Photo: China’s Qingdao City, Shandong Province, established a “Special Committee To Advance the Sinicization of Christianity” (Courtesy of Qingdao Christianity Website)
(Shandong—April 25, 2023) The government-controlled Christian “patriotic organizations” established a new “Special Committee To Advance the Sinicization of Christianity,” which may be China’s first committee dedicated to promoting the development of Christianity in the Chinese Communist context.
The Qingdao Christian website reported that on the morning of March 16, 2023, the Qingdao City Christian Council held a ceremony to establish a special committee to advance the Sinicization of Christianity. More than 30 people, including the representatives of pastoral ministry, representatives of believers, and expert scholars from Qingdao, attended the ceremony. Officials sent personnel to attend and speak at the inauguration ceremony.
According to some at the ceremony, the committee should adhere to the direction of developing religions in the Chinese context. Those in govern-sanctioned religious groups should then actively guide religions to adapt to a socialist society, also known as Sinicization.
Motivations for the committee
The special committee stemmed its dedication to Sinicization due to President Xi Jinping’s proposal in 2015. Due to his statement, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials formulated a five-year plan.
Xi Jinping’s proposal
At the National Conference on Work Related to Religious Affairs in 2021 and the 20th National People’s Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2022, Xi Jinping made a clear request: “fully and faithfully implement the Party’s policy on freedom of religious belief,” but he immediately added, “adhere to the direction of developing religions in the Chinese context and actively guide religions to adapt to the socialist society.” Xi also proposed specific measures to carry out patriotic education in religious circles and strengthen the ideology of religious people. Emphasis on “cultivating a team of religious people who are adept at the Marxist view of religion.”
With the support of the Chinese government, China has comprehensively promoted the Sinicization of religion, which is in line with the interests of the ruling Communist Party. The official “Sinicization of Christianity Training Course” spread to the entire government-controlled churches in Mainland China.
Watered down Christianity
Commentators familiar with religions believe that the fundamental purpose of the Sinicization of Christianity is to transform and alienate Christianity. The Communist Party hopes to reduce Christianity to the point that it operates as a tool, turning it into “Pseudo-Christianity.”
China’s “practice” of religious freedom is nothing more than a veil. Religious activities are only permitted under the terms of the CCP. The State employs advanced surveillance to ensure that Christian worship services are consistent with the socialist ideology of Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping.
~Gao Zhensai, Special Correspondent of ChinaAid