State Administration for Religious Affairs

The State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) was an executive agency directly under the State Council of the People's Republic of China which oversaw religious affairs in the country. Originally created in 1951 as the Religious Affairs Bureau, SARA was closely connected with the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and charged with overseeing the operations of China's five officially sanctioned religious organizations:

State Administration for Religious Affairs
国家宗教事务局
State Administration for Religious Affairs logo.png
Department overview
JurisdictionChina
Department executive
Parent departmentUnited Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party
Websitewww.sara.gov.cn
State Administration for Religious Affairs
Traditional Chinese國家宗教事務局
Simplified Chinese国家宗教事务局

SARA was dissolved in 2018, placing all religious affairs directly under the United Front Work Department.[1][2]

HistoryEdit

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 CCP.[3] For instance, SARA has maintained a "living Buddha database" to track prominent Tibetan Buddhists who are loyal to the CCP.[4][5]

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.[6] After Ye was promoted to the Secretary of the CCP Committee at the Central Institute of Socialism, the former Deputy Director Wang Zuo'an was promoted to Director.[7] 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.[1]

See alsoEdit

Related PRC authoritiesEdit

Similar government agenciesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Ng, Teddy; Lau, Mimi (21 March 2018). "Fears about Chinese influence grow as more powers given to shadowy agency". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on 25 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  2. ^ Joske, Alex (May 9, 2019). "Reorganizing the United Front Work Department: New Structures for a New Era of Diaspora and Religious Affairs Work". Jamestown Foundation. Archived from the original on July 21, 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  3. ^ Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Top Leaders Praise the Work of China's "Patriotic Religious Organizations" Archived 2013-02-17 at the Wayback Machine , 10 March 2010.
  4. ^ "China publishes 'living buddha' list". BBC News. 2016-01-18. Archived from the original on 2019-08-14. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  5. ^ Chin, Josh (2016-01-19). "China Launches Living-Buddha Authentication Site, Dalai Lama Not Included". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 2019-08-14. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
  6. ^ Cervellera, Bernardo (17 September 2009). "CHINA Ye Xiaowen, party hound on Vatican and religions, is promoted". www.asianews.it. Archived from the original on 16 January 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  7. ^ 宗教局長換人 專家指政策不變 Archived 2012-02-23 at the Wayback Machine (New Chairman for SARA, Experts Says Policy Has Not Changed), Ming Pao, 18 September 2009.

External linksEdit