China commands that even retired officials shun religion

Originally prepared by Reuters Staff

Chinese officials who are also Communist Party officials are banned from religious activities even when they have retired, and must also oppose what the government terms cults, state media said on Friday.

China’s constitution proclaims freedom of belief, but in reality the officially atheist ruling Communist Party keeps a tight rein over religious activities and officials who are party members are not supposed to practise religion.

In an explanation of new rules published by major state newspapers, the party’s powerful Organisation Department, which oversees personnel decisions, said retired officials who were also party members had to follow these rules too.

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