The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has in the past few years attempted to legislate away religious freedom by passing laws forcing Sinicization and regulating religious leadership, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said in a report published on Monday last week.
Under Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), Beijing made use of an elaborate legal system to effectively control religious systems and leaders, the council wrote in its quarterly report on the situation in China.
The council in particular referenced two recent laws: the Measures for the Administration of Religious Personnel, which was implemented on May 1 and aims to more closely regulate religious clergy, and the Measures for the Administration of Religious Institutes, which goes into effect on Sept. 1.
The latter is an update of a previous law establishing religious institutes for the training of clergy and other religious professionals.
Under this law, the heads of religious institutes would be required to support CCP leadership, while faculty and students must be educated in “socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new Xi Jinping era,” patriotism and Sinicization of religion.
Both laws complement Xi’s preference for legal administration and Sinicization by legislating religious leaders and institutes, the council said.
At the same time, the CCP has also continued persecuting religious devotees, the report added.
Last month, four Tibetan Buddhist monks were sentenced to five to 20 years in prison after a secret trial, it said.
Their crimes were reportedly contacting Tibetans in Nepal, donating money to help Tibetans in Nepal rebuild after the 2015 earthquake, and possessing images and documents relating to the Dalai Lama, it said.
This was in addition to the arrests of more than 20 Tibetans for celebrating the Dalai Lama’s birthday online, it added.
In Xinjiang, the CCP has continued placing Uighurs in re-education camps while denying its actions and fiercely attacking any detractors, the council said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Wang Mei-hui (王美惠) also decried the CCP’s manipulation of religion.
Religion is meant to bring comfort and encourage goodness, but the CCP has been wielding it as a tool for political indoctrination by requiring clergy to study “Xi Jinping thought,” she said, calling the situation “extremely frightening.”
“China’s persecution of minorities in Xinjiang is an indisputable fact,” she said, adding that evidence of its human rights abuses cannot be washed away.
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