As crackdown on worship centres in China continues, the ruling Communist Party has ordered local governments to regulate the construction of large outdoor religious statues in a better way amid increasing restrictions on religious expression of all kinds.
The directive viewed on the United Front Work Department websites on Saturday appears to target mainly the followers of Buddhism and Taoism—two of China’s five officially recognised religions.
It says regulating such statues and preventing further commercialisation of religions must be a “top priority.”
Thousands of Buddhist and Taoist temples and shrines, along with mosques and churches, were damaged or destroyed under communism, especially during the violent 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.
Although many have been restored and reopened since then, new regulations and a bureaucratic overhaul earlier this year have put the day-to-day running of religious affairs directly under the officially atheistic party.