How the Chinese Communist Party views organized religion – Catholic Telegraph


by Matt Hadro

Washington DC, Oct 18, 2021 / 15:01 pm

The Chinese Communist Party is targeting organized religion as a threat – even seeking to “change” or “transform” it into a loyal party apparatus, a panel of foreign policy experts said on Monday.

The party, which “historically ruled religion” in China, is now taking a much harsher approach and “trying to change or destroy it,” said Nury Turkel, vice chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, said during a panel. from the Hudson Institute on Monday. Turkel, a Uyghur-American human rights defender, was born in a re-education camp in China.

For the party, any organized religion “is seen as a threat,” Turkel said, adding that the party was trying to “create a new kind of religion”. Panelists noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the “sinicization of religion” in a 2016 speech, warning that his party is actively seeking to change religious practice to promote its socialist interests.

The panel referred to developments such as the mass internment of predominantly Muslim Uyghurs in the northwestern province of Xinjiang, as well as allegations of forced organ harvesting from ethnic and religious minorities, including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims and Christians.

The United States and other countries should pay attention to what the Chinese Communist Party says about Xinjiang, Turkel said, citing President Xi Jinping’s words of “showing absolutely no mercy” to the Uyghurs. Xinjiang Communist Party secretary Chen Quanguo ordered “to assemble all those who should be assembled,” Turkel noted.

According to the US State Department, more than one million Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities have been placed in internment camps, while two million others are subjected to forced training in ” rehabilitation ”during the day.

Although the party does not hold massive amounts of Christians like Uyghurs, many Christian leaders have been detained without trial for failing to follow the party’s demands, said Nina Shea, senior fellow and director of the Center for Religious. Freedom at the Hudson Institute.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired bishop of Hong Kong, likened the erosion of religious freedom to “being put in a small bird cage,” she noted.

Xiaoxu Sean Li, communications director of the Falun Dafa Association, noted the June 2021 statement by 12 United Nations human rights experts that there was “credible evidence” that religious and ethnic minorities in China were targeted for organ harvesting. Inmate medical data is collected for a large database that identifies potential donor matches. Detainees are then killed and their organs harvested and shipped, he said.

Robert Destro, a law professor at the Catholic University of America and a former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor in the Trump administration, said the party is now carrying out everywhere what ‘he’s been doing in Tibet for years. The party has extracted the region’s natural resources and set up monitoring systems while eradicating religious practice, he said.

“Basically they will sell, they will monetize everything from natural resources to your liver,” he said of the party, “and anything in the way – especially religion. “

Shea also raised concerns that Catholic leaders may be vulnerable to blackmail or surveillance from the Chinese Communist Party.

“The Vatican has technology that can and has been easily penetrated,” she said. In 2020, just months before the renewal of the Vatican-China deal, researchers from a US-based cybersecurity firm reported that computer networks in the Vatican and the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong were being targeted by hackers. computer systems sponsored by the Chinese state.

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, secularized in 2019 after the Vatican determined he was guilty of abusing minors and vulnerable adults, visited China eight times and stayed at a seminary there. government sanctioned church. “There’s a lot of blackmail potential out there,” Shea said.

Panel members also expressed concern over the agreement between the Vatican and China on the ordination of bishops, initially concluded in 2018 and renewed for a further two years in 2020.

Shea mentioned the case of Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu of Mindong / Funing in Fujian Province, who was consecrated under the agreement following the withdrawal of Bishop Joseph Guo Xijin from the Underground Catholic Church. Zhan reportedly led a delegation of 33 priests to participate in a “training course” at the Central Institute of Socialism, in collaboration with the United Front of Fujian Province, where they listened to presentations on the “sinization of religion. “.

“To carry out the sinicization of religion with determination, we will continue to follow a path consistent with socialist society,” Zhan said in August 2019.

“He really embodies the [party’s] model of a new Christian leader, ”Shea said of Zhan.

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