CCP cadres insisted on "sinicising religion in China, dozens of priests belonging to the underground Catholic Church have been arrested by police in mainland China over the last few months to reinforce CCP doctrine on religious policy.
Beijing: China has adopted harsh measures against Catholic churches to sinicise Christians in the country.
Indika Sri Aravinda, a freelance journalist writing in Colombo Gazette, said that the destruction or desecration of Catholic churches and shrines has often been reported from across China, including the provinces of Hebei Henan, Guizhou, Shaanxi and Shandong. Religious activists call all this a part of a plan by the Chinese government to sinicise Christianity. The plan calls for 'retranslating and annotating' the Bible to find commonalities with socialism and establish a 'correct understanding' of the text."
In 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that religions not sufficiently conformed to communist ideals pose a threat to the country's government, and therefore must become more "Chinese-oriented," reported Aravinda. Since he took power, crosses have been removed from an estimated 1,500 church buildings. Restrictions were put in place in February 2018, making it illegal for anyone under age 18 to enter a church building. Though the Chinese Constitution officially guarantees religious freedom, religious groups have to register with the government and are overseen by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Moreover, in a two-day conference held in Beijing in December, CCP cadres insisted on "sinicising religion in China". Emphasis was also reportedly placed on guiding religion to "adapt to the socialist society", reported Colombo Gazette. To reinforce CCP doctrine on religious policy, dozens of priests belonging to the underground Catholic Church have been arrested by police in mainland China over the last few months.
The term underground church refers to Chinese Catholic churches in the People's Republic of China that have chosen not to associate with the state-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, said Aravinda. At least six bishops from the underground church have disappeared, some for more than three years, others for several months, all because they refused to accept the control of the official Catholic Church, the Patriotic Association. Similar pressure is being exerted on underground Catholic families: their children are banned from schools, and their churches are being destroyed.
The US Commission on International Religion had stated in its 2018 report that China "advanced its so-called 'sinicisation' of religion, a far-reaching strategy to control, govern and manipulate all aspects of faith into a socialist mould infused with 'Chinese characteristics'", reported Colombo Gazette.
The Chinese government must realise that it can achieve national unity and integration only by embracing people's diverse religious and cultural significance, and therefore, all possible steps must be taken to protect the rights of the minority community and enable them to live according to their religious traditions, said Aravinda.