patriotic covenants


patriotic covenants
Patriotic covenants are mandatory pledges of support for CCP rule by all of the patriotic religious organizations. The practice of signing patriotic covenants was inaugurated during the early 1950s in an attempt to rally popular support for the new regime. Numerous covenants were formulated. Some were intended for the entire population, seeking popular pledges of support for Chairman Mao, the Communist Party, the Central People’s Government, and the People’s Liberation Army. Others were formulated to elicit support from target populations, such as religious groups. For example, leaders of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) drew up a ‘Christian Manifesto’ in May 1950 which called on China’s Protestants to recognize ‘the evils that have been wrought in China by imperialism’ and that ‘imperialism has made use of Christianity’, and called on grassroots congregations to ‘purge imperialistic influences from within Christianity itself’ (Founding Group of the Three-Self Movement 1951). Activists within the TSPM launched a nationwide campaign to obtain the signatures of all of China’s Protestants endorsing the Manifesto.
In the reform period, patriotic covenants have been enshrined in the state’s regulations on religion and incorporated as core principles of the patriotic religious organizations. The State Council’s Document 6 (1991) requires religious professionals to ‘accept Party leadership’ and to ‘constantly educate their religious staff in patriotism, socialism, and the policy on current developments’ (see religious policies of the state). The constitutions of the patriotic religious organizations mirror these sentiments. For example, the TSPM’s constitution reads:
The purpose of the TSPM is to unite all Protestants in China under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the People’s Government, to love our socialist motherland, [and] to abide by our country’s constitution, laws, regulations, and policies.
(2000). Constitution of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China (2 January 1997). Chinese Law and Government 33.6:37.
Founding Group of the Three-Self Movement (1951). ‘Direction of Endeavor for Chinese Christianity in the Construction of New China’. In F.Jones (ed.) (1963), Documents of the Three-Self Movement: Source Materials for the Study of the Protestant Church in Communist China. New York: National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, 19–20.
JASON KINDOPP

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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