On Brainwashing

In China, indoctrination of the youth begins very early. At age 6, young kids are given their first Chinese Reader to learn the vast collection of characters, poems and proverbs that make up the Chinese language. The book begins with a small rhyme about flowers and their need for the sunshine, then goes into the people and their need to deeply love the Communist Party as an analogous sentence. Important vocab includes:

Re Ai: literally Hot Love
Gong Chan Dang: Communist Party
Hua: Flower
Yang Guang: Sunshine

Later, most children read the story of San Mao, one of the hundreds of thousands of street urchins and orphans that crowded the streets of many a Chinese city right after Japan’s surrender and before the final victory of the Communist Party over the Nationalist Party in 1949.

In the first chapter of this book, published in 1959, the trials and struggles of San Mao and his street brothers are listed: starvation, freezing, no shelter, no family, short-hard lives ahead of them.

The landlords scorned them. The Nationalists, described as Guo Ming Dang Fan Dong Pai — which means “the Nationalist Reactionary Group” (students of Communism will recognize the belief in the inevitability of the Socialist Utopia) — are primarily to blame for their plight, through mismanagement, corruption and callous disregard for the People in general.

And the American Devils “wu yuan wu gu da si tamen” which means beat them (the orphans) to death without rhyme or reason.

The book is actually a collection of comic-book style depictions of the orphans and the capitalist pigs, foreign devils and anti-Revolution traitors who torment them. The Communist Party and Mao Zi Dong are the saviors of the orphans …

It goes on. In Middle school there is Si Xiang Ping De class, which translates into Philosophical Tenets or Moral and Philosophical Laws … Students love this class because it does not count toward their final grade and there is no homework. Its only purpose is to indoctrinate the children in Communist Party Thought. There is little mention of the great Chinese philosophers, unless something they wrote blends well with the Communist Party Rhetoric.

In high school and university, there are the Deng Xiao Ping Theory and Mao Zi Dong Important Thought classes. Similar to Si Xiang Ping De except more focused on the individuals who exemplify the Communist Rhetoric.

At work, most Dan Wei (work units) are ruled over by the Party Secretary of that particular company, area or office. There are regular meetings that deal with what is and is not correct according to the Party and what Important Campaigns are currently underway.

In the Tibetan regions for example and in those regions that border them, like Chengdu, Party members were instructed to go into every monastery, every Tibetan area and begin wholesale, hardcore re-education. This involves having Tibetans break, spit on and denounce pictures of the Dalai Lama, mass arrests, beatings and criticism sessions and, most horrifying, a call for all of the People to keep their eyes open for suspicious characters and report them to the relevant authorities.

It is the Cultural Revolution of the New Millenium. The Party is so terrified of the future … it truly is fitting that in China, the land with the most amazing and glaring contradictions I have ever witnessed, the Ruling Elite will be most terrified during their most dramatic moment of triumph.

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Sascha Matuszak

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