Chinese Communist Party 'Members' Increasingly Attend Church

August 1, 2012 - 10:58 AM

Chinese Communist Party

Members raise their hands at a Chinese Communist Party Central Committee meeting in Beijing. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – More Communist Party members in the Peoples Republic of China are attending church, according to the U.S. State Department’s latest report on International Religious Freedom.

“Although CCP members are required to be atheists and generally are discouraged from participating in religious activities, their attendance at official church services in Guangdong Province was reportedly growing, as authorities increasingly chose to turn a blind eye to their attendance,” the report stated.

Representative Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who authored the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, backed up claims that more Chinese Communists as well as members of the media are becoming Christians, despite continuing religious repression in China.

“It is definitely taking place around the country,” Wolf told CNSNews.com. “There’s a large number of Chinese who have become Christian, there are a number of people in the government and even some in the media who have become Christians.”

Wolf said he also hears first-hand reports: “I actually had somebody come by my office who was connected to the Chinese government, who had become a Christian. So it is a fairly common thing when governments crack down the way that they’re cracking down,” he said.

Wolf said he believes the Communist regime will ultimately collapse as more Chinese embrace religion.

“I think you’re having the faith community growing, both the Catholic Church, the Protestant Church, growing fairly dramatically -- having a major impact. And I think it is impacting on many government officials, although when that takes place they do it in a very private way,” Wolf told CNSNews.com.

“But it is taking place, that’s why I think you’re going to see the ultimate collapse of the Chinese government because of the faith community growing so dramatically.”

The International Religious Freedom Report, released on July 30, also noted that in 2011, there was a “marked deterioration” of religious freedom in China.

The report discussed the persecution of religious groups, including Christians, Uighur Muslims, Catholics and Tibetan Buddhists:

“Some religious and spiritual groups are outlawed. Tibetan Buddhists in China are not free to venerate the Dalai Lama and encounter severe government interference in religious practice,” the report said.

“The government continued to severely repress Muslims living in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and other parts of China. Crackdowns on Christian house churches, such as the Shouwang church in Beijing, continued.”

The report also noted that Chinese authorities broke up Christmas and Easter celebrations and designated many Christian groups as “evil cults.” Authorities also detained numerous Uighur Muslims without bothering to discern between peaceful worship and criminal activity.

Many Catholic clergymen who remain loyal to the Vatican instead of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) also have been detained by the Communist regime.

Most recently, Rev. Thaddeus Ma Daquin resigned from the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association on July 7. Immediately following Rev. Ma’s announcement, authorities apprehended him and he has since been confined to the Sheshan monastery outside Shanghai.

The Chinese constitution permits the citizenry to hold religious beliefs, but restricts the practicing and worship of religion to “normal religious activities”—a term that is left undefined by the constitution.

Since 1999, China has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a “Country of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.