About a year ago, just as the Federal Communications Commission was approving applications for Low Power FM construction permits, I wrote up a list of contenders with the most attention grabbing names. These include Bakersfield Burrito, Shaggers, Electron Benders, and Rusting Sprocket Art. But the most intriguing applicant, at least for me, was the Global Service Center for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party.
“Come on,” I thought. “No way a group with that name is actually going to get a LPFM construction permit.”
Oops. Wrong again. It got one in Queens, New York, right smack in the middle of Flushing.
So following my Zǎocān of humble pie and coffee, my next question was, of course, what the heck is the Global Service Center for Quitting the Chinese Communist Party, or [take a deep acronym breath here] GSCQCCP?
Here are the results of my first glance.
The GSCQCCP’s FCC application says that the group’s primary focus will be “promoting the interests and needs of the Chinese language population in Flushing as to issues of concern and an understanding an appreciation of the valuable enhancements and appreciations that inures in the values of traditional Chinese and Western culture.” The organization takes its lineage from The Tuidang Movement (Tuidang is literally shorthand for “withdraw from the Communist Party”). The tendency emerged following the 2004 publication of a series of articles in a Chinese/English newspaper titled “Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party.” These reviewed some of the more catastrophic moments in recent Chinese history, mostly notably the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
“To date,” the document concludes:
“the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] has cracked down on almost all traditional religions and dismantled the traditional value system. The unscrupulous way by which the CCP seizes wealth and deceives people has had a trickle down effect on the entire society, corrupting the entire society and leading its people towards villainy. The CCP, which rules by devious means, also essentially needs a corrupt society as an environment in which to survive. That is why the CCP tries everything it can to drag the people down to its level, attempting to turn the Chinese people into schemers to various degrees. This is how the CCP’s deceitful nature is eradicating the moral foundation that has long sustained the Chinese people.”
As this text suggests, the GSCQCCP has a strong religious outlook. It is tactically and philosophically aligned with the Falun Gong spiritual movement (the newspaper that published the Nine Commentaries was staffed by Falun Gong adherents). Falun Gong is a Dharma Buddhist practice that emphasizes meditation and moral philosophy. In the words of the Falun Gong itself:
“while the Tuidang movement implicitly supports regime change in China, it does not advocate an overthrow of the CCP or a coup, nor does it prescribe specific institutional reforms. Rather, the focus is on a rejection of the culture of violence and duplicity propagated by the CCP and on a revival of virtue to bring about a more just and humane future China. The Tuidang movement is, in many ways, less about political revolution or institutional change and more about a spiritual and ethical revival.”
Like the Jehovah’s Witness movement in the United States and Europe, Falun Gong stresses loyalty to a collective spiritual path over loyalty to the state. So as the Witnesses have gotten into trouble from time to time (especially during wars), so has the Falun Gong. In 1999 the Chinese government launched an extensive crackdown on the religious sect. Following that repression the Falun Gong made extensive efforts to reach out to the west for help. I remember this because I was teaching at UC Riverside in 2000 and suddenly began receiving dozens of emails asking for an endorsement of the Falun Gong human rights campaign.
Sound of Hope
The Falun Gong movement is big on radio stations. We’ve covered its efforts to plant signals along the peripheries of China. Probably on behest of the CCP, Vietnam cracked down on a Falun Gong “Sound of Hope” station in its northern region in 2011. Indonesia did the same around that time. But I’m confident that neither the Federal Communications Commission or the Borough of Queens are going to arrest anybody in relation to the GSCQCCP’s newly won LPFM permit near Great Neck.
So what will this radio station sound like? We’ll have to tune in to see. I assume that the station will encourage Chinese listeners to embrace the Tuidang movements’ “three withdrawals” praxis: leave either the Chinese Communist Party, its Young Pioneers division for children, or the Communist Youth League, or all three entities. I’m also expecting very negative coverage about the CCP, of course.
But beyond that, I’m not sure what to expect. Here’s the response to a Tuidang QA titled “Is the Tuidang a Political Movement”?
“The Tuidang Movement does not fit the form of a typical protest movement. It is distinctly Chinese in nature. There are no visible protests, or high profile calls for change. The Tuidang Movement is a quiet phenomenon, rooted in Chinese intellectual traditions, whose aim is to help individuals find personal peace and liberation.
It does not proscribe what type of governance should be put in place. It begins from the premise that for the nation to be good, people’s hearts need to change and return to goodness. This begins freeing them of their suffering bondage to Communism.
Whatever the future governing institutions of China may look like, the Tuidang Movement will have laid an essential foundation for greater openness and freedom by reinforcing the commitment of tens of millions of Chinese to honesty, fairness, and compassion in daily life.”