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Chinese official confident atheist Communist Party can "unite God's followers"


15:40, September 22, 2011

BEIJING, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- A former top religious affairs official said Wednesday that he is confident that the atheist Communist Party of China (CPC) can unite people with different religious beliefs under the party's policies that dictate freedom of worship.

Ye Xiaowen, former head of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, said at a Beijing human rights forum that foreigners who are skeptical about China's human rights record often ask him questions regarding the feasibility of uniting people with different religious beliefs under an atheist ruling party.

Ye, who is now the vice chairman of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, said that atheists and religious believers in China share the same political and economic interests.

"As long as we are united politically and have mutual respect regarding spiritual beliefs, religion can play a positive role in social harmony," Ye said.

The vast majority of the country's 100 million religious adherents are Buddhists, Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Taoists, according to government statistics. Ethnic regions such as the Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have particularly high proportions of religious people.

China's ruling party needs support from the country's numerous religious followers, as religion has the ability to play a positive role in creating social harmony, Ye said.

The party is committed to safeguarding the basic rights of the masses, including the right to worship freely, he added.

"Religion will last for a long time, outliving countries and states," Ye said. "This is also true in a Communist country, so Communists as materialists should respect this simple truth and govern religious affairs with foresight."

Ye occupied the top post of China's religious affairs administration for ten years and was one of several officials who participated in the enthronement ceremony of the 11th Panchen Lama in 1995.

The fourth Beijing Forum on Human Rights opened in Beijing on Wednesday with a focus on human dignity and the diversity of culture and values. Over 100 Chinese and foreign human rights experts attended the forum.


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wende at 2011-09-2371.255.83.*
PD should not even mention "atheist" in this article. The whole thing look askewed. It would be enough to just say that China upholds freedom of religion and helps the different religions together.

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