China has ordered a new wave of crackdown on Churches, Mosques, Buddhism and Taoism.
Churches are reportedly being demolished, while thousands of Muslims are being subjected to anti-Islamic indoctrination in re-education camps. Students and Monks were also removed from a famed Tibetan Buddhist seminary.
The country’s ruling Communist Party said religions must be ‘subordinate’ to the ruling Communist Party, and has directed Local Governments to regulate the construction of religious status.
The New York Times reports that the directive, which emanated from the United Front Work Department on Saturday, appears to target majorly followers of Buddhism and Taoism, two of China’s five officially recognized religions.
“The meeting required all localities to take up the regulation of large outdoor religious statues as their top priority in preventing the further commercialization of Buddhism and Taoism,” the directive said.
Chinese authorities in Central Henan province allegedly issued a warning forbidding any Christian gatherings in the area and placing Christians under house arrest. Government officials tore down couplet door decorations that use Christian language.
An anonymous source in Shangqiu, Henan, revealed that Christians in the province have been placed under house arrest without charge, with police officers watching their residence.
They are also required to report where they are going each time they wish to leave the house.
Thousands of Buddhist and Taoist temples and shrines, along with mosques and churches, were damaged or destroyed under communism, especially during the violent 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.
Although many have been restored and reopened since then, but new regulations earlier this year have put the day-to-day running of religious affairs directly under the officially atheistic party.
There has been a renewed campaign promoting atheism and loyalty to the party. China is pushing for the study of Karl Marx, one of communism’s founding fathers, who famously wrote that religion “is the opium of the people.”
Local reports say the anti-religion drive is to promote patriotism, party loyalty, fight Western values and oppose separatism among ethnic minorities.