CCP issues Administrative Measures for Religious Institutions, effective September 1



Wednesday, May 19, 2021

 


Administrative Measures for Religious Institutions, 
effective on September 1.
(Photo: National Religious Affairs Administration of China)

(Beijing [primarily Hebei Province]—May 19, 2021) On May 1, China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs issued the Administrative Measures for Religious Institutions, effective September 1. 

After the Regulations on Religious Affairs became effective on February 1, 2018, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) added Administrative Measures for Religious Institutions, designed to control religion. These three-prong measures formulated according to relevant articles of the Regulations on Religious Affairs (revised edition), total nine chapters, and 83 articles to:

  • clarify the direction and nature of religious institutions,
  • establish the conditions and standards, and
  • state the relevant requirements needed for applying to establish institutions.

The three-prong administrative measures cover the education and teaching of religious institutions, their opening curriculums, with requirements for aspects of admissions and training. The real rationale ratifying the measures, however, aims to protect the interests of the CCP—not those of religious groups and institutions. 

Article 3 of Administrative Measures for Religious Institutions separates religious institutions into two categories, 1) nationwide, and 2) regional/local. Currently, the CCP strictly controls the number of religious institutions China officially recognizes and includes measures that prohibit any other organizations and individuals from creating religious institutions. Such regulations restrain the autonomy of religious groups regarding admissions and attempt to prevent them from retaining independent management. Authorities' firm administration over religious institutions intends to incorporate the Party's ideology into the foundation of education, transform religious institutions into "Party schools," and turn religious clergy into cadres of the CCP.

Article 4 of the administrative measures asserts that religious institutions serve as essential bases for cultivating a reserve of patriotic religious talents which will correctly interpret religious doctrines and provide training grounds for religious clergy and personnel. Religious institutions should persistently pursue the Sinicization of religion as their primary focus and direction. Guided by the core values of socialism, religious institutions should embody Chinese specialty, as well as train specialized religious talents in accordance with the standards of being politically reliable. These designated talents accomplished in religious studies with upright morals will reportedly earn the admiration of all and should be the standard to follow in critical moments.


The administrative measures also sever cooperation between religious institutions in and outside of China. Article 5 specifies that religious institutions should adhere to principles of independence and self-governance, not be directed by foreign powers and that they must not cooperate with overseas organizations, nor with foreign personnel to manage institutions.


Article 17 stipulates that persons in positions of leadership in religious institutions should be equipped with a supreme level of political thinking/awareness and policy theory. They should also embrace the leadership of the CCP, adopt the socialist system, accept the oversight of the CCP, and adhere to the Sinicization of religion in the education system.


To establish grassroots Party organizations and launch relevant activities, Article 21 states that religious schools should provide conditions necessary for teaching faculty members of the CCP.

The new measures will also implement Xi Jinping's systematic ideology as the goal for education. Article 22 requires that religious schools carry out “Xi Jinping Thought,” denoting a new era of socialist ideological education with Chinese characteristics, patriotic education, core socialist values learning, teaching of the Rule of Law, and persistence in raising the national flag, with singing the national anthem on important occasions.


According to Article 39, religious schools' required courses should include a series of classes on ideological and political theory. The institutions' goals should include learning Xi Jinping Thought. They should implement a new era of socialist ideological education with Chinese characteristics and continue to launch socialist core values education.


In addition, regulations direct that religious schools need to provide their venues for activities of the CCP’s grassroots organizations. This signifies that religious institutions do not have independent ownership of their venues. At any time the Party demands, religious schools must surrender their venues.


CCP authorities have not only utilized but continue to use the Regulations on Religious Affairs Administrative Measures for Religious Personnel, and Administrative Measures for Religious Institutions to try to suffocate religious groups/organizations and force them to forfeit their original purpose for establishing their institutes. The CCP’s enhanced administrative measures with harsh control over religious education will directly, negatively affect the administrative directions of Catholic seminaries and Christian theological colleges China permits to operate. With the new CCP’s administrative measures, authorities may include Bible study courses, as well as other theological training, and relevant events churches launch in their scope of prohibited activities.

Utilizing their three-prong approach, the CCP has attempted to influence the thoughts of Chinese citizens through systematic, atheistic ideology and education for many years. Authorities' current implementation of such a so-called "Rule of Law Bill" only occurs under circumstances where they can safeguard the Party's powers and interests. To some, it may appear that the rationalization and legalization of governing or overseeing religion benefits religiosity. In reality, the introduction of the reportedly “new, improved” Administrative Measures for Religious Institutions will severely violate religious freedom, not only for Christians—but for all.

 

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For the word of the Lord is right, 
And all His work is done in truth.
                                                                                                 ~ Psalm 33:4 (NKJV)



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