ÁÎ×Ó¹â HenryC.K.Liu ¹ù¤l¥ú
hliu at SPAMmindspring.com
Sun Dec 26 19:39:04 MST 1999
SCMP Monday, December 27, 1999
Party tries to strip millennium language of Christian overtones
JASPER BECKER in Beijing
The Communist Party has issued an edict
banning the most widely used phrase to
describe the year 2000 - qianxi nian - or the
thousand happiness year.
The party has said it is a Christian expression
and has no place in an atheist state.
"We don't use it. There is a party circular
forbidding its use," said a spokesman for the
Year 2000 Committee.
An editorial in the Worker's Daily urged party
members and especially Government organs to
avoid using the expression.
"As a Communist Party member one should
only believe in Marxism and dialectic
materialism and not use terms like thousand
happiness year with a religious connotation.
No one should participate in any celebrations
to greet thousand happiness year which could
affect stability and unity," it said.
However, the phrase "thousand happiness
year" is already being used all over the country
to promote hundreds of products including
computers, lotteries, toys, calendars and cars.
The expression was initially promoted by
Communist Party propaganda to counter
In several programmes Chinese Central
Television used the expression in a bid to allay
fears about the end of the millennium by
giving the start of the new century an
At the Nantang Catholic Church in Beijing,
Father Zhao Jianmin said the expression came
from the Chinese translation of a Latin word,
jubileum, which is being used by Pope in his
appeals for a general amnesty.
In English, it is jubilee, but it originally comes
from Judaism and refers to the festival
celebrated every quarter-century when all
debts owed by the poor are cancelled and an
"Christianity adopted the tradition to promote
forgiveness and reconciliation. That's why
many Western leaders came up with the idea
to exempt the debt of poor countries," said
"It is a religious, not a political term, but I
think it expresses the common wish for
happiness and peace."
The Worker's Daily, citing a dictionary, said
the phrase refers to the Day of Judgment
when Jesus Christ would descend and
establish the kingdom of heaven on earth that
would last 1,000 years.
The newspaper also hinted that the decision to
ban the phrase came directly from President
Jiang Zemin because he insists on another
expression - xinde qiannian - meaning new
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