China extends its code of atheism for party members in Tibet to family members as well

The Barkhor District is one of Lhasa’s three pilgrim circuits which also encircles the Jokhang Temple. (Photo courtesy: Christa Hoskins/Smithsonian Magazine)

(, Nov26’21) – Every member of the Communist Party of China knew, when they joined it, that they had to be atheists. However, a lax observance and enforcement of the rule meant that many possible believers joined the party and built their career on it. In Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), this rule has been strictly enforced in recent years not just on party members and their relatives but also on government workers and even school children and their parents.

And now strict enforcement of this rule is being carried out also in at least one prefecture of Qinghai province, which constitutes the bulk of the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo (or Domey),.

Tibetan Party members and cadres in the province’s Tsolho (Chinese: Hainan) Prefecture had recently been told to refrain from engaging in religious activities at home and to get rid of their personal religious altars and shrines, said the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) Nov 24.

Those failing to comply with the order were stated to face punishments that included removal from government jobs, and denial of state benefits and subsidies.

Party member are also said to be banned from holding prayer services, including funeral services for their deceased family members and relatives.

Earlier, on Apr 22, 2021, a “Code of Conduct for Communist Party Members in the Tibet Autonomous Region for Not Believing in Religion (for trial implementation)” was introduced in the TAR.

It forbade party members from engaging in any religious activity in public as well as privately. They were also required to “advise their religious family members and relatives to not set up altars, place religious objects, hang religious pictures and photos of religious personalities at home.”


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