China strengthens efforts to adapt religions to local culture, society

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/29 20:23:40

Local governments around China have been regulating and managing illegal religious activities, including in rural areas, as the country steps up efforts to better combine religions with Chinese society.

The united front work department of Central China's Hunan Province and the province's committee on ethnic and religious affairs will inspect and regulate religions at the grass-roots level, the Hunan Daily reported on Wednesday.

They vowed to be firm to rectify pressing problems on religions, and will prevent overseas interference. For example, they will resolve the over-commercialization of Buddhism and Taoism, such as illegally building monasteries and religious statues, the report said.

Hunan Daily reported that the province will also promote the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the national flag and anthem, national policies and outstanding Chinese culture at religious venues.

Religious groups have also been asked to show "positive energy" by participating in charities, and providing disaster and poverty relief.

Local authorities in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality and North China's Hebei Province have also vowed to strengthen religion management.

"We should lift the work level on religions in the new area," Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, wrote in an article in the Qiushi Journal, a bi-monthly periodical published by the CPC Central Committee.

Religious freedom does not mean zero management on religious issues, while management does not mean zero respect for religious believers, Wang said.

"We always attach great importance to instructions on religious issues," a government employee surnamed Han from the committee of ethnic and religious affairs in Nanyang, Central China's Henan Province told the Global Times.

He denied that the committee received reports from lower-level departments on cracking down on crosses, as overseas media have reported.

Yan Kejia, director of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Religious Studies, told the Global Times  that in order for religions to develop, they must blend in with local culture and society.

The aim of the country's management of religions is to make religions play a positive role in society, he said.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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