"Religious organizations must spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party," new regs say.
A brief notice on the English-language website of China’s official news agency said that the nation’s Religious Affairs Administration has released a set of regulations on the management of religious groups.
“In six chapters and 41 articles, the regulations include content on the organization, functions, supervision and management of religious groups,” the Xinhua agency reported. “They stipulate that religious affairs departments of people’s governments are the administrative bodies of religious groups, and should perform their functions such as guiding and supervising the groups’ operation.”
AsiaNews, however, went into more detail, saying that every aspect of the life of religious communities—such as formation, gatherings and annual and daily projects—is subject to approval by the government’s religious affairs department.
“In addition to widespread control of all community activities, the new measures require religious personnel to support, promote and implement total submission to the Chinese Communist Party among all members of their communities,” AsiaNews said. For example:
Art. 5 states that “religious organizations must adhere to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, observe the constitution, laws, regulations, ordinances and policies, adhere to the principle of independence and self-government, adhere to the directives on religions in China, implementing the values of socialism. … ” Art. 17 demands even more: “Religious organizations must spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as national laws, regulations, rules to religious personnel and religious citizens, educating religious personnel and religious citizens to support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, supporting the socialist system, adhering to and following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. … “
“In practice, your religion no longer matters, if you are Buddhist, or Taoist, or Muslim or Christian: the only religion allowed is faith in the Chinese Communist Party,” an unnamed Chinese Catholic priest commented to AsiaNews.
The regulations take effect February 1. They complete the “Regulations on religious affairs” revised two years ago.