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By Joshua Gill
The Chinese government banned religion for all members of the Communist Party of China, and threatened to punish those who show any support for religion.
Every one of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) nearly 90 million members must not only disavow any personal religious beliefs, but must also refuse to support religious activities for any reason, even for the benefit of China, according to Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA).
“Party members should be firm Marxist atheists, obey Party rules and stick to the Party’s faith … they are not allowed to seek value and belief in religion,” Wang wrote, according to Global Times.
“Religions should be sinicized (made Chinese in character or form)… We should guide religious groups and individuals with socialist core values and excellent traditional Chinese culture and support religious groups to dig into their doctrines to find parts that are beneficial to social harmony and development,” Wang added.
Wang asserted that foreign religions, such as Christianity and Islam, have been used to further political beliefs contrary to those of China’s ruling communist party, and therefore must be regulated and made to conform, for “national security and social stability.”
Wang’s permanent ban on religion for CPC members, while new, conforms exactly to the rules of the party, which has investigated and expelled high ranking members for religious belief or support of religion in the past. While China’s constitution guarantees some degree of religious freedom, it makes no guarantee that a person may freely practice their faith, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
China has tried to route out Islam in Xinjiang, China’s largest province, and has heavily persecuted Christians who do not conform to CPC practices, in some cases secretly imprisoning them. CPC members believe Xinjiang, among other autonomous regions, requires even more work to be made to conform to Wang’s mandate, Su Wei, professor of the Party School of the CPC Chongqing Committee, told the Global Times.