The Communist Party of China has issued a warning to all its members to give up religion and "be firm Marxist atheists" or face punishment, Chinese media reported.
"Party members should not have religious beliefs, which is a red line for all members".
The party is officially atheist but the Constitution of China explicitly allows "freedom of religious belief".
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Wang's permanent ban on religion for CPC members, while new, conforms exactly to the rules of the party, which has investigated and expelled high ranking members for religious belief or support of religion in the past. The Party has often demanded the expulsion of members who belong to religious organizations. "Party members should be firm Marxist atheists, obey Party rules and stick to the Party's faith ... they are not allowed to seek value and belief in religion", Wang stated further.
While Wang's comments are in line with longstanding official policy, in recent years "the party has by and large exhibited a cautious tolerance towards religion", says the Times of India. CPC members believe Xinjiang, among other autonomous regions, requires even more work to be made to conform to Wang's mandate, Su Wei, professor of the Party School of the CPC Chongqing Committee, told the Global Times. "We should guide religious groups and individuals with socialist core values and excellent traditional Chinese culture and support religious groups to dig into their doctrines to find parts that are beneficial to social harmony and development".
Wang also said that in order to "infiltrate China", some "foreign forces" are using religion which is posing a threat to the national security and social stability of the country..
Another government official said that party unity is damaged and the party's "values based on dialectical materialism" take a hit when its officials have religious faith.
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