There is no God but Marx
and Mao is his prophet
(Radio Free Asia) - The ruling Chinese Communist Party has asserted its control over all religious practices among its citizens, suggesting that the Vatican will only have limited control over the Chinese Catholic Church in the event of a bilateral deal on the appointment of bishops.
"Religions in China must be Chinese in orientation and provide active guidance to religions so that they can adapt themselves to the socialist society," reads a white paper on religious affairs published this week.
Religious believers must "be subordinate to and serve the overall interests of the nation and the Chinese people ... and support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party," the white paper said, which includes "integrat[ing] religious teachings and rules with Chinese culture."
On Tuesday, former top religious affairs official Chen Zongrong told a news conference that any potential power-sharing deal between Beijing and the Vatican over the appointment of Chinese Catholic bishops wouldn't affect religious freedom in the country.
China and the Vatican are reportedly close to a deal on bishops, which could bring the country's six million officially sanctioned Catholics back into the Vatican's fold, and legitimize an estimated 10 million Catholics loyal to Rome in the eyes of the Communist Party.
Chen told the news conference: "I disagree with the view that preventing Rome from having full control over the selection of bishops hinders religious freedom ... I believe there is no religion in human society that transcends nations."
"The Chinese constitution clearly states that China’s religious group and religious affairs cannot be controlled by foreign forces, and [foreign forces] should not interfere in Chinese religious affairs in any way," he said.
His comments came as Beijing published a white paper on religious affairs saying that it "adheres to the principle of independence and self-management, [and] actively guides religions to adapt to the socialist society."
"Actively guiding" is a key phrase that has appeared under the administration of President Xi Jinping, and denotes a view of religion as a dangerous foreign import, with officials warning against the "infiltration of Western hostile forces" in the form of religion, particularly Christianity.
Online sales of Bible banned
The white paper came as Chinese Christians reported via social media that the Bible has been banned from online selling platforms like Taobao.
Taobao, JD.com, and Dangdang have all banned the sale of ISBN-free Bibles and related spiritual books, including those published by the official Christian conferences, a Taobao seller confirmed to RFA.
"We can't sell ... Protestant Christian books, the Bible, and [related] spiritual books ... without an ISBN code," the seller said, in reference to the International Standard Book Number. Chinese ISBNs start with the number 7, and can only be issued by the General Administration for Press and Publications (GAPP) under the State Council.
He said the ban had taken effect at the start of the week.
"They said it was because these are restricted [internal] publications," he added.
The Communist Party has intensified government control over religious activities with a set of tougher regulations since September 2017, sparking fears of further human rights violations targeting religious believers and ethnic minority groups.Read More . . . .