(TibetanReview.net, Jul22’23) – China’s audacity on the issue of religious repression has grown to such extent that it has now launched a 10-year project to rewrite the Bible, the Quran and other religious texts as part of President Xi Jinping’s grand strategy to “Sinicize” religion. The idea is to harness religion in the service of the Party rather than God or for personal enlightenment.
Across Henan province, local Party officials have forced Protestant churches to replace the Ten Commandments with Xi Jinping quotes. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me,” became diktats like: “Resolutely guard against the infiltration of Western ideology,” wrote US House of Representatives member Mike Gallagher in an opinion piece which appeared on foxnews.com Jul 17.
At the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Congress, Xi declared “We will… insist on the Sinicization of Chinese religions, and provide active guidance for religion and socialism to coexist.”
In the case of Tibetan Buddhism, the Party wants the authority to select the next Dalai Lama, a sacred tradition in Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhists are attempting to stand up to CPC coercion, but Beijing counters that even Pope Francis, leader of the mighty Catholic Church, accepts their authority over Church leadership, the opinion piece noted.
This refers to the fact that in a secret 2018 negotiation, the Vatican agreed to allow the Communist Party of China to select Catholic bishops in China, supposedly in exchange for vague reassurances of “safety” for some Catholic congregations which were immediately abrogated.
Only on Jul 16, the Vatican endorsed Joseph Shen Bin to head the vacant Shanghai diocese after he was appointed by the Party while meekly protesting that it was not consulted as required under the 2018 deal, even though it has been renewed twice.
Likewise, China has been widely accused of committing genocide in Xinjiang. But major Islamic and Muslim countries have chosen to endorse China’s claim of having brought happiness and prosperity to the ethnic Uyghur Muslims in the occupied territory while dismissing the allegations as unfounded.
Also in the case of Tibetan Buddhism, it was previously reported that the Party had called for the Tibetan religious texts to be translated and taught in Chinese language and for monks and nuns to conduct their monastic conversations in Chinese language.
The United Front Work Department manages religious affairs in China because religion is a tool to be coerced, co-opted and corrupted to advance party goals and, once harnessed, control people’s minds, Gallagher has said.