PUBLISHED: 11:40 GMT, 24 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:21 GMT, 26 December 2019 in dailymail.co.uk
will rewrite the Bible and Quran to ‘reflect socialist values’ amid crackdown on the country’s religious groups, a report has revealed.
New editions must not contain any content that goes against the beliefs of the Communist Party, according to a top party official. Paragraphs deemed wrong by the censors will be amended or re-translated.
Though the Bible and Quran were not mentioned specifically, the party called for a ‘comprehensive evaluation of the existing religious classics aiming at contents which do not conform to the progress of the times’.
The order was given in November during a meeting held by the Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which oversees the ethnic and religious matters in China.
China’s President Xi Jinping gestures as he attends a variety show in Macau earlier this month. A Chinese official stressed in November that religious authorities must follow President Xi’s instructions and interpret the ideologies of different religions in accordance with ‘the core values of Socialism’ and ‘the requirements of the era’
A group of 16 experts, believers and representatives of different religions from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China attended the conference in last month, according to Xinhua News Agency.
The meeting was supervised by Wang Yang, Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
Mr Wang stressed that religious authorities must follow President Xi’s instructions and interpret the ideologies of different religions in accordance with ‘the core values of Socialism’ and ‘the requirements of the era’, French newspaper Le Figaro reported yesterday.
He urged the officials to build ‘a religious system with Chinese characteristics’.
The officials agreed with Mr Wang’s directives, adding that the mission ‘is the choice of history’.
They also claimed that by ‘re-evaluating’ religious books, they would prevent ‘extreme thoughts’ and ‘heretical ideas’ from eroding the country.
The news comes as China faces widespread criticism over its policy against Muslims. UN experts and activists have claimed that at least one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in the detention centres in Xinjiang in western China. Pictured, a Muslim Uighur woman walks with her son past security forces in the town of Kashgar, Xinjiang, in April, 2008
November’s meeting took place as China faced global criticism over its religious policy.
Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International, told MailOnline today: ‘[The censorship plans] show how manipulative the Chinese government is, hypocritically allowing certain religions to operate in China but only strictly with what content the Chinese government allows.
‘In many ways, the Chinese government’s control, including censorship of the Bible and the Quran, has twisted the doctrines of these religious texts and thus the religions. There is simply no genuine religious freedom.’
A cache of leaked documents has shown how the Chinese government run a system of re-education centres to indoctrinate its Muslim people in the far-western province of Xinjiang.
The documents, which include guidelines for operating detention centres and instructions for how to use technology to target people, reveal that the camps in Xinjiang are not for voluntary job training, as Beijing has claimed.
UN experts and activists have claimed that at least one million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held in the detention centres in the region.
A perimeter fence is constructed around what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng in Xinjiang in China’s far west region. Activists have claimed that the number of Muslim detainees in China could greatly exceed the commonly cited figure
Satellite images purported to show the camps where Muslim minorities are held in Xinjiang
Former detainees claimed that Muslims were forced to eat pork and speak Mandarin in those internment camps.
After initially denying their existence, China acknowledged that it had opened ‘vocational education centres’ in Xinjiang aimed at preventing extremism by teaching Mandarin and job skills.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in November that the leaked documents proved that Chinese authorities were engaged in massive and systemic repression of Muslims and other minorities.
China’s foreign ministry remained dismissive, with spokesman Geng Shuang on Monday accusing ‘some media’ of ‘smearing China’s counter-terrorism and anti-extremism efforts in Xinjiang’.
The Chinese embassy in London denied such documents existed, telling the Guardian, one of the partners in publishing the memos, they were ‘pure fabrication and fake news’.