Party members sign pledge to shun religion

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/23 21:18:39

Party members in a Muslim-majority region of Northwest China signed an atheism pledge on Friday, a practice officials said could reflect their devotion to the pursuit of Marxist purity.

Top regional officials and Party members of the general office of the Party committee of Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province signed the commitment at a Party meeting, according to a Saturday report on chinalxnet.com, a news website under the Communist Party of China (CPC) committee of Linxia.

All Party members should firmly obey the Party Constitution and be Marxist atheists, observe their commitment to not believe in any religion in order to maintain the purity and progressive nature of Party membership, prefecture Party chief Yang Yuanzhong said at the meeting.

The notice "Party members sign a commitment to not harbor religious beliefs" was released by the committee of discipline inspection and supervision, organization department and united front work department under the Party committee of Linxia, according to the report.

In ethnic minority regions, many Party members grow up in religious families and are influenced by their environment, Xiong Kunxin, a professor of ethnic studies at Beijing's Minzu University of China, told the Global Times.

"There are some Party members who are atheists in public but who harbor religious sentiments in private," Xiong said.

It was a serious pledge, he noted, that restricted Party members by requiring they prove by their behavior they are true Communists without any religious beliefs.

Linxia, with a population of about 2 million, is sometimes dubbed "China's Mecca" as more than half of the residents are Muslims, the Xinhua News Agency reported in 2015.

In the last two years, Party members have signed pledges in Jiaozuo city of Henan Province, Linzhi county of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region and the Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Hubei Province.

"Party members should not have religious beliefs, which is a red line for all members," Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, wrote in a July 2017 article released in the Qiushi Journal, the flagship magazine of the CPC Central Committee. "Party members should be firm Marxist atheists, obey Party rules and stick to the Party's faith… They are not allowed to seek value and belief in religion."

Officials of faith should be persuaded to quit and those who resist will be punished by the Party organization, Wang wrote.

The Chinese government is officially atheist. Members of the ruling Communist Party of China are not allowed to practice religion but China protects ordinary residents who want to practice their faith.



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