The Houston Chronicle ^ | January 25, 2008 | By Edward Cody
Posted on 01/26/2008 7:02:04 AM PST by JACKRUSSELL
Confirmation of the word of the Lord spoken here on this website over two years ago that communist china would end its persecution of Christians because the military resources are needed to infiltrate watch and control Muslims in China that have already over thrown several provinces and are continuing to expand their grip within communist china.
Hu's display of holiday courtesy to Liu Bainian, general secretary of the Chinese Patriotic
Catholic Association, was one in a series of recent signals that
The move away from traditional Marxist attitudes evolved from Hu's campaign for what he calls "a harmonious socialist society." The concept, in effect an appeal for good behavior, was designed to replace the moral void left when the party long ago jettisoned historical Chinese values and, more recently, loosened the zipped-tight social strictures of communism under Mao Zedong. Religion, the party has decided, can also be useful in encouraging social harmony because it urges its followers to hew to a moral code.
"We must take full advantage of the positive role that religious figures and believers among the masses can play in promoting economic and social development," Jia Qinglin, a member of the Politburo's Standing Committee, told a meeting of government-connected religious officials Wednesday.
Hu presided over a special Politburo study session
last month on the expanding role of religion in
In a speech to the group, Hu seemed to break with that tradition, suggesting the moral force of religion can be harnessed for the good of the party. "We must strive to closely unite religious figures and believers among the masses around the party and government," he said, according to the official account, "and struggle together with them to build an all-around moderately prosperous society while quickening the pace toward the modernization of socialism."
Liu, the Christian leader shown in the photo with Hu, noted that the president also for the first time included discussion of religion in the party's 17th National Congress in October. Religion should no longer be considered sabotage of the party's economic and social plans, Hu told fellow party members, but rather a positive force that can be enlisted to help put the plans into effect.
"This tells people what the party's attitude toward religion is," Liu said. "The party is now more concerned about the active role that religion can play in society."
The number of religious believers in
Most of those professing belief said they identified with
"Religion has become such an important concept in
Part of the problem, Chan said, is that government decisions have traditionally been based on reports from the State Administration for Religious Affairs and local-level religious affairs bureaus, which often have their own interests in land or other issues connected to churches. In addition, many bureaucrats in the religion administrations ended up there after being demobilized from the military with little to go on other than Marxist doctrine.
"It's a dumping ground," Chan said.
Anthony Lam of the Holy Spirit Study Center in Hong Kong, who has studied
the church in
Over the years, he added, the party's treatment of believers has varied, but its overall attitude is that religion, particularly Christianity and Islam, is a portal through which foreign ideas and loyalties can make their way into Chinese society.
In the same vein, Ren Yanli,
a religion specialist at the government-sponsored
Nonetheless, government controls over religious activity have loosened
markedly in recent years. Political connotations, such as those attached to
Despite the trend,
In recent months, the momentum toward friendly
But behind the scenes, Patriotic Catholic Association churches and local
religious affairs bureaus have proved to be formidable obstacles, according to
a knowledgeable religious source. Their positions — often including state
salaries, apartments and prestige — would be endangered if the church fell
Pope Benedict XVI displayed eagerness to mend the split soon after taking
Only a strong Chinese leader willing to take a bold initiative could shake the situation loose, Lam predicted, and Hu has never been noted for that kind of leadership.
The handshake in the tea-party photo, he noted, was with a leader of the
government-run patriotic church, not a Vatican-approved bishop.