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Dhaka Tribune

Video of ‘Sinicized Red Buddhism’ song sparks controversy in China

The video of the performance was widely circulated on the internet, and while some criticized it as a pandering to the CCP and politicization of Buddhism

Update : 28 Jul 2023, 01:10 AM

In recent years, the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) campaign to "Sinicize Buddhism" has led to the dismantling and "remodeling" of numerous Buddhist statues and temples, and the politicization of government-run temples and Buddhist groups. The "Fahua Dojo," a CCP-controlled Buddhist group, has taken this trend further by holding a cultural performance in Beijing to celebrate the 102nd anniversary of the CCP's founding. The performance showcased "Sinicized Red Buddhism," as performers from the Fahua team donned Red Army uniforms and sang a song called the "New Internationale," which replaced the old lyrics with Xi Jinping's "Community of Human Destiny." This apparent attempt to integrate Xi Jinping Thought with Buddhism marks a significant step in the movement of "Sinicization of Buddhism."

The video of the performance was widely circulated on the internet, and while some criticized it as a pandering to the CCP and politicization of Buddhism, even Marxist-Leninist netizens found fault with its inconsistent alignment with Marxist concepts. As a result of the public outcry, the video was swiftly removed from the platform where it was originally posted, and the account responsible for its release was banned.

Venerable Yin Guang, the leader of the Fahua Dojo, has been associated with political opportunism and has openly expressed loyalty to the CCP leadership. However, this high-profile approach has triggered concern and resentment among the Buddhist community regarding the CCP's political infiltration. Even media outlets controlled by the CCP now practice "cold-treating" the Fahua Dojo, limiting its exposure in government-organized Buddhist events.

As Xi Jinping's campaign to Sinicize Buddhism continues, and government-run temples become more involved in political activities, such practices within the Fahua Dojo may become increasingly mainstream in China's Buddhist community. This raises growing concerns about the impact of CCP's political influence on the country's spiritual and cultural aspects of Buddhism.

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