The Chinese Communist Party cracks down on religion: All party members must be atheist

If members have practiced religion in the past they must 'rectify' their beliefs

Emma Finamore
Wednesday 04 February 2015 18:00 GMT
The Chinese Communist Party will bar applicants with religious beliefs
The Chinese Communist Party will bar applicants with religious beliefs (Getty Images)

Applicants to the Communist Party of China (CPC) will be rejected in future if they are found to embrace any religion, and existing members forced to denounce their beliefs.

Party authorities in Zhejiang province said that the pre-examination system for recruiting CPC members should be improved and stricter rules on religion should be implemented.

Li Yunlong, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee told The Global Times: "Party members are banned from joining religions. Believing in communism and atheism is a basic requirement to become a Party member."

Li said that Zhejiang authorities hoped to set an example to other provinces. "This could be a part of efforts against the penetration of Western hostile forces," said Li.

Current CPC recruitment procedures state that checking on religious beliefs is the first step towards approving applicants to the Party, and members who are found to have participated in or religions will be required to "rectify" their beliefs.

Learning Marxist views on religion will be a required course for future applicants, which will also be taught in local Party schools and governance academies.

Education focusing on establishing Marxist views of religion will be carried out among Party members in rural areas in Zhejiang, while Party members will need to submit a written promise rejecting religion beliefs

This comes after the CPC banned textbooks “promoting Western values” from all schools last week, as well as any material criticising the party’s leadership.

In a further crack-down on religion, Zhejiang officials recently demolished several churches in Wenzhou, a city with roughly 1 million Christians out of 8 million residents, and often referred to as "China's Jerusalem."

However, the CPC, which remains an atheist organisation, claims to formally recognizes Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestantism and Catholicism.

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