Chinese Internal Document Puts New Squeeze on Religion

BEIJING, Nov. 18–(Kyodo) _ An internal Chinese government document obtained recently by Christians overseas says the state organs should beef up Marxist education to push out superstition, teachings of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement and “Western hostile forces.”

The Communist Party Central Committee’s May 27 “Notice on Further Strengthening Marxism Atheism Research, Propaganda and Education” asks mainstream media to increase the number of pro-Marxist or pro-atheist reports and Internet media to remove user comments that advocate alternative spiritual views.

It also calls for a ban on publications that disseminate religious material out of step with Marxism or atheism.

Rules on government approval of religious exchanges between China and foreign countries must also be tightened and applied strictly, the document says. Officials in western China, where Islam is prevalent, should receive a stronger Marxist-atheist education, it adds.

The document further calls on government departments to make a finer distinction between religion and superstition so that people can worship religion without interference.

“Facing the new task of reform, development and stability, new demands of the people on spiritual and cultural life, the new situation targeting the cultic organization of Falun Gong and various pseudosciences and superstitions, and the new trend of Western hostile forces’ attempting to ‘Westernize’ and ‘disintegrate’ China in the name of religion, we need to further strengthen Marxist atheism research, propaganda and education,” the document says.

The U.S.-based Christian Group China Aid Association said it had obtained one of 750 copies of the “secret” document. It is showing the document to U.S. media and U.S. Congress members this week.

This document follows the earliest principles of Chinese Communism, which holds that religion is a threat to unity under the government.

The document

Read the document:
English translation (WORD)

The spread of Internet media, exchanges between Chinese and foreigners and the undercover practice of the Falun Gong movement since 2000 also prompted the Chinese Ministry of Education to review what students learn in public schools.

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Kyodo News Service, Japan
Nov. 18, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday November 18, 2004.
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