• Directory of Taiwan

'Love country and party': Taiwan criticizes China for religious persecution

New rules demand loyalty from religious clergy in China

The Catholic Church of the Saviour in Beijing 

The Catholic Church of the Saviour in Beijing  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan has called on the international community to hold Beijing accountable for religious persecution after the Chinese authorities recently rolled out new rules that require religious groups to be patriotic and loyal to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

China’s National Religious Affairs Administration on Feb. 9 announced its newly drafted Measures for the Administration of Religious Personnel, which will go into effect May 1.

Beijing’s mouthpiece the Global Times said the regulations are aimed at preventing religious clergy from being “influenced by overseas forces or get[ting] involved with activities that jeopardize ethnic unity or national security.”

In addition to outlining the qualifications and rights of religious personnel, the new rules demand that practitioners “ardently love their motherland, uphold the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership, and adhere to the socialist system.”

In addition, the party expects religious groups to make maintaining national and "ethnic unity," social stability, as well as national security part of their duties.

By commanding all religious officials to “love the motherland and worship communist leadership & socialism,” Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) tweeted, “The #CCP is the GOD of religions in #China!” He called on the international community to take action to stop China’s religious persecution.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said on Thursday (Feb. 25) that the ministry has been closely following the Chinese authorities’ deteriorating records on religious freedom and human rights protection. The Taiwanese government will continue strengthening collaborations with the Vatican and the Catholic Church to promote religious freedom, she added.

The Holy See is one of Taiwan’s 15 allies and the only one in Europe. Its relationship with China has warmed in recent years following a pact that would allow Beijing to appoint Catholic bishops in China.