BEIJING (ChinaAid) — The Chinese government will roll out new regulations on religion Saturday.
These regulations, consisting of six chapters and 41 articles, will require religious leaders and organizations to display complete devotion to the Chinese Communist Party. Article 5 reads, “Religious organizations must spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as national laws, regulations, rules to religious personnel and religious citizens, educating religious personnel and religious citizens to support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, supporting the socialist system, adhering to and following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics….”
Chinese President Xi Jinping introduced the idea of inserting so-called “Chinese characteristics” into religion. For decades, China’s government has controlled religious groups through its system of monitored, official religious organizations.
However, Xi’s approach became a significant turning point. Authorities launched a five-year plan for reworking religion so that the Communist Party sits at its dictatorial head. Under this, officials throughout China have asked churches to fly the national flag while destroying religious imagery, such as crosses, or church buildings. In churches run by the state, Christians are commanded to sing patriotic songs and listen to pro-Communist Party sermons.