Chinese religious groups must obey the staunchly atheist ruling Communist Party, President Xi Jinping has told a key meeting on religion according to state media, as Beijing tightens controls on civil society organizations and churches.
“Religious groups… must adhere to the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC),” Xi told senior party officials at a conference ending on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency said.
But party members must be “unyielding Marxist atheists”, he said, calling on them to “resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means”.
China is estimated to be home to hundreds of millions of Buddhists, Christians and Muslims, with the Communist Party seeking to “guide” believers while cracking down on unofficial religious groups.
Since Xi came to power in 2012, Communist officials have taken a harder line towards civil and religious society.
In Zhejiang province in the east, local officials have in recent years demolished churches or removed crosses from their exteriors in a campaign that rights groups say has impacted hundreds of parishes.
In the mostly Muslim region of Xinjiang, rights groups and locals report the tightening of decades-old limits on Islamic practices such as Ramadan fasting and growing beards. Read More