Henan Communist Party leaders organize team to police religious activities



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Christian summer camp that was
interrupted by officials in previous
years. (Photo: ChinaAid)
ChinaAid

Updated at 10:10 a.m. on July 31, 2017

(Zhengzhou, Henan—July 26, 2017) Communist Party officials in China’s central Henan province formed a new body of inspectors in order to monitor the “separation of education and religion” throughout the province, beginning Monday.

In a notice dated July 22, 2017, the Henan Provincial Religious Affairs Bureau announced the creation of an inspection team formed in conjunction with the province’s united front work department and charged it with “supervising and examining the enforcement of the ‘separation of education and religion’ in all cities and counties from July 24-26.” Its duties include assessing how those who teach religion and places of religious activity are trained, looking into how Bible studies and summer camps geared towards young adults are handled, investigating the hiring of Muslim imams from other provinces. In order to accomplish these objectives, the inspectors are to read materials and listen to reports of the particular situation, arrange for religious group leaders to meet with religious affairs bureau staff, and travel to places where religious activities are held.

The members of the investigation team will co-operate with local officials to accomplish these goals.

Many Henan Christians have already received copies of the notice.

These actions follow on the heels of an announcement that churches in the province have been forbidden from holding summer camps for children, with authorities alleging that the hot weather posed a health risk. In reality, the government is trying to curb religious affiliation in order to impress the ideology of the Communist Party on its citizens. Such actions are a violation of Article 36 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, which states, “No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.”

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those suffered by Christians in Henan province, in order to stand in solidarity with persecuted Christians and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law.



Notice

This notice, translated at left, announces the
formation of an inspection team charged with
investigating several religious matters.
(Photo: ChinaAid)
According to the instructions of the provincial government, a joint inspectorate has been formed by the provincial united front work department and the provincial religious affairs bureau to supervise and examine the enforcement of “separation of education and religion” in all cities and counties between July 24 and 26:

A. Examination items:

        1. How the “separation of education and religion” training is enforced and its coverage among religious teaching staff and religious activity locations.

        2. The administrations responsible for the hiring of imams from other provinces.

        3. How the summer camps and Bible study classes that involve teenagers and are organized by religious activity locations, as well as illegal underground evangelical events organized by other social or private groups that target teenagers, are checked and dealt with.

B. Examination methods:

        1. Go to religious activity locations in person to understand the situation

        2. Listen to reports, read, and gather related materials

        3. Organize meetings for the religious affairs bureau staff and religious group leaders

C. Members:

        1. Zhang Yong, deputy director, policy and regulation division, provincial religious affairs bureau

        2. Sun Bao’an, political instructor, provincial Buddhist association

Henan Provincial Religious Affairs Bureau

July 22, 2017


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