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Death of religious freedom as China pressurises churches, mosques to glorify CCP

ANI | Updated: Jul 15, 2021 10:15 IST

Beijing [China], July 15 (ANI): On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on July 1, the Chinese government pressured the churches and mosques to glorify the Communist Party above all.
Jianli Yang, writing in National Review said that to project the image of a unified China, government authorities pressured religious heads across the nation to eulogize the glories of the CCP's ideology and way of life.
Churches were told to display banners with slogans of political ideology, perform the national anthem before singing Christian hymns, and in general demonstrate their loyalty to the CCP above all and only secondarily to the church.
The Chinese authorities are subordinating inner faith in God to ostentatious public displays of faith in the party. The CCP has issued rules covering every aspect of religious life, from the formation of groups to daily activities involving worship and prayer, all of which need to be approved by the communist government, reported National Review.
On February 18, 2020, the Shenyang Religious Affairs Bureau, in Liaoning Province, issued a notice to religious groups in the area specifically stressing the need to advocate Xi Jinping's policies.
On April 14, 2020, the Protestant-affiliated Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) in Fujian Province responded to pressure by calling for posters promoting core socialist values to be installed in all church venues.
Clergy members were told to implant these values in the minds of believers through sermons and Sunday worship services, in order to inculcate devotion to CCP principles in their daily lives, said Jianli.
If the CCP encounters any form of resistance or refusal to help spread government propaganda, local authorities threaten to shut down the churches.
So great is the fear that in a press release on October 1, 2020, the anniversary day of the People's Republic of China, Wang Qingwen, senior pastor in Jinghe New City, Shaanxi Province, called on six Christian churches to adhere to the patriotic teachings of the CCP and promote the sinicization of Christianity, wrote Jianli.

This phenomenon of consistent indoctrination and blatant submission to communist standards is spreading across all religious groups, said Jianli.
Between August 10 and August 16, 2020, the Gansu Provincial United Front Work Department (UFWD) conducted the first round of training for Gansu Province's main Islamic clerics and the directors of the temple-management committees at the Lanzhou Islamic Institute.
UFWD stated that the training was meant for the sinicization of Islam and the promotion of the CCP's principles, Xi Jinping's thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, and the political history, culture, and legacy of the CCP through the lens of patriotic education.
While this process of widening the CCP's reach has been going on for more than a year, on November 1, 2020, China started its seventh national census. As part of the collection of data, China did not hesitate to snoop on its own citizens and extract unauthorized information.
The census takers were instructed to note religious materials and symbols in every household to ascertain if the home was being used as a private religious venue or a place for groups to gather. Residents were warned to stop hosting gatherings of any kind.
In Yantai City, Shandong Province, local police even asked the census takers to report household items with images if they were found to be associated with the Falun Gong Buddhist movement.
In Heze City, Shandong Province, police ordered census takers to report anyone who refused entry to their home, which could indicate it was used for hosting religious gatherings, reported National Review.
Jianli said that though the Chinese remain free to believe privately what they wish, they may preach and worship publicly only as of the CCP dictates.
It seems that while China's religious citizens struggle to focus on leading moral lives, yet after 100 years the CCP's only goals remain domination, control, self-perpetuation, and self-aggrandizement. (ANI)