Chinese President Xi Jinping says that China must be on guard against nefarious religious influences from abroad.
His comments follow a tightening of religious space that has seen bans on the wearing of veils and beards in the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang, and the removal of church crosses in eastern China.
Xi said, “We must resolutely guard against overseas infiltrations via religious means and prevent ideological infringement by extremists.”
He made the comments at a conference on religions over the weekend in Beijing, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
He said that religious groups must submit to the ruling Communist Party’s control, and stressed that “in no way should religions interfere with government administration, judiciary and education.”