China Emphasizes ‘Sinicization of Religion’ at Annual Congress

Delegates leave the Great Hall of the People following the opening session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Sunday.

BEIJING — China’s policy on religion continues to adhere to the direction of the “Sinicization of religion” and actively guide religions to adapt to a socialist society, according to a Chinese government work report released Sunday at the ongoing National People’s Congress.

It seems certain that during the Xi Jinping administration’s third term, China will continue to clamp down on Tibetans who are believers of Tibetan Buddhism and the predominantly Muslim Uighur people.

“Sinicization of religion,” meaning prioritizing loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party over religious beliefs, was first proposed by Xi in 2015.

Since then, under the name of Sinicization, mosques and churches that do not follow the party’s guidance have been torn down. In Qingdao in Shandong Province, local authorities announced last year that Islamic institutions would be renovated in a Chinese style.