State Administration for Religious Affairs
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The State Administration for Religious Affairs (Simplified Chinese: 国家宗教事务局; Traditional Chinese: 國家宗教事務局; Pinyin: Guójiā Zōngjiào Shìwùjú), abbreviated SARA (Chinese: 宗教局; Pinyin: Zōngjiàojú), is a functioning department under the State Council which oversees religious affairs and issues for the People's Republic of China. It is closely connected with the United Front Work Department, and is charged with overseeing the operations of China's five officially sanctioned religious organizations: the Buddhist Association of China, Chinese Taoist Association, Islamic Association of China, Three-Self Patriotic Movement and Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
The State Administration for Religious Affairs exercises control over religious appointments, the selection of clergy, and the interpretation of religious doctrine. The SARA also works to ensure that the registered religious organizations support and carry out the policy priorities of the Communist Party of China.
Ye Xiaowen (Chinese: 叶小文; Pinyin: Yè Xiǎowén) directed the SARA from 1995 to 2009. During his tenure, he issued the State Religious Affairs Bureau Order No. 5, which furthered state control over reincarnations in Tibetan Buddhism, and attempted to suppress Chinese Catholicism loyal to Rome (which he considered "colonial") and not to the official Catholic Church in China, according to the Roman Catholic Church affiliated Asia News. After Ye was promoted to the Secretary of the CPC Committee at the Central Institute of Socialism, Former Deputy Director Wang Zuoan was promoted to Director, who is not expected to effect changes in policy.
- Congressional-Executive Commission on China, Top Leaders Praise the Work of China's "Patriotic Religious Organizations" , 10 March 2010.
- Ye Xiaowen, party hound on Vatican and religions, is promoted
- 宗教局長換人 專家指政策不變 (New Chairman for SARA, Experts Says Policy Has Not Changed), Ming Pao, 18 September 2009.
Official website (Chinese)
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