China: USCIRF accuses authorized religious bodies of being complicit in religious freedom violations
A USCIRF report accuses authorized religious bodies in China of being "complicit" in the sinicization of religious policies and of serving as "relays for the propaganda of the Chinese Communist Party".
The United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has just published a investigation report in which she demonstrates the "complicity in the government's systematic, ongoing, and flagrant violations of religious freedom".
USCIRF refers to the seven state-controlled national religious organizations, known as "Patriotic Religious Associations", which manage the religious affairs of the five officially recognized religions, namely Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam. . These religious groups must register with the government and “are subject to continuous monitoring and control by the seven state-controlled religious organizations, as well as the government and the Chinese Communist Party” (CCP).
“These religious organizations are legally required to be politically loyal to the CCP and to work with the CCP and its government to enact, implement and enforce state laws, regulations and policies,” the commission explains. And according to USCIRF experts, "this complicity extends to the CCP's deeply coercive sinicization of religious policies that have led to serious violations of religious freedom against Muslim-majority Uyghurs and other Turkish groups, Protestant house church Christians and Tibetan Buddhists”.
The report states that "state-controlled religious organizations play a critical role in the government's implementation and enforcement of its 'sinicization of religion' policies." The report points to Article 17 of the 2020 Measures on the Administration of Religious Groups, “which requires such organizations to serve as conduits for CCP propaganda.”
"State-controlled religious organizations remain an integral part of the CCP's institutional control of religion," the report concludes, "these organizations are expected to be absolutely loyal to the CCP, to serve as relays and endorsers of state propaganda and that they facilitate the implementation of the CCP's religious policies, including the deeply coercive policy of Sinicization of religion".
And while it concludes by reaffirming the “complicity” of these state-controlled religious organizations, the report also recalls that they “are also ironically victims of the CCP's religious policies; they are deprived of genuine practice of religion without state interference, and any perceived disloyalty and public disagreement with the CCP and the government carries severe penalties.”