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Economist: Render Unto Caesar

February 11, 2012

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The Economist writes that China's conservative wing finds religion within its ranks--and dislikes it.

There was a time when Devon Chang had difficulty reconciling his two chosen faiths: Christianity, which he embraced in 2005 at the age of 19, and the Communist Party of China, which had embraced him a year earlier. Did his submission to an almighty God not mean he must renounce the godless club of Marx and Mao?

Not necessarily. A fellow convert's university lecturer suggested that if all Communist Party members found Jesus, then Christianity could rule China. "So it's a good thing for me to become a Christian," Mr Chang reasoned.

The party does not quite see it that way. Although people join the party more for career reasons these days than for ideological ones, it still officially forbids religious belief among its members. In practice, this has for some years been a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. But signs are now growing that the party is about to become tougher on believers within its ranks. And behind it might be Mr Chang's notion of Christianity as a Trojan horse.

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