After Branding Christianity a ‘National Security’ Threat, China Moves to ‘Sinicize’ Religion


The Chinese Communist Party (CPC) Congress this week has largely focused on the development of Chinese “exceptionalism,” the development of “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” and the imposition of uniform identity through a sense of cultural and national superiority.

Far from the scope of free religious expression is “Xi Jinping Thought,” the colloquial name for the ideology the Chinese president has now formally enshrined into the CPC’s constitution. At the congress this week, the head of the umbrella agency that supervises religion insisted that “socialist core values” must be at the heart of any religious faith active in China.

Zhang Yijiong, the head of the United Front Work Department (UFWD), explained on Friday that the Communist Party had a long way to go to “sinicize religion”—make it more Chinese. This required, Zhang argued, harsh measures to prevent anyone from “taking advantage of religion to harm national security,” “promoting extremism for terrorist activities,” and “endangering national unity,” according to the Diplomat.

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