Enter the “Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy”: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid - Corrispondenza romana
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Enter the “Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy”: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

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(Massimo Introvigne, Bitterwinter.org – February 11, 2021) Here we are. Announced in November, and as usually published for collecting “comments” that never change anything substantial, the new “Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy” will come into force on May 1.

They create an Orwellian system of surveillance, and strengthen the already strict control on all clergy. The tool is a national data base of the authorized clergy, meaning clergy trained and recognized by the Five Authorized Religions

The CCP-controlled organizations for Protestant Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, and Taoism constituting the red market.

 


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There is a complicated system to enter the data base, but those who are out of it and will claim to be clergy will commit a crime. This includes pastors of the Protestant House Churches

(家庭教會). Protestant Chinese Churches (some may have millions of members, so that the label house Churches may be somewhat misleading, as is the alternative translation “family churches”) that refuse to join the government-controlled Three Self Church. The majority of Chinese Protestants belong to the house churches. Part of the gray market (except those the CCP decides to label as xie jiao, thus moving them to the black market), they are increasingly persecuted under the new Regulation on Religious Affairs.

Those Catholics, particularly priests and bishops, who refuse to join the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association for reasons of conscience, although joining the Patriotic Association is both allowed and regulated by the Vatican Guidelines of 2019. The Guidelines, although not specifically encouraging this choice, declare it a legitimate option and ask other Catholics to “respect” it.


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An agreement signed on September 22, 2018, whose text is kept secret, under which the Vatican and the CCP agree to cooperate in the selection of bishops (who will be ultimately and formally appointed by the Pope) of a united Catholic Church in China. In the Vatican’s interpretation, it should lead to the gradual merger of the Underground Catholic Church into the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, although the Vatican Guidelines of 2019 allows Catholic conscientious objectors to remain outside of the Patriotic Association for reasons of conscience.

CPCA, Patriotic Catholic Church, 中國天主教愛國會). Part of the red market, it was established in 1957 by Catholics loyal to the CCP as a government-controlled Catholic Church separated from the Vatican, which promptly excommunicated its leaders and declared it schismatic. After the Vatican-China Deal of 2018, the Vatican started considering the CPCA and the Underground Catholic Church as one and the same Chinese Catholic Church. The Vatican Guidelines of 2019 allow Catholics Bishops and priests to join the CPCA, if necessary by expressing orally or in writing reservations about the wording of the declarations they may nonetheless sign when joining. However, the same guidelines call for “respect” for those Catholic conscientious objectors who would refuse to join the CPCA.

Teachers and clergy at independent mosques and Buddhist and Taoist temples, Jewish rabbis (as Judaism is not one of the Five Authorized Religions


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The CCP-controlled organizations for Protestant Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, and Taoism constituting the red market.

To be registered in the data base, it is not enough to be proficient in one of the authorized religions. The clergy should prove that they “support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and support the socialist system” (article 3: note that this article is repeatedly mentioned in the Measures as the key to the whole regulation), and cooperate in the fight against the Xie Jiao

(邪教). Often incorrectly translated as “evil cults,” the expression xie jiao (which has been used since the late Ming era) means “heterodox teachings” and indicates the religious movements included in the list of the xie jiao, which  the government regards as hostile to the CCP, dangerous, and not “really” religious. Xie jiao are prohibited, constitute the black market of Chinese religion, and being active in a xie jiao is punished with severe jail penalties under Article 300.

Things do not end when a clergy is registered in the data base. It is difficult to be registered, easy to lose the registration. As for being registered, a clergy will have special problems if s/he is part of the “high clergy” (provisions are stricter), particularly Tibetan Buddhist, or Roman Catholic. Tibetan Buddhists

Buddhism is the religion of the overwhelming majority of Tibetans (78%). Tibet, an independent state based on the monastic structure of Buddhism, was occupied by Communist China in 1950 and gradually transformed into an “autonomous” region of China. The CCP then promoted massive immigration of Han Chinese into Tibet, where they now constitute a sizable percentage of the population (with statistics being politically manipulated and a matter of controversy), limited the practice of Buddhism and the use of Tibetan language, and tried to impose CCP-appointed Buddhist leaders. Some Tibetan organizations abroad denounce these practices as a forced sinicization of Tibet and even a form of “cultural genocide.”

Are reminded by article 15 that they should respect the principle that any reincarnation of a lama should be authorized by the CCP

It stands for Chinese Communist Party, which from 1949 controls all social and political life in China. Members of CCP should in principle be self-proclaimed atheists. The ultimate goal of CCP is suppression of religion. However, how this goal is achieved has varied during time, and after Chairman Mao’s death the CCP has acknowledged that, notwithstanding its efforts, religions may survive in China for a long time.

 (we discussed this bizarre system in a previous article in Bitter Winter). In a slap of the face of the Vatican, Catholics are told by article 16 that bishops in China should be democratically elected through the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association

CPCA, Patriotic Catholic Church, 中國天主教愛國會). Part of the red market, it was established in 1957 by Catholics loyal to the CCP as a government-controlled Catholic Church separated from the Vatican, which promptly excommunicated its leaders and declared it schismatic. After the Vatican-China Deal of 2018, the Vatican started considering the CPCA and the Underground Catholic Church as one and the same Chinese Catholic Church. The Vatican Guidelines of 2019 allow Catholics Bishops and priests to join the CPCA, if necessary by expressing orally or in writing reservations about the wording of the declarations they may nonetheless sign when joining. However, the same guidelines call for “respect” for those Catholic conscientious objectors who would refuse to join the CPCA.

It stands for Chinese Communist Party, which from 1949 controls all social and political life in China. Members of CCP should in principle be self-proclaimed atheists. The ultimate goal of CCP is suppression of religion. However, how this goal is achieved has varied during time, and after Chairman Mao’s death the CCP has acknowledged that, notwithstanding its efforts, religions may survive in China for a long time.

An agreement signed on September 22, 2018, whose text is kept secret, under which the Vatican and the CCP agree to cooperate in the selection of bishops (who will be ultimately and formally appointed by the Pope) of a united Catholic Church in China. In the Vatican’s interpretation, it should lead to the gradual merger of the Underground Catholic Church into the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, although the Vatican Guidelines of 2019 allows Catholic conscientious objectors to remain outside of the Patriotic Association for reasons of conscience.

Once registered, the clergy enters an Orwellian world whether loyalty to the CCP

It stands for Chinese Communist Party, which from 1949 controls all social and political life in China. Members of CCP should in principle be self-proclaimed atheists. The ultimate goal of CCP is suppression of religion. However, how this goal is achieved has varied during time, and after Chairman Mao’s death the CCP has acknowledged that, notwithstanding its efforts, religions may survive in China for a long time.

It stands for Chinese Communist Party, which from 1949 controls all social and political life in China. Members of CCP should in principle be self-proclaimed atheists. The ultimate goal of CCP is suppression of religion. However, how this goal is achieved has varied during time, and after Chairman Mao’s death the CCP has acknowledged that, notwithstanding its efforts, religions may survive in China for a long time.

It stands for Chinese Communist Party, which from 1949 controls all social and political life in China. Members of CCP should in principle be self-proclaimed atheists. The ultimate goal of CCP is suppression of religion. However, how this goal is achieved has varied during time, and after Chairman Mao’s death the CCP has acknowledged that, notwithstanding its efforts, religions may survive in China for a long time.