Party members told to give up religion for Party unity or face punishment

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/18 21:53:40

The head of China's top religious affairs regulator said that Party members should not seek value and faith in religion, and that those who have religious beliefs should be persuaded to give them up, with experts saying this is meant to maintain Party unity.

"Party members should not have religious beliefs, which is a red line for all members … 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," Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) wrote in an article released in the Qiushi Journal on Saturday, the flagship magazine of the CPC Central Committee.

Officials who have religious faith should be persuaded to give it up, and those who resist would be punished by the Party organization, Wang wrote.

He added that Party members are also forbidden from supporting or getting involved in religious affairs in the name of developing the economy or diversifying culture.

"It is important that Wang constantly reminds Party members not to have religious beliefs. Some people who claim to be scholars support religious beliefs in the Party, which has undermined the Party's values based on dialectical materialism," Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the Ethnic and Religious Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Once the Party's values are damaged, Party unity as well as the Party's basic policy to regulate religions would be sabotaged, Zhu said.

Wang also stressed the need for a firm political direction in managing religious affairs. "Religions should be sinicized … We should guide religious groups and individuals with socialist core values and excellent traditional Chinese culture and support religious groups to dig into their doctrines to find parts that are beneficial to social harmony and development," Wang wrote.

"Some foreign forces have used religion to infiltrate China, and extremism and illegal religious activities are spreading in some places, which have threatened national security and social stability," Wang added.

"Guiding religions to suit to China's development is a core policy to solve China's religious problems. The moves evolve with traditional Chinese values over years and meet the demand of socialist development," Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Chongqing Committee, told the Global Times.

Some foreign forces have used religions, including Christianity and Islam, two non-local religions, to deliberately spread their political views in China, Su said, adding that some religious doctrines shall be adjusted to match Chinese ethics and customs.

Su also noted that the regulation banning Party members from having religious beliefs would be permanent, but may involve more work in Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Gansu Province as well as Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

Posted in: POLITICS

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