Religion in China

Religion in China

Chinese Muslims banned from going on individual trips to Mecca
China has introduced new rules banning non-official pilgrimages to Mecca and Muslims wishing to visit the holy site will need to arrange trips with the government.  Observers said the decision was another attempt by the Communist Party to control religious affairs. In rules issued on Monday for the Muslim pilgrimage, known as the haj, the State Administration for Religious Affairs said all such trips to Saudi Arabia must be arranged by the Islamic Association of China, an organization controlled by the party’s international outreach arm, the United Front Work Department. “The association should educate haj attendees on patriotic and safe behavior, strengthen the management of attendees, and
Can Pope Francis and Xi Jinping find common ground?
When Beijing and the Vatican reached a provisional agreement in 2018 over who had the authority to appoint Roman Catholic bishops in China, it signaled a possible breakthrough in a troubled relationship stretching back six decades.  It seems the signals were wrong. Details of the pact – forged after more than three decades of negotiations – have never been made public. Still, the agreement marked the communist state’s first indication it was ready to share some authority with the Pope over control of China’s Catholic Church.  The hope was the agreement would heal a rift from the 1940s, when Beijing kicked the church out of China and started an autonomous Catholic church that operates indepe
Fake resumes expose hiring biases against Muslims in China
A Muslim job seeker in China is less than half as likely to get a response from employers than their Han Chinese counterparts, according to a newly published study.  In an experiment carried out in 2017, researchers sent out more than 4,000 fictitious resumes from candidates identifying themselves by ethnicity – either Han, Hui or Uygur – to companies in major cities across China. The findings were published in December 2019. The Uygur and Hui, the two biggest Muslim-majority groups in the country, received far fewer replies than the ethnic Han job-seekers, according to the study, titled “Anti-muslim bias in the Chinese labor market.”  A Hui applicant is about half as likely to get a callbac
Prominent Chinese pastor sentenced to 9 years in prison
A founding pastor of China’s Early Rain Covenant Church has been sentenced to nine years in jail by a Chinese court for inciting subversion of state power and other crimes. Wang Yi was detained in December 2018 along with other senior figures in the prominent underground Christian church during overnight raids across various districts of Chengdu, the southwestern city where the church was founded. On Monday, the Chengdu Intermediate People’s Court released its judgment, which said the pastor was also convicted of illegal business operations. In addition to the jail term, Wang would be stripped of his political rights for three years. Personal assets valuing $7,000 would also be confiscated.
This is the patron saint of gangsters and police
Hong Kong has a varied cast of ancient deities.  But there is one god so popular that both police and gangsters worship him: Duke Guan, also known as Emperor Guan. He is based on a historical figure, named Guan Yu. Duke Guan features prominently in Hong Kong popular culture, from the famous Young and Dangerous film series to TV dramas. Shrines to Duke Guan are commonly found in restaurants, shops, police stations and even thieves’ lairs. There are also numerous martial temples and shrines dedicated to the deity in Hong Kong, as well as across mainland China, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.  The New Territories, an area in Hong Kong, alone has 13 temples dedicated to Duke Guan, compare
Decoded app exposes how China carries out ‘predictive policing’ in Xinjiang
A report by Human Rights Watch has revealed details of a mobile app being used by authorities in China’s far western region of Xinjiang to identify target groups for enhanced surveillance and monitoring. The document, released on Thursday, sheds light on the technologies – from big data analysis to facial recognition and artificial intelligence – employed by China’s security agencies to build an extensive system for social control in the predominantly Muslim region. The report said it provides “a detailed description and analysis of a mobile app that police and other officials use to communicate with the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP)”. The app analyzes information about local p
Beijing says the Dalai Lama must reincarnate according to Chinese laws
Tibetan Buddhist belief holds that when the Dalai Lama dies, his soul will be reincarnated in the body of a child. China has no problem with that – as long as it’s the right kind of law-abiding child, its foreign ministry said on Tuesday. Historically, successive Dalai Lamas have been found within the borders of Tibet. But that tradition could be coming to an end, since the current spiritual leader of the Tibetan people left China following a 1959 uprising against Communist Party rule. The 14th Dalai Lama, now living in exile in India, said in an interview with Reuters this week that the Chinese government would try to find a successor it approves of. But the 83-year-old said that a truly p
‘One more Christian, one less Chinese’: official vows to rid faith of Western influences
A senior Chinese official who oversees state-sanctioned Christian churches has pledged to rid the Protestant faith in China of any Western “imprint,” calling for further “sinicization” of religion. Xu Xiaohong, chairman of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, a government-controlled body that runs state-approved Protestant churches, on Monday attacked what Beijing perceived as “Western influence.” “[We] must recognize that Chinese churches are surnamed ‘China,’ not ‘the West’,” Xu told delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. “The actions by anti-China forces that attempt to affect our social stabi
China doubles down on bringing religions into line
Beijing has vowed to push ahead with its controversial campaign to “Sinicize religion,” defying growing international condemnation over its sweeping crackdown on Muslims and Christians. Delivering his annual government work report on Tuesday, Premier Li Keqiang told the national legislature that “we must fully implement the [Communist] Party’s fundamental policy on religious affairs and uphold the Sinicization of religion in China.” The push to “Sinicize religion” – introduced by President Xi Jinping in 2015 – is an attempt by the officially atheist party to bring religions under its absolute control and into line with Chinese culture. The campaign has coincided with an intensified clampdow
Inside the Sunning of the Buddha
The Monlam Great Prayer Festival starts three days after the Lunar New Year, which fell this year on February 5, and takes place over almost two weeks. It is considered the most important event of the calendar for Tibetan Buddhists. Every year thousands of visitors and worshippers gather at the Labrang Monastery in Xiahe, in China’s northwestern Gansu province. The monastery, the largest of the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism, is home to China’s greatest number of monks outside of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The celebrations include the Sunning of the Buddha ceremony, in which a vast thangka painting of a Buddha is unveiled on a mountainside for all to see.