The CCP seeks to "create a new version of Christianity shorn of its transcendent visions and values," Xi Lian, a professor at the Duke University Divinity School, told the Wall Street Journal.
Since coming to power in 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping has mandated the "sinicization" of all religions in China, a move which the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom called "a far-reaching strategy to control, govern, and manipulate all aspects of faith into a socialist mold infused with 'Chinese characteristics.'''
The Chinese government is in the midst of implementing a five-year "sinicization plan" for Islam, a religion that has faced increased persecution in the country with at least 800,000 Uyghur Muslims held in internment camps.
Catholic acceptance of the "sinicization" program has been a much-discussed topic following the formalization of last year's agreement between the Vatican and China that regularized the country's government-appointed bishops with the Holy See.
Previously, bishops affiliated with the "Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association" were consecrated illicitly and out of communion with Rome.
In 2019, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, said that "inculturation," a Catholic missionary practice, and "sinicization" can be "complementary" and "can open avenues for dialogue."
"Inculturation is an essential condition for a sound proclamation of the Gospel which, in order to bear fruit, requires, on the one hand, safeguarding its authentic purity and integrity and, on the other, presenting it according to the particular experience of each people and culture," he said.
"These two terms, 'inculturation' and 'sinicization,' refer to each other without confusion and without opposition."
The full terms of the Vatican-China agreement have not been released.