President Xi stresses party leadership, Sinicization in China’s religious work for next five years

This picture taken on March 1 shows Tibetan Buddhist monks awaiting a prayer for Monlam, the Tibetan New Year, at the Rongwo Monastery, in Tongren County. (Photo courtesy: AFP)

(, Dec07’21) – The atheist Communist Party of China is set to tighten control on religion with the holding of a national conference on work related to religious affairs over Dec 3-4 in Beijing, attended by all the seven Politburo Standing Committee members. Party General Secretary and state President Xi Jinping stressed upholding the principle of developing religions in the Chinese context, and providing active guidance for the adaptation of religions to socialist society, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Dec 4.

The conference, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, was attended by other senior leaders Li Zhanshu, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji and Han Zheng. Wang Yang, the party boss on religious and ethnic minority affairs, made concluding remarks, according to the report. The conference is expected to set the parameters on how China’s religious affairs will be developed in the next few years.

The report said Xi highlighted fully implementing the Party’s theory on religious affairs in the new era, the basic policy on religious affairs, and the policy on the freedom of religious belief. The details of the repressiveness of the policy are laid down in these party documents and pronouncements.

He has emphasized the training of a team of Party and government officials who are adept at the Marxist view on religion, familiar with religious affairs, and competent to engage in work related to religious believers.

And he has called for fostering a group of religious figures who are politically reliable, have noble characters and religious accomplishments, and can play their role at critical times.

For this purpose, he has stressed improving education and work mechanisms related to religions.

Noting progress in the work related to religious affairs since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, Xi has said that religions in China had increasingly been Chinese in orientation and religious groups had kept enhancing their recognition of the motherland, the Chinese nation, the Chinese culture, the CPC and socialism with Chinese characteristics.

He has said The CPC Central Committee had put forward a slew of new concepts and measures on religious work since the 18th CPC National Congress.

Xi has highlighted the need to establish robust party leadership on religious affairs, uphold and develop a religious theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics, work in line with the Party’s basic policy on religious affairs, and uphold the principle that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation.

“China must adhere to the direction of the sinicisation of religion, insist on uniting the masses of religious believers around the party and the government,” Dec 6 quote Xi as having said at the conference.

A similar conference was last held in 2016, giving direction to China’s policies on religion for the next five years, the report noted.


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