SANTA ANA, CA (ODNS) – A shake-up in the conservative leadership of China’s Communist Party could lead to reforms in religious legislation and a more relaxed attitude toward the church.
Following October’s 13th Party Congress, reformers under the leadership of new Communist Party General Secretary Zhao Ziyang are moving ahead with plans to displace conservative policymakers within the Party leadership, according to the Chinese Church Research Center(CCRC) in Hong Kong.
The CCRC report pointed to the replacement of Propaganda Department chief, Wang Renzhi, with more “reform-minded” Rui Xingwen. The replacement coincides with the decision to disband the party’s theoretical publication, Red Flag, which has been used in the past to promote old-line ideologists. The shake-up of the Propaganda Department is expected to have a big impact on overall reforms within the government. “Many ministries will be revamped and their new leaders are expected to be more like-minded reformists of Zhao Ziyang.
“As the reformists gain more power, religious restrictions should become more lax, but these developments will take time to filter down to the local level,” stresses the report.