China Makes “Progress” Crushing Religion | China Uncensored


On this episode of China Uncensored, religion in China is getting sinicized. Hi, welcome back to China Uncensored. I’m Chris Chappell. You’ve probably read so-called reports that under the Communist Party in China, people who practice religion are constantly oppressed, arrested, even tortured. Well, good news, everyone! The Party has just released some new regulations that should convince you that everything’s going to change for the better. Religions are going to “sinicize.” No, that’s not what your new-agey friend does with a neti pot to clear their sinuses. English state-run China Global Television
Network explains. “The new regulations highlight religious and social harmony; they call for respect between believers and non believers; as well as between religions.” Wow, these new regulations sound like real progress has been made! I can see now why the Communist Party was so upset by that recent US report criticizing China’s religious freedom. That US report claims that “the Chinese government tortures and imprisons thousands for their religious beliefs.” Including Tibetans, Muslims, Falun Gong, and Christians. But that report covered China in 2016. That was the old, antiquated China. Now is the new, cool China— the enlightened China that’s totally on board with religion. Unless for some reason China’s state-run media isn’t giving us the full picture and this is instead part of some elaborate
scam to spread propaganda to the West. But that wouldn’t be very Christian of them, would it? China has five officially recognized religions: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Christianity and Catholicism, yes, in China those last two things are different. And if you want to practice religion, and not get in trouble, you need to belong to one of those official religions. That’s what Article 36 of China’s constitution means when it says, “Citizens of the People’s Republic of
China enjoy freedom of religious belief.” The catch is that citizens enjoy freedom of religious belief so long as they belong to one of those state-approved religions, where the leaders are hand-picked by the Communist Party. It’s like, if you’re given total freedom to pick your school’s vice principal from among these three guys. I’m sure they’re all good choices. Well, following China’s announcement of the new regulations, the Party-approved leaders from the five official religions held a forum together and decided they’re all totally on board with the CCP’s request that they sinicize their religions. “Sinicize” is just a fancy way of saying “Chinese-ify.” Which in this case has nothing to do with Chinese culture. This time, it’s a totally made up way of saying, “[Religious] leaders must steer religions
forward with Chinese socialism.” That’s how one Politburo member explained
it. He also said, “Whatever your belief is, you must first abide by law.” So to be clear, the hierarchy is: The Communist Party; Then socialism— or whatever current system the Communist Party decides to promote; Then Chinese law— not the “freedom of religion” law, the, um, other laws; And then God. So in China, the “thou shalt have no other gods before
me” thing is…more of a suggestion. The new regulations that Chinese state-run media are so eager to promote are essentially about controlling religious
institutions and forcing religious believers to do what the Communist Party tells them. The Party also has a specific concern they’re hoping to address with this: Islamic extremism. Mu Kefa, deputy chairman of the China Islamic Association
said, “The goal of sinicizing the religion actually
is to guard against ‘desinicization’ in Islam, a trend of misleading use of the halal concept.” Yeah, Halal Guys, you aren’t doing enough to sinicize. Where’s my General Tso’s Chicken gyro? But seriously, it’s like these Party-approved religious
leaders are just regurgitating mindless Party slogans. But the real question is, “Have these new regulations that ‘highlight religious and social harmony’ achieved anything?” Let’s take a look at the scene on the ground. Oh, they’re still demolishing Christian
churches. Yeah. It turns out there’s a bit more to the new regulations than what English language state-run media
told us. The new regulations massively restrict religious
freedom. Impressive, considering I didn’t think they
had any more room to squeeze. But the Communist Party leaders are real miracle workers. Also, with the new regulations: online religious discussion will be under surveillance. Not that they weren’t under surveillance
before, but you know, it’s always nice to have more laws making it official. They also limit religious gatherings. There’s a bunch of new restrictions on building places of worship and financing religious groups. Foreign donations are outright banned, and local “donations over 100,000 yuan need to be reported to authorities.” The Chinese regime also gets new powers over setting up religious colleges. Now all that is related to the official state-run churches and temples. But let’s say that you weren’t interested
in having any of these guys for your vice principal. You were looking at more of a Mr. Belding
kind of guy. Which is to say, you’re one of the millions of Chinese citizens who worship in non-state approved churches. Well, time out, because for you, things get even worse. The regulations “increase existing restrictions on unregistered religious groups to include explicit bans on teaching about religion or going abroad to take part in training or meetings.” But what’s really amazing is that so many people in China are religious— despite all the harsh regulations, and a legacy of communism that banned all religions under Chairman Mao. Over the last 40 years, religious belief has been on a sharp rise in China. According to one study, “85 percent of the Chinese either hold some religious beliefs or practice some kind of religion.” And by 2030, China might have more Christians than any other country on Earth. But the Communist Party is worried. That’s why they’re encouraging people to report on parents who lure their kids into religion, and ordering Churches to install surveillance equipment. The fundamental problem with religions is that they provide an ideological alternative to the wonderful world of Marxist Leninist Maoist Thought. So the Communist Party views religions as as a challenge to their rule. Which shows you how much confidence they have in their own wonderful system. So the Chinese authorities continually try to clamp down on religions, making sure they can never be more powerful than the Party. And they try to reduce religious belief to Chinese patriotism, to make sure believers put the Communist Party before their God. And if religious believers refuse to comply, well, let’s just say they might be going to Heaven a lot quicker. What do you think of the new regulations? Leave your comments below. Thanks for watching this episode of China
Uncensored. Once again I’m your host Chris Chappell. See you next time.

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