China should harness the positive influence of moderate religious believers, including their traditions of benevolence and tolerance, and recognize their contributions to society, the country’s top religious affairs official wrote on Tuesday.
The ruling and officially atheist Communist Party, which values stability above all else, has tried to co-opt religion in recent years as a force for social harmony in a country where few believe in communism any more.
Wang Zuoan, head of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, wrote in the Communist Party’s official People’s Daily that even though most people in China have no religion, those who do have an important role to play in promoting harmony.
“We should pay great attention to the eagerness of religious believers,” Wang wrote. “Foster the positive contents of religion, expound upon religious doctrines which accord with the development needs of society.”