The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

China’s Experiment with Religion

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on September 29, 2018 03:21

0 user

Xi Jinping’s ruling communist party believed that religion posed a threat to social order. Therefore, the state has to clamp it down and eventually erase its influence on modern Chinese society. Such an experiment will have consequential repercussions in China’s history.

Religion has taken its roots deep in the history of Asia; it has provided peoples across the region their cultural identities. China, for example, has a profoundly religious past, giving birth to Taoism, and embracing Buddhism for centuries. It also welcomed Christianity and Islam in the second half of the first millennium.

But the rise of communism in the 20th century had changed the status and role of religion in Chinese society where efforts had been exerted to eliminate faith and its influence from the lives of ordinary Chinese.

In recent years, China has carried out a systematic removal of its perceived threats, waging a cultural war against faiths and beliefs of various groups including the Tibetans, Uighurs, and Christians. The communist party believed that Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity posed a threat to social order. Therefore, the state has to clamp them down and erase religion and its influence on modern Chinese society, employing a fourfold strategy.

First, weaken the faith community’s moral ascendancy by corrupting its leadership and by installing government-approved religious teachers, preachers, and monks with questionable morals. In its cultural re-appropriation of Buddhism, the communist party filled the Buddhist temples with party-appointed monks as it continued to persecute the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader.

Second, conduct a pseudo-diplomacy with religious leaders. This has been the case in the government’s deceptive dialogue with Tibet’s Buddhists, the cultural integration of Xinjiang’s Muslims, and the diplomatic outreach to the Vatican on the plight of the Chinese Christians.

Third, implement cultural cleansing and re-education campaign among the Uighurs of Xinjiang. Mass re-education and indoctrination camps were set across the country’s northwestern region where over a million ethnic Muslims dubbed as terrorists were detained in those facilities.

And fourth, destroy religious symbols, images, and relics. In Xinxiang city of China’s central Henan province, the government changed the appearances of Christian churches by removing the crosses, replacing them with the Chinese flag and photos of Xi Jinping and Mao Zedong. This happened after China has reached an agreement with the Vatican on the appointment of bishops.

The fundamentally atheistic communist party has sought uniformity and control over every aspect of Chinese life. It demanded loyalty from people despite the differences in political inclinations and religious beliefs, a demand that could cause the life, dignity, and rights of individuals and people groups.

Suppressing groups of people because of their professed faith and cultural identity, however, was not a show of genuine care for the country but a sign of insecurity and fear among the party leadership of the challenges to their power.

While advancements in modern science offered us new ways of seeing reality, the majority of people around the world still hold on to the idea of a supreme being. There must be something in religion that draws people to the mysteries of the unknown which gives them a sense of meaning and purpose in life.

China’s experiment with religion will have consequential repercussions in its history.

Kelvene Requiroso

Posted on September 29, 2018 03:21

Comments

comments powered by Disqus

China Aid's 2016 Annual Persecution Report details a seismic shift in the Chinese government's approach to religious policy...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest