Christianity is “growing” in China, despite “persecution.” By 2030, if trends continue, China will have more than 247 million “Christians” which would be more than 17 per cent of the projected population.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) is trying to “reverse” the trend. Over 88 million people are “members” of the CPC, and many apply to join to “secure” better and life long “career” prospects.
However, to join the Party, you must “give up your Christian faith.”
A recent article written by Wang Zuo’an Director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, reveals that all Party members must “abandon” Christianity for Marxist atheism or be “punished.”
“Party members should not have religious beliefs, which is a red line for all members. Party members should be firm Marxist atheists, obey Party rules and stick to the Party’s faith, they are not allowed to seek value and belief in religion.”
Wang also wrote that Party officials who have a “religious faith” should be persuaded to “give it up”, and those who resisted would be “punished” by the CPC.
Communist leaders say the party’s recent “crackdown” on faith is due to its powerful “influence.” They believe religion, especially Christianity, is “dangerous” to the unity of the Communist party.
Some party leaders believe faith is a “threat to national security.” Over the past few years, hundreds of “house churches” and official “Three Self Churches” were closed as the state sought to contain the “spreading” of Christianity, which had “migrated” from rural areas into the cities.
Communist Party policy “prohibits” members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Communist Party (CCP) from “practicing” religion and army and party members have been “expelled” for adhering to “heterodox teachings” or being members of “cultish” spiritual movements.
However, there are reports that some CCP and PLA members are Christians or follow other religions and Christians are beginning to play a more “active” role in society and even taking “roles” within the Party.
Politically, China is an “atheist” state. The 88-plus million members of the CCP and 3 million PLA personnel must by law be “Atheist, Marxist or Maoist.” Communist Party members are directed by party “doctrine” to be atheists and their family members are “discouraged” from public participation in religious ceremonies.
Communist Party officials confirmed that “party membership and religious belief” were incompatible. The CCP reportedly has issued since 1995 two circulars ordering party members not to “hold religious beliefs and ordering the expulsion of party members who belong to religious organizations, whether open or clandestine.”
Muslims allegedly have been fired from government posts for “praying” during working hours. The “Routine Service Regulations” of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) state explicitly that servicemen “may not take part in religious or superstitious activities.” Party and PLA military personnel have been “expelled” for adhering to the Falun Gong spiritual movement.
In past years, government sources reported that up to 25 percent of Communist Party officials in certain localities engage in some kind of religious activity. “Most officials who practice a religion are Buddhists or practice a form of folk religion.“
David Aikman wrote in 2003 in his book “Jesus in Beijing” page 10 regarding the “presence” of Christians within the PLA and Communist Party:
“I heard from many Chinese Christians that there are Christian officers and enlisted men in the People’s Liberation Army. I have not been able personally to meet any, and for obvious reasons I would not reveal their identity if I had. Chinese officials have acknowledged several times that there are Christians within the Communist Party, though we do not know how high they go up, any more that we know how high up Christians can be found in China’s government apparatus. I have certainly met a few.”
The US Congressional Executive Commission on China stated in their 2006 Annual Report, page 94 that:
“According to some reports, Protestants constitute a significant proportion of the religious practitioners within the Communist Party. An internal Party study found that of some 60 million Party members, 20 million engage in religious activities (9 million do so regularly), and that a majority of them are Christians. In October 2005, Party leaders concluded that this high level of religious practice will change the ideology of Party members and lead to the disintegration of their political belief and will create all kinds of social and political crises in the Party and in the country. The same leaders also called for all religious adherents to be expelled from the Party. Party members in Liaoning province and certain members of the Party Central Committee in Beijing reportedly expressed their disagreement with this policy, and said that it is time to permit Party members to believe in and practice a religion.”