The Chinese Communist Party is “serious” about continuing to control religion in the country, according to China’s official newspaper on religious issues.
Zhongguo Mingzu Bao has reported that President Xi Jinping is aiming to intensify controls over the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations during the Communist Party’s upcoming summit on religion.
Chinese authorities want to minimise foreign influence on religions being practised in the country. ALthough the newspaper report does not mention any religions by name, it alludes to church, clergy and dioceses, an apparent reference to the Catholic Church and other Christian churches, UCANews has reported.
"It's obvious that control on religions is to be tightened," a priest, who identified himself as Father Peter, told UCANews.com. "It was theory and slogans in the past. Now it becomes a real game to play."
The article was posted on the newspaper's social media site, with the headline referring to Xi by his nickname "Xi Dada."
Citing Xi's speech at the central United Front Work Department meeting in May, the article said the president has stated very clearly that all religions must adapt to socialist policy. It is "a common principle for all religions to comply with" since Communist China was founded in 1949, it said.
The Chinese government has established patriotic associations for the five religions recognised by the State: Buddhism, Catholicism, Daoism, Islam and Protestantism.
In September, the United Front Work Department, which oversees religion, announced regulations that prevent foreign involvement in China's religious institutions and ban party members from following a faith.
Additional reporting by UCA News