Editor's Note: Zhu Weiqun, director of the Committee for Ethnic and Religious Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference - China's top political advisory body talked to Beat U. Wieser, a reporter of the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung on Oct. 18, 2013 and answered questions about China's ethnic policy, religious affairs as well as the contact and talks with envoys of the 14th Dalai Lama. Following is the memoir:
Reporter(R): As far as I know, when you said in an interview with the China Newsweek that a communist member should not believe in any religion，do you oppose to religion?
Zhu Weiqun (Zhu): China's history is different from that of Europe. In a long period of history, Christianity in Europe had a dominant advantage; while the major religion in Western and Central Asian countries was Islam. In history, China took a tolerant attitude towards region, which resulted in the coexistence of five religions. Of the 1.3 billion people in China, over 100 million people believe in religions while the majority of people are not. No matter in the period of war or social construction, the Communist Party of China(CPC) must unite the 100 million religious people in order to gain the success of the undertakings of China. If the unification is needed, the policy of religious freedom must be carried out, for it is not only a necessity of the cause, but also a long-standing phenomenon in human society analyzed theoretically by the CPC. The stability of Chinese society needs to unite everyone with a common target, and the religious policy should conform to the inherent law of region's social phenomena.
R: Then what is the target?
Zhu: The target is to develop the country and improve the life of its people. All people of China accept the target, which has exceeded the divergence in religious belief.
R: Is religion an obstacle or a threat for achieving the target?
Zhu: We never consider religion an obstacle or a threat for achieving the target. Of course, religion, as an outlook of idealism world, is quite different from that of the materialism world. But the mass religious followers have the same and reconcilable target with us to develop the country and improve the life of its people. Since the founding of the CPC in 1921, the policy of religious belief freedom has been carried out and was never changed. Sometimes, we didn't implement it effectively during the Great Cultural Revolution (1966-1976); but as soon as the period was over, we continued to carry out the policy. The theoretical basis of the CPC is the Marxism. As a communist, I surely adhere to the materialism world outlook and atheism, and I believe that a communist without religious belief does not interfere with the execution of the policy of religious belief freedom.
R: Do you believe that all party members should stand for atheism?
Zhu: Yes, because the Constitution of the CPC has clearly pointed out that our guiding ideology is Marxism, the theoretical basis of which is dialectical materialism and historical materialism, however, the materialism and theism are clearly two different view of the world. A person has to swear to follow materialism instead of theism when he joints the CPC. This is very clear and simple.
R: In China, some party members are not atheist as they have practiced FaLungong, and some of them even donate to temples secretly. Do you think the situation should be changed?
Zhu: FaLungong is an anti-social cult and banned by Chinese law. Some party members have participated in this religious activity for some faith reasons, which have violated the party constitution in my view. We should first correct their behavior through ideological education, and ask them to abide by the constitution. However, if someone deviates from our ideological foundation and insists on religious belief, then he could choose to be a religious disciple other than a CPC party member, which embodies the freedom of religion in China.