A Chinese communist official has stressed that state controls over religion aim to prevent unwarranted foreign interference while seeming to concede that the process of localization might take longer than some people think.
Wang Zuoan, deputy minister of the party’s United Front Work Department, insisted there must be Communist Party leadership in relation to religious practice taking into account “geopolitical” factors. He said Sinicization sought to turn “religions in China” into “religions of China.”
Regarding Catholicism, Wang focused on the official requirement for the China Church to be autonomous from foreign powers in order to allow for “self-electing” of bishops and converting “underground forces” into being loyal to the state.
According to one Catholic, who identified himself as John, believed that the communist regime continues to see the underground church community as an enemy and regards the Vatican as a foreign power without directly naming it. He said that having real authority to freely carry out pastoral activities was more in “Rome’s imagination” than reflective of current realities in China.