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China tightens regulations that forces religious groups to conform to Communist Party principles

EPA-EFE//ROMAN PILIPEY
Christmas Eve Mass at the Xishiku Catholic Church in Beijing, December 24, 2019.

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The Chinese government plans to introduce new provisions on all religious groups, organisations, and events that would restrict their freedom to worship if they do not adhere to the ideological teachings of the Chinese Communist Party.
The new rules will come into force in early February and will determine specific rules that require all religious activities to be approved by the Office for Religious Affairs. According to local media, the new law, called “the Administrative Measures for Religious Groups,” will consist of six chapters and 41 articles that will give Communist Party officials complete control over all of the country’s religious groups and their activities.
Article 5 of the new regulation states that religious organisations must follow the directions of the leadership of the Party as well as comply, and not dissent, with all government decrees and policies. It also requires church leaders or religious personnel to spread the ideology and values ​​of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as support the Communist political system and help “build Chinese socialism”.
The new law also stipulates that all faith groups in China must remove the display of religious images and symbols and replace them with quotes and portraits of President Xi Jinping.
The new measures also require religious leaders to create a “training system” that educates workers about the principles of the Chinese Communist Party and also requires government agencies to be involved in the selection of religious leaders.
The Chinese government is constantly trying to control and exert pressure on various religious groups existing in the country. The Uyghurs, the indigenous, ethnic Turkic-speaking Muslim population of Xinjiang Province, have been forced into concentration camps in recent years.  Activists and human rights groups have accused China of trying to erase Uyghur language, culture and religion, forcing them to give up Muslim traditions and beliefs.
Since August 2019, over 100 churches have been shut down by the government in the Archdiocese of Fuzhou, in southeastern China. The repression began after only five members of the clergy took part in a “training conference” organised by the United Front Work Department and the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau.

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