|Desiree Sison |||Feb 03, 2015 08:38 AM EST|
(Photo : Reuters)
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has barred religious believers from joining the Party, declaring that it will step up its implementation of a long-standing rule prohibiting religious 'addicts' from entering China's ruling party.
Reports said China's latest move comes in the wake of the widely reported efforts of Chinese authorities to strengthen the Party's ideological values and standing in Chinese universities and various media entities.
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Last week, the Chinese education minister announced the banning of textbooks promoting Western ideas and concepts in university classrooms in a bid to tighten its ideological hold on students and professors.
Already, several professors who spoke against the communist party leadership were fired while some have been arrested and charged for violations of Chinese rules.
The CCP leadership of Zhejiang province has reportedly started implementing the ban against members of the faith from joining its ranks, which according to one Party-affiliated university, was a move to guard against 'penetration of western hostile forces.'
Chinese students in universities have staged rallies recently, wanting to put a stop to the celebration of Christmas festivities on Chinese campuses, a move that was upported by Zhejiang authorities.
The Zhejiang party committee leaders have called on all members to organize their groups and conduct activities where members in their areas renounce their religious beliefs.
The ban against religious believers joining the ruling party has long been in place but its execution has been loosely enforced. The party has 84 million members most of whom were still in school and had no political leanings when they entered the party.
Entrance to the party is a tough one and very competitive. An applicant has to undergo several tests before they can make it in.
Over the years, China has conducted numerous crackdowns on the Chinese people practicing their religious beliefs outside religions that are sanctioned by the state. China only recognizes five 'official' religions: Catholicism, Taoism, Buddhism, Islam and Protestantism.
Christianity has made its way to the Chinese population and has seen tremendous growth in the country with more than 200 churches in the Zhejiang city of Wengzou alone.
But Party officials have also taken a hard line against the influence of western concepts and ideas, which China perceived as foreign and 'dangerous.' Concepts such as free speech and multiparty elections have been attacked by Chinese leaders and state-owned media, with Christianity suffering in the sidelines.
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