11/05/2014, 00.00
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China, the Party admits: More and more Communist officials are Christian or Buddhist

The admission comes in the form of threats: the secretary of the Communist Party in Tibet warns of "severe punishment" for those who follow the Dalai Lama or even support him. Meanwhile, a disciplinary delegation returns from Zhejiang, where there is an ongoing campaign of demolition of Christian churches and crosses, and report the presence of "many Party members who follow the Christian religion."

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Officials of the Communist Party of Tibet "who harbour fantasies about the 14th Dalai Group, follow the Dalai group, participate in supporting separatist infiltration sabotage activities, [they will be] strictly and severely punished according to the law and party disciplinary measures". This was written by the leader of the Communist Party in Tibet, Chen Quanguo, in an article this morning published on the front page of the Tibet Daily. At the same time, a team of investigators from the Central Disciplinary Committee - the Communist Party internal management body - has returned from Zhejiang, where many middle managers "have proven to be faithful of Christianity and other religions".

A Tibetan source, anonymous for security reasons, said: "The news is not that executives close to the Dalai Lama, or who are even his followers, will be punished by law. The real news is that the party is forced to admit that some of its members are Buddhists, and even close to the Tibetan cause".

In all likelihood, Secretary Chen is referring to statements made last month by the Dalai Lama himself about a possible pilgrimage to China. On 3 October, from his forced exile in Dharamsala, the religious leader said he "had informally asked to a few friends, including members - current or retired - of the Communist Party, to be able to go on pilgrimage to the sacred Wutai mountain. They have been considering the idea and will let me know".

The fear that religious consciousness could take hold in the party is highlighted by the fact that the Central Commission for inspection and discipline - the controlling body of the CCP - sent a delegation to eastern Zhejiang, where a demolition campaign of Christian churches and crosses has been going on for some months.

At the end of the investigation, writes the People's Daily, the delegation "discovered many Party members who are in fact religious believers", Christian or of other faiths. Although religious freedom is guaranteed by the Chinese Constitution, it is very often violated by the government; In addition, the Communist officials are forbidden to follow any belief.


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