were invited to the meeting,  (one of them
has a good reputation in the Western world) we can be sure of some new
information in this meeting and in the news but surely not new information or
policy for more religious freedom. What then is new? In my article (in Chinese
version, 12/23/2007;
), I analyzed the “new information” without any new policy in the meeting and
the news. Many people in the world especially in the media know that 2007 was
the worst year in the last two decades for Christianity in China because
of the mass arrests and large scale persecution targeting the House Church
Movement. The December 17, 2007 article in the Times online version definitely
made Hu and his government very nervous, due to the fear of the Western “masses”
knowing of the religious persecutions in China in the year of
the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. (,8599,1695279,00.html?xid=feed-cnn-world
). Hu Jintao swiftly held the Party’s study meeting for religious policy on the
next day. Then on the 19th, all the news in both languages flooded search engines
with “free religious policy” as key words in the English version. The Chinese
government is trying to make the English world, especially the American people,
(not the American government because it knows all  to well of the persecutions in China) to believe
that they want to give their own people, including minorities, religious
freedom and this was a new beginning for just that. The Chinese government
wants to use this news and all other propaganda, to convince the American
people to vote “rightly” and to influence the American presidential candidates
to speak “rightly” about China
in the 2008 election year. The propaganda and the English translations might

     Yet the questions still beg to be asked: If Hu and the CPC
really meant more religious freedom, why do the nationwide persecutions continue
so harshly? Why did so many Christians arrested in 2007 spend Christmas and New
Year’s Day in prison, especially after the 17th CPC National Congress met to
discuss religious freedom? Why are so many more Christians still in detention
and labor camps today, including the two well known Christian leaders, Mr.
Zhou-Heng (Urumqi) and Mr. Tian Jin (Sichuan). (Zhou-Heng was
mentioned in the article in the Times online version.) The answers are yet to
be seen.

The links of the news in English
The links of the news in Chinese

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected] 

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