02/08/2012 China (The Economist) - 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.
Mr Chang and two other party members who attend the same church in Beijing insist the two faiths can co-exist. The country needs the party, they say, whereas individuals need faith. Christian party members note what Jesus taught his followers: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”. Mr Chang’s party dues are $1.60 a month. He plans to keep paying them.