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Freedom of religion in the People's Republic of China - Essay Example

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Both believers and non-believers are living in harmony in China. There are no incidents of clashes between believers and non -believers or believers of different religions as in the case of some other countries…
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Freedom of religion in the Peoples Republic of China
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Freedom of religion in China Freedom of religion in China Slavoj Zizek (2007) reported for The New York Times d 11 October 2007) that China iscurrently trying to control religious freedom even after the death of the people. He has pointed out that China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs announced Order No. 5, which deals with “the management measures for the reincarnation of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism. This “important move to institutionalize management on reincarnation” basically prohibits Buddhist monks from returning from the dead without government permission”(Zizek, 2007). As in the case of other communist countries, religious freedom is not allowed in China also. According to Karl Marx, religion is a narcotic drug which destroys the consciousness of human. So, the importance of religion and belief in God is unacceptable in the social life of people in communist countries. This paper analyses how religion is controlled by the government of China. Governmental control over religion in China Both believers and non-believers are living in harmony in China. There are no incidents of clashes between believers and non -believers or believers of different religions as in the case of some other countries. In other words, religious extremism is not allowed in China. The government has formulated certain laws for the sites of religious activities in order to ensure that all religious activities are strictly in accordance with the interests of the government. The Regulations specify: Sites for religious activities shall be run independently by the administrative organizations thereof, whose lawful rights and interests and normal religious activities at the sites shall be protected by law. No organization or individual may violate or interfere with such rights, interests or activities. Anyone who encroaches on the lawful rights and interests of the sites for religious activities shall bear legal responsibilities. Religious activities conducted at the sites, however, must conform to laws and regulations (The Present Conditions of Religion in China, 2012). “China has over 100 million believers of various kinds of religions” (Xiaowen, 2001). Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestantism, and Catholicism are some of the prominent religions in China even though overall freedom of these religions is restricted by the Chinese government. “These official religions are essentially branches of the government, rather than independent organizations”(Dubois, 2011). In other words these religions do not have their own identity; government determines what to do and not to do as far as the activities of the religion are concerned. It should be noted that communist party members are disallowed from believing in any type of religion or religious beliefs. They are primarily atheists. However, ordinary people can believe in religion in a restricted manner. Chinese constitution provides freedom to people whether to believe or not to believe in religions; “however, the Government sought to restrict religious practice to government-sanctioned organizations and registered places of worship and to control the growth and scope of the activity of religious groups” (Freedom of religion in China, 2004). In other words, as in the case of religions in other countries, Chinese religions cannot operate freely or spread their beliefs to the communities in China. It should be noted that the faith in religions is growing day by day in china amidst all governmental restrictions upon religions. Government knows this fact very well. However, government is keen in preventing religions from operating outside its control. Communist government in China knows that religions can create problems to administration if they were allowed to function outside the control of the government. As in the case of other countries, Chinese government allows religions to operate schools in China. However, these religions are not allowed to teach religious beliefs and principles in their schools. “Religion is not a subject taught in schools of the popular education in China, although some institutions of higher learning and research institutes do teach or conduct research into religion” (The Present Conditions of Religion in China, 2012). Chinese authorities are of the view that independent thoughts should be cultivated in the minds of younger generation in schools and therefore they are not favoring the teaching of religious topics in schools. Conclusions Chinese constitution allows people to believe or not to believe in religions. Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestantism, and Catholicism are the major religions in China; however, these religions cannot operate freely in China as they do in other countries. Religions are considered to be the branches of the communist government and therefore they cannot operate against the norms of communism. In short, Chinese religions are operating under the tight control of the government and they do not have independent identity. References Dubois T.D. (2011). The Relation Between Religion and Government in China Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-david-dubois/china-religion_b_864469.html Freedom of religion in China (2004). Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – 2003. U.S. Department of State. 3/19/2004. Retrieved from http://www.asianresearch.org/articles/1933.html The Present Conditions of Religion in China, (2012). Retrieved from http://chineseculture.about.com/library/china/whitepaper/blsreligion.htm Xiaowen Y (2001). China's Religions Retrospect and Prospect Retrieved from http://www.china.org.cn/english/features/45466.htm Zizek S (2007). How China got religion? The New York Times. 11 October 2007. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/11/opinion/11zizek.html Read More
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