Christian groups vow sinicization support
Regulation calls for compatibility with Confucian values, Chinese laws
China’s Christian communities vow to explore blending church activities with Chinese characteristics, and stressed that Christian activities be conducted in accordance with Chinese laws, according to a revised regulation on Christian churches passed on Tuesday.
Gao Feng, president of the China Christian Council (CCC) and Xu Xiaohong, secretary-general of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China (TSPM), attended a joint meeting of the CCC and TSPM where the revised regulation was approved. Eighty-three standing committee members of the two organizations attended the meeting in Beijing on Tuesday, CCC and TSPM reported on their joint website on Tuesday.
The revised document aims to regulate Chinese Christian churches to make Christians patriotic and conduct religious activities in line with the socialist society. Churches should respect Chinese traditional culture and explore new forms of religious activities with Chinese characteristics, the report said.
The revised regulation focuses on more practical issues, and provides a guideline for local churches in managing religious affairs in line with laws. CCC and TSPM will be more active in administering domestic churches, said the report.
The revision reflects the consensus among domestic Christians that the 2008 regulation no longer fits Chinese society, a Beijing-based religious scholar who requested anonymity, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
The religion should adjust in several aspects, including its customs and buildings. The religious philosophy, such as its understanding of doctrines and morality, should also be compatible with Chinese culture, which centers on the Confucian values of harmony and inclusiveness, the expert said.
Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, told the Global Times on Wednesday that abiding by laws is the bottom line for a religion to conduct activities in China.
“As organizations in China, churches should serve the nation and the people,” Zhu said, noting that some illegal churches are using religion as a means to collect money from the people.
“The adjustment is a long-term goal for religions that cannot be ‘fully completed,’” Zhu stressed.
CCC and TSPM issued a five-year plan in March on the sinicization of Christianity, including identifying content in the Bible that are in line with core socialist values, then turning them into easily understood reading materials. The plan also promotes Chinese elements in preaching, religious poems and songs, clothing and church designs. Preacher training will also be organized.
In July, religious groups in China proposed that all religious venues should raise the national flag to strengthen their respect to the flag. The move would strengthen national consciousness, help religious believers better practice socialist core values, and carry forward the tradition of patriotism.