Chinese president Xi Jinping is asking leaders in the country to work to reassert the Communist Party of China as the controlling religion in the country.
Jinping’s speech came during the national conference on religion this month in Beijing. According to ChristianityToday.com, it was his first speech on religion since he took the top post in 2012.
In the speech, Xi mentioned possibly regulating religion with legislation. If that’s the case, Brent Fulton writes in a column for Christianity Today, that legislation could be a “two-edged sword.”
“In the future, local abuses … could be effectively addressed by laws that put some teeth into China’s constitutional guarantee of religious freedom,” he said.
“On the other hand, in the current atmosphere of social tightening, new laws could be used to further restrict the activities of Chinese believers,” he added.
Fulton pointed to the recent case of Ding Cuimei and her pastor husband, who were buried as they tried to stop their Chinese church from being bulldozed. Ding’s husband managed to survive. Ding suffocated to death.
Also in his speech, Jinping asked religious groups to “dig deep into doctrines and canons that are in line with social harmony and progress … and interpret religious doctrines in a way that is conducive to modern China’s progress and in line with our excellent traditional culture.”