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China president's call for a 'forceful' religion stirs Christian fears

Many wonder: Does this foreshadow a faith wholly-controlled by state-appointed clergy?

President of China Xi Jinping

John Mok Chit Wai, from Chinese University of Hong Kong, highlights President Xi’s intentions toward religions, which should have no autonomy, and submit to the party. For some, this is the beginning of a "Second Cultural Revolution" to “decimate the religions”.

The keynote speech Xi Jinping gave last week on religions has generated many comments with different nuances and positions.

Most commentators see the speech as the usual “old wine in new bottle".  Conversely, some pro-Beijing commentators have praised it because it finally recognised the “separation between state and religion”, and shows religions some respect since, in his speech, Xi uses the term Yindao "(引導), to channel, and not" Zhidao "(指導), which indicates a more heavy-handed leadership role.

AsiaNews has asked John Mok Chit Wai, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, for a comment. AsiaNews has already published a memorable piece he penned after  Asia Times published an interview with Pope Francis on Chinese New Year.

Reading Xi Jinping’s speech, I am quite doubtful about these views. It is true that "yindao"(引導) can be seen to have a softer tone than "zhidao"(指導). While both terms mean "to guide", "yindao" is more like "to channel", while "zhidao" has a meaning of "to instruct".  But one should also note that "yindao" also has the meaning of "to lead". The differentiation is not concrete, as "yindao" does not necessarily indicate "a reaction".

This article continues at [Asia News] Xi Jinping and religions: the Party must lead “effectively” and “forcefully”

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