ISSN 2330-717X

China: New Signs Of Increased State Control Over Religion

By

The Chinese Communist Party is sending signals that it will intensify control over the Catholic Church and other religions during its upcoming summit on religion, the first such meeting during the three-year leadership of Xi Jinping.

Zhongguo Mingzu Bao, the official newspaper on religious issues, noted in an Oct. 8 commentary that Xi is “serious” on religion.

Though the article did not specify individual religions, it alluded to church, clergy and dioceses, an apparent reference to the Catholic Church and other Christian churches.

The article implied that Xi is seeking to minimize foreign influence on Chinese institutions, saying that all religions should be managed by religious organizations from within China. “There is no need for certain groups and individuals outside China to worry about this,” it said.

“It’s obvious that control on religions is to be tightened,” a priest, who identified himself as Father Peter, told ucanews.com. “It was theory and slogans in the past. Now it becomes a real game to play.”

The article was posted on the newspaper’s social media site, with the headline referring to Xi by his nickname “Xi Dada.”

Citing Xi’s speech at the central United Front Work Department meeting in May, the article said the president has stated very clearly that all religions must adapt to socialist policy. It is “a common principle for all religions to comply with” since Communist China was founded in 1949, it said.

The Chinese government has established patriotic associations for all five recognized religions — Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism, Islam and Protestantism.

The Vatican has objected to China’s control over church operations, in particular the appointment of bishops and administrative boundaries of dioceses.

In September, the United Front Work Department, which oversees religion, announced new regulations that prevent foreign involvement in China’s religious institutions and ban party members from following a faith.

UCAN

UCAN

The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.