As atheism loses its appeal, the party cracks down on Christians and others
If you believe in God, you will face the consequences. That was the message Chinese Communist Party leaders have issued to its rank and file members, reports Radio Free Asia.
In an article published over the weekend in the newsletter of the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), religious believers within the party ranks were said to be “attracting serious concern.”
"The fact that a small number of party members have forsaken the party’s world view of dialectical materialism and have turned to religion is now attracting serious concern, to the extent that it now falls within the purview of disciplinary work," the article, published on Sunday, said.
"Marx himself stated baldly that communism, in essence, begins with atheism," the China Discipline Inspection Report article said.
"There can be no doubt about the fact that the founding ideological principle that Communist Party members cannot be religious believers has been upheld by our party from the outset," the paper said.
Beijing Protestant house church member Xu Younghai told Radio Fee Asia that the article reflects the party’s belief that many have lost faith in communism.
"Many of them went on to find an authentic faith, and became Protestant Christians," he said. "Back in the 1990s, a lot of people wanted to leave the party, but later on they found that they couldn’t."
"Either they weren’t allowed to, or it was made very difficult for them, so that’s why we now have this problem," Xu said, adding: "Genuine believers in communism are few and far between, nowadays."
In recent months China has witnessed a crackdown on Christians. Authorities in the eastern city of Wenzhou have routinely demolished churches across the city, which is home to an estimated one million Christian Chinese
The US State Department’s religious freedom report found that Chinese authorities restrict the activities of independent Catholics, Tibetan Buddhists, and Uyghur Muslims as well as Protestant groups.