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IV. The Role of Religious Groups Has Been Fully Developed
国务院新闻办公室网站 www.scio.gov.cn   2018-04-03   来源:国新网
  

China's Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief

The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China

April 2018

Contents

Preamble

I. Basic Policies in Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief

II. Legal Guarantees for Freedom of Religious Belief

III. Conducting Religious Activities in an Orderly Manner

IV. The Role of Religious Groups Has Been Fully Developed

V. Active and Healthy Religious Relations

Conclusion

IV. The Role of Religious Groups Has Been Fully Developed

China encourages all religions to keep pace with the times and adapt to the socialist society, and contribute to economic growth, social harmony, cultural prosperity, ethnic solidarity and national unification.

Making efforts to interpret religious teachings and rules which conform to the national conditions and demands of the times. In the course of their development, religions in China have blended with traditional Chinese culture and adapted to the actual needs of social development. Chinese religious groups must conduct religious activities in the Chinese context, practice core socialist values, carry forward the fine traditions of the Chinese nation, and actively explore religious thought which conforms to the reality in China. While maintaining their basic beliefs, core religious teachings and etiquette system, the Buddhist and Taoist communities hold sermons, the Islamic community carries out work interpreting the classics, the Catholic community encourages the running of its religious work in a democratic manner, and the Protestant community conducts theological construction, all in an attempt to interpret religious teachings and rules to conform to the national conditions and demands of the times. The Buddhist community integrates patriotism with love of religion, focusing more on worldly concerns, promoting Buddhism to benefit all living creatures, public charity, and cultural exchange. The Taoist community is committed to promoting its religious principles such as “respecting the Tao and valuing morality”, “Tao follows nature”, “being quiet and serene”, and “embracing simplicity and wisdom”, to help carry forward and promote traditional Chinese culture. The Islamic community focuses on interpreting the thoughts in its religious doctrine of patriotism, peace, unity, tolerance and the Middle Path, serving to form correct belief, discerning right from wrong, opposing secession, and resisting religious extremism. The Catholic community actively promotes the localization of churches, managing church activities and making decisions in a democratic manner. The Protestant community draws nourishment from traditional Chinese culture, helping to foster mutual respect and harmony between Protestants and believers of all faiths so as to allow Protestantism to better integrate into modern Chinese society.

Actively engaging in public charity activities. Since 2012, based on “Opinions on Encouraging and Regulating Religious Circles’ Participation in Public Welfare Charitable Activities”, religious groups have carried out an annual “Religious Charity Week”; with total donations exceeding one billion yuan. They have also held prayer services following the Wenchuan earthquake and other major disasters and incidents, utilized available resources to help the Sandu Shui Autonomous County, Guizhou Province to eliminate poverty, made donations to education in various forms, funded professional medical institutions to provide free services, subsidized medical treatment for disadvantaged groups, and carried out a range of activities to help the elderly and disabled by establishing nursing homes for the elderly and rehabilitation centers for the disabled. According to preliminary statistics, religious groups have established more than 400 nursing homes offering approximately 29,000 beds. They also advocate a “green environment” philosophy. Buddhist and Taoist communities have called for environmentally friendly forms of burning incense and freeing captive animals, and have constructed eco-friendly temples.

Conscientiously resisting extremism. Faced by the challenge of religious extremism to the bottom line of human civilization, religious groups have taken a clear stand and drawn a line against extremists, fully advocating correct belief and behavior, and fighting resolutely against the use of terrorist violence and instigation of separatism in the name of religion. In January 2013, eminent monks, experts and scholars of Buddhism of Chinese tradition, Tibetan tradition and Theravada tradition convened a meeting to call on all Buddhists to become more active in preaching to their believers about the correct outlook on life and opposing extremist behaviors such as self-immolation or the incitement of others to do so, which violate Buddhist teachings and discipline. In May 2014, the China Islamic Association released a proposal entitled “Keep to the Middle Path and Steer Clear of Extremism”, whereby well-known Islamic figures across the country condemned violent terrorist activities. In July 2016, the China Religious Culture Communication Association and the China Islamic Association held the International Seminar on the Islamic Middle Path in Urumqi, advocating the role of the Middle Path in opposing extremism. In December 2017, national religious groups jointly issued a proposal calling for religious communities to enhance their abilities to distinguish, guard against and resist the encroachment of cults, and maintain social harmony and stability.

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