CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 10 November 2018

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Foreign powers warned to stay out of religion

HONG KONG (UCAN): Parroting the tired old line, Wang Zuo’an, the deputy minister of the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), insisted that China’s religious affairs cannot be dominated by any foreign powers.
 
In an article published in the Party journal, Qiushi, on August 17, Wang who is also director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, stressed six points: adhering to guidance of religion; the direction of Sinicisation; building a positive and healthy religious relationship; maintaining the rule of law to promote religious work; supporting the religious community to strengthen its own construction; and strengthening the party’s centralised and unified leadership over religious work.
 
He said Sinicisation was an important task, of which the most fundamental was that “the religious world must support the leadership of the CCP” and that it should guide all religions to have political consciousness, cultural integration and social adaption to Chinese socialism, “actively resisting foreign infiltration via religions and resolutely curbing the influence of foreign religious extreme thoughts.”
 
Wang believed the relationship between the state and the Church was at the core. He added that it was important to uphold the party’s leadership, consolidate its ruling status, adhere to the separation of politics and religion, keep religion separate from administration, justice and education and adhere to the government’s management of religious affairs involving the public interest of the state and society.
 
He also reiterated that all Chinese religions should adhere to the principle of independence and self-management, emphasising that “China’s religion does not have affiliation with foreign religions and our religious groups and religious affairs are not dominated by any foreign powers.”
 
Wang said the revised regulations on religious affairs, which took effect on February 2, would be made into laws and ordinances in due course.
 
He also reiterated that talent cultivation was a key issue in religious work. It was necessary to adhere to the standard of “politically reliable, religiously accomplished, morally convincing and critical” people.
 
Wang said the United Front Work Department would manage religious work, while party and government departments, trade unions, the Communist Youth League, Women’s Federation and other social organisations had to cooperate closely. 

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