26 September 2016
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    » 01/04/2016, 00.00

    CHINA

    CPC tightens crackdown on "superstitions", but also targets religions



    The Communist Party launches new internal rules: expulsion and prison for officials who believe in "feudal superstitions." Xi Jinping warns members not to ask questions “that should not be asked”. Analysts fear a new wave of repressions against the five official religions.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese Communist Party has launched new and more stringent rules to punish members who believe "feudal superstitions." For the first time, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has categorized specific types of infringement in new rules which came into force on Jan. 1, 2016, covering the 88 million Party members.

    The "feudal superstitions" are in fact for some tenets of Taoism and Buddhism. The practice of feng shui - the art of geomancy that aims to harmonize the universe - and the prediction of the future are specifically targted. The latter also includes the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism related to the rebirth of the Lama. According to Xinhua, the official Chinese agency, "a large number of high-level Communist officials have been accused in recent years of taking part in these practices."

    In the latest edition of the internal rules, dated 2003, "feudal superstitions" were categorized in "activities that disrupt Party productivity". The new category has instead been created specifically: the penalty for those who "organize" these activities is expulsion and later putting impeached; those who "participate" is first warned and then expelled. In recent days, the Commission indicted and arrested a senior executive of the province of Ningxia, Bai Xueshan, accused of having put "too much faith" in their own feng shui.

    Central Commission for Discipline Inspection has also published a new book with the "information which collected previously undisclosed remarks made by Xi since the party’s 18th congress in November 2012. Among these a passage stands out in which the president - also Secretary General of the Party and army chief - warns the Communist officials "not to discuss central policies in public " and "not to ask questions that should not be asked." All just a few days ahead of the next general meeting of the Commission, which is scheduled from 12 to 14  January 2016.

    According to several experts, this series of restrictions demonstrates the central government’s aim to increasingly target the five traditional religions of the country. The Party recognizes Catholicism, Protestant Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Taoism but only if they fall within government structures. In recent years, however, the freedom of the faithful has increasingly shrunk: this latest appeal and new punishments against "feudal superstition" is a further step in this direction.

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    See also

    16/11/2007 CHINA
    Secret party document wants to “normalise” Chinese Protestants
    Paper is inspired by leading comrades in the central government. More than 50 million Christians have to choose between forcibly joining patriotic associations or being eliminated. All this is done in contempt of United Nations declarations on religious freedom.

    14/02/2009 CHINA
    Chinese police shut down Protestant community in Shanghai
    The group of 1200 faithful belong to the underground domestic churches. The State Administration of Religious Affairs has revoked the rental contract that allowed the community the use of a hall. One more step toward the "normalization" of the Protestant communities.

    12/02/2009 CHINA - UNITED NATIONS
    China rejects all criticism on human rights, but accepts advice from Cuba and Iran
    In the report on the review of violations in China, Beijing stresses the advice of countries calling for greater control of dissidents and the internet. But human rights activists are claiming success simply for being able to discuss China's abuses at a UN meeting.

    05/12/2011 TIBET – CHINA
    Pictures emerge showing Chinese repression in Tibet
    Handcuffed monks with a sign hanging around their neck are dragged away from their monastery. They are crime: demanding religious freedom for Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. Shameful and hateful pictures are posted online.

    05/05/2008 CHINA - VATICAN
    Shanghai, government, PA: a war is on against pilgrimages to the Marian shrine of Sheshan
    Roadblocks, restrictions, registration. Hotels and restaurants prohibited from welcoming pilgrims. For the Patriotic Association, the faithful must remain in their dioceses, praying for peace, for the pope, for the Olympics, and for good results for the Chinese athletes. Attempts underway to divide the official and underground Catholics from the universal Church.



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