CESNUR - center for studies on new religions

Innocents Abroad: French Anti-Cultists, Mission Support China’s Anti-Cult Campaign

While the U.S. and other governments, mainline churches and international human rights watchdogs are protesting Chinese persecution of religious minorities under the pretext of fighting “evil cults”, the French anti-cult organization CCMM (Center Against Mind Control), the European federation of anti-cult movements FECRIS and the French governmental Mission to Fight Cults (MILS) are actively supporting the Chinese. The internal newsletter of CCMM Regards sur dated November-December 2000 cheerfully reports on an “International Symposium on Destructive Cults” organized in Beijing on November 9-10 2000. Jean-Pierre Bousquet represented both CCMM and FECRIS; the CCMM delegation also included Hayat El Mountacir and Patricia Casano. MILS president Alain Vivien was also in attendance, although “as an observer” and “without speaking”. Regards sur is happy to report that in China “France is often mentioned as an example because of its large and coherent moves against the danger of the cults”. The French were less happy when certain foreign guests “kept mentioning the polemical argument, now even too much well known, connecting religious liberty and immunity for the cults”. China, where believers of all faiths are routinely jailed (and some die in jails in very suspicious circumstances) certainly do not grant “immunity to cults”, “cults” being defined as all religions not regarded as “acceptable” by the government. In fact, the CCMM newsletter notes, “every country is different in its history and traditions; hence we should not stop at defining what a ‘cult’ is but consider how each cult makes a nuisance of itself”. Falun Gong may be a controversial subject, but the fact that the CCMM newsletter simply reproduces two pages of Chinese propaganda about Falun Gong (with no mention whatsoever of scholarship on the matter, or of different points of view) speaks volumes about CCMM’s methods, and how it is ready to support totalitarian regimes of any kind providing that they in turn support the international anti-cult crusade. Ironically, the Chinese article against Falun Gong mentions “brainwashing”, a concept firstly introduced in Cold War anti-Chinese propaganda. CCMM is proud that “the Chinese have told us that they want to create a non-governmental organization with aims and structure similar to CCMM”. Too bad that in the West anti-cultists cannot find governments as determined as the Chinese when it comes to deny “immunity to cults”.
We would like to ask CCMM, FECRIS, and Mr. Vivien who paid their Chinese holiday. If it is the French taxpayers, they deserve to know that their money is spent for financing support of totalitarian persecution of minorities. If it is the Chinese government, the European public opinion in turn deserves to know that supposedly independent anti-cultists are in fact of the payroll of a totalitarian regime.

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