Recently, two events took place in China under the auspices of the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC) and Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA) that reflect the policy of harmony and cooperation between the Church and the Party in China known as “Sinicization.”
On September 24, Catholics from two churches in Zibo city in Shandong province attended an event called “One Hundred Sermons.” In this event, speakers explained the instructions of President Xi on religious activities, the promotion of Sinicization in the Church, and how to adapt to the socialist society. News of this event was posted on the BCCCC website.
According to the official record, Bishop Joseph Yang Yongqiang, vice-chairman of the BCCCC, delivered the opening address, and some 30 clergy and other members of the church attended.
Father Wang Yutong, deputy director and secretary-general of the Zibo Catholic Patriotic Association, made a presentation entitled "Personal Experience of the Sinicization of the Church” based on his 30 years of experience in parish management, evangelism and daily activities through the association.
The priest concluded his speech by calling for Chinese Catholicism to carry on the legacies of pioneering leaders like Bishop Zong Huaide and follow the principles of “one direction, one road, one flag” — to adhere to the Sinicization of religion, the path of independence and a self-run church, and the flag of patriotism and love for religion. (There were, in fact, two Chinese bishops named Zong Huaide. It is unclear from the current report which Bishop Zong was being cited.)
Later in the month, from September 27 to 29, 18 prominent representatives of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, visited Xibaipo village, a prominent communist revolutionary site in Shijiazhuang (Hebei province).
Broadly speaking, “Sinicization” can refer to the adaptation of Catholic practice to Chinese culture. However, under the current regime in China, it refers to a specific policy carried out under the direction of the United Front, a branch of the Chinese Communist Party. During the recent conference of the USCCA this past August, a panel explored the dimensions of this policy and its implications for Christians living in China. View the conference panels here >