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Sinicization, patriotism to be China’s new mantra of religious control, come Sep 1

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(TibetanReview.net, Aug04’23) – New guidelines on religious activities coming into effect on Sep 1 requires all places of worship in the People’s Republic of China to give top importance to the leadership and policies of the Communist Party of China (CPC) under the rubric of “Sinicization”. They ban religious venues from maintaining ties with overseas organizations and they will be required to deliver ‘patriotic’ education to believers, reported rfa.org Aug 3.

Monasteries, temples, mosques, churches and other religious activity venues will be required to support the leadership of the CPC and leader Xi Jinping’s plans for the “Sinicization” of religious activity.

“No organization or individual may use religious activity sites to conduct activities that endanger national security, disrupt social order [or] damage national interests,” a copy of the rules published on the website of the party’s outreach and influence arm, the United Front Work Department, was quoted as saying.

Managers of religious venues, who will be thoroughly vetted by religious affairs officials, must “love the motherland and support the leadership of the CPC and the socialist system.”

Venues must submit detailed plans for activities for approval in advance, and have a duty to “educate religious citizens to love the motherland” and comply with Sinicization policies.”

Besides, they must also keep files on all staff or residents detailing their religious and social activities and any contact with overseas organizations or individuals.

The guidelines are said to even dictate contents of religious sermons and teachings. “The content of sermons shall be appropriate for the Chinese national situation … and embody socialist core values.”

In particular, venues will be required to engage in nationalistic and patriotic education, and promote the use of Mandarin in religious activities and writings. They must “integrate Chinese culture and embody Chinese style in terms of architecture, sculpture, painting, decoration and so on,” for “it is forbidden to build large open-air religious statues outside temples and churches.”

Besides, “it is prohibited to invest in, contract and operate religious activity sites or large open-air religious statues.”

The rules are also said to include a ban on accepting teaching posts from overseas religious groups or institutions without prior authorization, and on accepting donations from overseas.

Religious groups are also said to be banned from carrying out unapproved activities outside their pre-approved, scheduled programmes, and from hosting unapproved religious activities in a site not approved for such activities.

These guidelines place religious centres across the PRC under direct supervision of the State Administration of Religious Affairs and the Party United Front Work Department.

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