Under new rules, the Chinese Communist Party will have a say in various aspects of religious life, managing funds and selecting of leaders and staff

Elizabeth Lam, Hong Kong 
February 6, 2020

Chinese Catholics attend a Christmas Eve Mass at Xishiku Cathedral in Beijing on Dec. 24, 2019. (Photo: Noel Celis/AFP)

Religion in China has received its last nail in the coffin with a new set of rules, effective from Feb. 1.

The new regulations on religious affairs make religion submissive to the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as they cover every aspect of religious life, from the formation of communities to daily activities. 

The comrades at the Religious Affairs Office will have a say in rites and rituals, selection of leaders, annual meetings, hiring staff and handling funds. All of these activities must be reported in advance for their approval.

The CCP has been placed above all religious heads, reducing the role of the clergy to that of a meek facilitator. It is going to be hard for Muslims, Buddhists, Christians and Taoists — followers of China’s ancient folk religion — who will only be allowed to practice their faith in the country with strings attached.

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