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In Marxist orthodoxy, this theory is considered “science” and the fundamental political philosophy of the communist state is known as “scientific socialism.”

In contrast, religions of all kinds are “idealist superstition,” popularly characterized by Marx as “the opiate of the masses.”

The current supreme leader of China, Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, has a doctoral degree in “scientific socialism” from Tsinghua University in Beijing.

“If we allow two world views within our party,” Mr. Zhu stated, referring to communism and any one of the religions, “it will necessarily lead to the wavering, disappearance of the dominant position of Marxism, to the schism and collapse of the unity of thoughts and theoretical foundation of our party.”

“And if we allow our party members to practice religion, it is tantamount to letting our members be under the command of the party as well as various religious leaders,” Mr. Zhu explained.

“And that means, in Tibet, for example, to allow our Communist Party members to accept the religious influence of the Dalai Lama, thus rendering legitimacy to the Dalai’s status as supreme master of Buddhism.”

China has 23 million Muslims, 6.5 million Catholics and 23 million Protestants, according to official statistics. Real numbers of Christians in China are certain to be much higher as many churches are underground and unreported because of government persecution. Buddhist and Daoist adherents are difficult to calculate but generally they number close to 100 million.

Mr. Zhu’s main concern also is related to what he regards as an international conspiracy to overthrow the Chinese government through religious infiltration.

“Some major international forces are using the Christian religion to infiltrate China. They illegally proselytize, even try to make Christianity a political force against China’s socialist system and to divide the nation,” Mr. Zhu declared.

Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at and @Yu_miles.