State Administration for Religious Affairs
The State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) was a functioning department under the State Council which oversaw religious affairs for the People's Republic of China. Originally created in 1951 as the Religious Affairs Bureau, SARA was closely connected with the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China and charged with overseeing the operations of China's five officially sanctioned religious organizations:
- Buddhist Association of China
- Chinese Taoist Association
- Islamic Association of China
- Three-Self Patriotic Movement (Protestant)
- Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association
|Parent Department||State Council|
|State Administration for Religious Affairs|
The State Administration for Religious Affairs was established to exercise control over religious appointments, the selection of clergy, and the interpretation of religious doctrine. SARA was also meant to ensure that the registered religious organizations support and carry out the policy priorities of the Communist Party of China. For instance, SARA has maintained a "living Buddha database" to track prominent Tibetan Buddhists who are loyal to the Communist Party of China.
Ye Xiaowen directed the SARA from 1995 to 2009. During his tenure, he issued the State Religious Affairs Bureau Order No. 5, which furthered state control over reincarnations in Tibetan Buddhism, and attempted to suppress underground Catholics loyal to Rome (which he considered "colonial") and not to the government-sanctioned Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association. After Ye was promoted to the Secretary of the CPC Committee at the Central Institute of Socialism, the former Deputy Director Wang Zuo'an was promoted to Director. Under the Xi Jinping administration, it was announced in 2018 that SARA was being dissolved and its functions would be collapsed into the United Front Work Department.
- United Front Work Department (Communist Party of China)
- State Ethnic Affairs Commission (State Council)
Similar government agenciesEdit
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- 宗教局長換人 專家指政策不變 (New Chairman for SARA, Experts Says Policy Has Not Changed), Ming Pao, 18 September 2009.
- Liu, Caiyu (July 18, 2017). "Party members told to give up religion for Party unity or face punishment". Global Times.
[...] Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) wrote in an article released in the Qiushi Journal on Saturday, the flagship magazine of the CPC Central Committee.Italic or bold markup not allowed in:
- Official website (in Chinese)