China has barred retired Communist Party officials from believing in any religion or practicing religious activities, according to China’s state-run media.
“There are clear rules that retired cadres and party members cannot believe in religion, cannot take part in religious activities, and must resolutely fight against cults,” said one party official.
He added that retired officials should “maintain a high degree of consistency, in thought, in political views and in action, with the central party committee which is headed by Xi Jinping.”
The newly published rules were released by China’s powerful Organization Department.
While the country’s constitution protects religious freedom, China highly monitors and restricts religious practices. Muslims in Xinjiang, for example, are tightly restricted when it comes to religious activities. The Falun Gong movement is deemed an “evil cult” by the government and has been banned since 1999.
All churches need to be approved by the state, and they are closely watched by the government.
Serving party members are not expected to be religious.