China may rewrite the Bible 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 no specific books were mentioned, party officials 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.
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.
November’s meeting took place as China faced global criticism over its religious policy.