04/12/2019, 12.43
中国
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信仰与传播:中共所谓宗教「中国化」的说辞

作者 John Dotson

对北京来说,当前首当其冲的任务是去除中国宗教内外国势力的干预。该意识形态运动的主要号召者是国家控制的宗教组织。最主要的原因还是由于共产党担心社会动乱。由于藏传佛教、基督教和伊斯兰教都属于「外教」,便成为此次运动的主要对象。

华盛顿(亚洲新闻)- 在习近平的领导下,中共偏执的说辞和对藏传佛教、地下基督教、伊斯兰教日益增长的敌视,使得宗教「中国化」进程不断加快。这个过程,很有可能会伴随着党内领导人对他们执政体系的不安情绪,而一直继续下去。这个观点由前美国军官、现中国简报「China Brief」的主编若望·多特森(John Dotson)提出。以下是具体分析。该文章由Jamestown基金会授权。(亚洲新闻翻译编辑)

 

引文

 

今年3月,全国人大和全国政协均在北京召开了他们的年度会议。这两个大会,俗称「两会」,代表了中华人民共和国年度官方政治工作中,最重要的两个事件。这两个大会事实上没有任何实权,但会议议程的内容,往往反映出民众对当前国情变化的担忧,并及时对中共高层作出的决议给予意见。

在两会中,政协会议(即中国人民政治协商会议/CPCPC)往往较少向海外人士开放。政协会议于1949年在中华人民共和国成立,基于1946-1949年内战期间的经验,政协成立之初主要用于代表各党派人士和不同政治群体,意在用于将它们连接在共产党的领导之下。自成立以来,政协的官方意图在于为政府提供可靠的政治资讯,但实际上却是中央统战部的宣传工具。

今年,政协的主要宣传任务为「坚党对宗教工作的领导,持续推进我国宗教中国化」[1]。这个口号不是新鲜事,最早可追溯于2016年,当时的中共中央总书记习近平就提出中国特色社会主义宗教理论。(2016年4月23号,新华社)自那时起,这个理论便在两会期间和各种官方论坛中变得格外重要,中国官媒也对两会期间宗教「中国化」的议题进行了重要报道。(1月10号,人民政协报

State-Controlled Religious Organizations Advocate for Greater Government Control

During the CPPCC, the primary mouthpieces for this ideological campaign were the state-sanctioned religious organizations of the PRC. These organizations operate under the cognizance of the PRC National Religious Affairs Administration (Guojia Zongjiao Shiwuju, 国家宗教事务局)—which was itself subsumed into the UFWD in spring 2018 (China Brief, April 24 2018). During the March meetings of the CPPCC, representatives of these state religious organizations lined up to parrot the official slogans of the “Sinicization” propaganda campaign. For example, at a combined panel discussion and press conference held on March 7th:

  • Zhan Ru, deputy head of the China Buddhist Association, stressed the importance of promoting the “internal harmony of Chinese religions” under the leadership of the CCP;
  • Dai Junfeng, leader of the Islamic Association of Kunming (Yunnan Province), stressed his organization’s efforts to “demonstrate national unity and progress, and integrate the study of classic doctrines with socialist core values;”
  • Shen Bin, deputy head of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, stressed the need “to adhere to the leadership of the Communist Party of China, uphold the direction of Sinicization and strengthen the implementation of Regulation[s] on Religious Affairs” (Global Times, March 10).

Most striking of all, the CPPCC was used as a forum to advocate the purging of foreign influences from Chinese religious practice. In a speech delivered before the CPPCC on March 11th, Xu Xiaohong, Chairman of the “Three Self Patriotic Movement” (San Zi Aiguo Yundong, 三自爱国运动)—the PRC’s official Protestant church—stated that the advent of Christianity in China was accompanied by “intense colonial aggression by the West.” Xu accused “anti-China forces in the West” of “trying to influence China’s social stability and even subvert China’s political power through the use of Christianity.” In light of this, Xu called for “continuous elimination of foreign imprints on China’s Christian churches,” and for China’s Christians to “continuously carry forward and practice the core values of socialism” (Taiwan Central News Agency, March 12; Hong Kong Free Press, March 13).

Rev. Xu Xiaohong, chairman of the “Three-Self Patriotic Movement” of state-sanctioned Protestant churches in China, addresses the annual meeting of the CPPCC in Beijing on March 11, 2019. Xu warned against “anti-China forces in the West” who are attempting to “to subvert China’s political power through the use of Christianity.” (Source: Three Self Patriotic Movement official website)

CCP Anxieties Regarding Religion and Social Unrest

The ongoing campaign for “Sinicization” of religious practice has motivations that flow from CCP suspicions of three religious traditions in particular, all of which have been subject to renewed campaigns of repression over the past year: Lamaist Buddhism, suspect as an element of Tibetan and Mongolian cultural identity (China Brief, July 10 2018; China Brief, March 5; HRW, March 20); unregistered Christian churches, and heterodox Christian offshoot sects such as “The Church of Almighty God,” which are viewed as potential sources of social unrest (SCMP, September 10 2018; China Brief, February 1); and Islam, which is subject to increasing repression as a suspected motivator for ethnic nationalism and “extremism” in Xinjiang (China Brief, July 25 2018; China Brief, March 5). Relative to “native” religions such as Taoism and Han Chinese-evolved Buddhism, these three religious traditions are subject to greater suspicions due to their “foreign” origins. [2] In light of the increasingly xenophobic and paranoid nature of CCP discourse under Xi Jinping, this factor makes them prime candidates for “Sinicization.”

However, the coordinated propaganda showcased at the CPPCC is also part and parcel of a broader drive over the course of the past year to reinforce the CCP’s control over all aspects of Chinese life: to include not only religious faith, but also culture (China Brief, March 5) and public discourse (Apple Daily (HK), May 14 2018). Additionally, the propaganda themes featured at the CPPCC must be understood against the backdrop of evident CCP concerns for the direction of the country, and attendant prospects for social unrest (China Brief, March 22; China Brief, March 22). As long as the senior leadership circles of the CCP harbor anxieties about the security of their ruling status, the campaign for “Sinicization” of religion—as well as other aspects of civic life—is likely to continue.

John Dotson is the editor of China Brief. Contact him at: cbeditor@jamestown.org.

Notes

[1] There are differences of interpretation regarding the translation of the key Chinese-language term “Zhongguohua” (中国化)—which could be interpreted as “Sinicization” (implying an effort to bring something more closely into line with Han Chinese culture); or as “China-fication” (implying that the thing in question will be nationalized, and/or brought under firmer state control). English-language outlets of official PRC state media generally use the former translation; however, the latter translation arguably better captures the meaning behind the government’s drive to further Zhongguohua the practice of religion in China. For an authoritative commentary on the issue published under the name of the director of the CCP United Front Work Department, see: “You Quan: Persist in the Party’s Leadership over Religion, Persist in Advancing the Sinicization of Religion” [尤权:坚持党对宗教工作的领导,持续推进我国宗教中国化], Xinhua, March 20, 2019. http://www.zytzb.gov.cn/tzyw/306776.jhtml.

[2] Congressional-Executive Commission on China, 2018 Annual Report, p. 122.

https://www.cecc.gov/sites/chinacommission.house.gov/files/Annual%20Report%202018.pdf.

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