February 23, 2015
Religious Liberty in China: The Key to a Stable, Peaceful, and Harmonious Order

by Doug Bandow

Christianity is thriving in China. Reports that there may be more religious believers than Communist Party members has made Beijing unsure how to respond. Beijing’s sensitivities to religion are well known. Government secular ideology sees religion as offering a competitive worldview to the hegemony of the Party, with legitimate fears that many Christians, especially Catholics, have loyalties beyond China’s borders. Religion brings people together in ways that might eventually influence politics.

In its early days the People’s Republic of China responded harshly to religious activity, but official policy has moderated over time. There is an increasing amount of reluctant toleration of religious belief. However, there isn’t one national approach. The treatment of religious believers varies regionally. For instance, lately authorities in Wenzhou, sometimes called the “Jerusalem of China,” have enforced more restrictions than have many other cities and provinces.

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