August 3, 2008

Chinese Officials Interested in Religion

33%

About a third of Chinese government workers and Communist Party officials expressed interest in access to information on religion, the highest level of interest by any occupational group in a 2005 Intermedia survey.

Although religion will not be competing in the Olympic Games, it seems to be a more competitive force in China than people imagine; a 2005 survey conducted by InterMedia found that 33% of Communist Party officials and government employees said they were very or somewhat interested in having media access to information on the topic of religion, making them the most interested occupational group among the dozen or so groups reported. There are other signs that the Communist Party is taking note of the growing interest in religion in the country. For instance, Hu Jintao, President and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, broke with former practice and included a formal discussion of religion at last October’s National Congress. In January 2008, Hu stated to the Chinese Politburo, “We must strive to closely unite religious figures and believers … to build an all-around … prosperous society while quickening the pace toward the modernization of socialism.” The relatively high level of interest in the topic of religion by Communist Party and government employees, in particular, may indicate that the government is seeking to come to terms with the interest in religion on the part of many people in China. Read More