Quit religion, China to party members
In a controversial move, China’s ruling Communist Party has directed its nearly 90 million members to shun religion for maintaining party unity, warning that religious belief is a “redline” for the cadres and those who resist would be punished.
The head of China’s top religious affairs regulator said that party members should not seek value and faith in religion and those who have religious beliefs should be persuaded to give them up. Experts said the direction is meant to maintain party unity, the official media reported on Wednesday.
“Party members should not have religious beliefs, which is a redline for all members...Party members should be firm Marxist atheists, obey party rules and stick to the party’s faith...they are not allowed to seek value and belief in religion,” Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) wrote in an article released in the Qiushi Journal on Saturday, the flagship magazine of the CPC Central Committee.
Officials who have religious faith should be persuaded to give it up, and those who resist would be punished by the party organisation, Mr Wang wrote.
The order came as the CPC, which has about 88.76 million members, geared up to hold its 19th Congress expected to be in October this year in which President Xi Jinping who heads the party and the military is likely to get elected for another five-year term.