Chinese Christians have expressed their concern after the Chinese government announced it will soon require all religious personnel of any faith to support total submission to the Chinese Communist Party.
Asia News reports that the new administrative measures will be put in place for all Chinese religious groups starting Feb. 1. The measures complete the "Regulations on religious affairs" revised two years ago and implemented on Feb. 1, 2018.
Under the new measures which consist of six chapters and 41 articles dealing with everything involving religious communities – from gatherings to annual and daily projects – are subject to the approval of the government's religious affairs department. All religious personnel will also be required to support, promote and implement total submission to the Chinese Communist Party among all of the members of their faith communities.
All religious organizations will be under the leadership of the Communist Party.
According to article 5 of the regulations: "Religious organizations must adhere to the leadership of the Communist Party of China, abide by the Constitution, laws, regulations, rules, and policies, adhere to the principle of independence and self-government, adhere to the direction of China's religion, implement the core values of socialism, and maintain national unity and national unity, religious harmony and social stability."
In addition, religious groups will be responsible for spreading the doctrine of the Communist Party.
Article 17 reads: "Religious organizations must spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as national laws, regulations, rules to religious personnel and religious citizens, educating religious personnel and religious citizens to support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, supporting the socialist system, adhering to and following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics …"
If religious organizations do not get approval from the government or register with the government, no religious activities will be allowed.
International Christian Concern, a persecution watchdog group, warns "with these latest measures in place, the government will use them as a legal tool to further tighten space for religious groups."
"In practice, your religion no longer matters, if you are Buddhist, or Taoist, or Muslim, or Christian: the only religion allowed is faith in the Chinese Communist Party," a Chinese Catholic priest told Asia News.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government has announced it will rewrite the Bible and the Quran to "reflect socialist values."
New editions of the two books will not contain any content that goes against the beliefs of the Communist Party, according to The Daily Mail. Anything found to be wrong by party officials will be changed or re-translated.
Although the Bible and the Quran were not named specifically, the Communist Party called for a 'comprehensive evaluation of the existing religious classics aiming at contents which do not conform to the progress of the times' at a meeting in November of the committee which oversees ethnic and religious organizations in China.
A group of 16 representatives from different religions attended the conference according to the Xinhua News Agency.
At the conference, a government official told the representatives their organizations must follow President Xi's instructions and interpret the ideologies of different religions in accordance with 'the core values of Socialism' and 'the requirements of the era', French newspaper Le Figaro reported.