New Chinese Decree Tells Religious Leaders to ‘Support the Communist Party’ 

The Chinese government is implementing a new decree on May 1 that will require all religious leaders to “follow the lead of and support the Communist Party.”The decree, “FILE – Uyghurs and other members of the faithful walk under an arch with security cameras as they leave after prayers at the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in western China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, April 19, 2021.The USCIRF said the Sinicization effort particularly targets Christians, Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists because the Chinese government believes these groups maintain foreign connections. The USCIRF reported continuing use by the Chinese government of advanced technology to monitor, track and control religious minorities such as the FILE – Chinese acolytes pray during a Holy Saturday Mass on the evening before Easter at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a government-sanctioned Catholic church in Beijing, March 31, 2018.Fenggang Yang, a sociology professor at Purdue University who oversees the Center on Religion and the Global East, said that China’s religious policy has changed significantly in the last two or three years to further limit the freedom of religious professionals.“In principle, the Chinese Communist Party adheres to Marxism-Leninism, which includes atheism,” Yang told VOA Mandarin. “There are logical problems when the Chinese authorities require religious professionals to embrace the Communist Party and atheism for their leadership or domination.”Yang said that any religion introduced to a new country would adapt to the local sociopolitical system and culture, but in China people must beware of religion being manipulated by the CCP as a tool to further its own ends.Xu, who has been tried, detained and denied his state pension because of his faith,  said religious professionals and believers were “not afraid of crackdowns. … We will still be able to serve the Lord, and we’re very confident about that.”Adrianna Zhang and Mo Yu contributed to this report.

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