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Religious groups appoint spokespersons

01-13-2012 08:47 BJT

By Li Yao (China Daily)

Move will help boost understanding and communication, experts say.

BEIJING - Spokespersons for China's major religious organizations have been appointed for the first time, a step experts said will help promote religion in the world's most populous country.

Nine spokespersons, including one woman, were appointed by six national organizations, according to a statement released by the State Administration of Religious Affairs. China has 243 million religious followers, according to a report released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in October.

The spokespersons will be responsible for briefing the media, answering queries online and will be available for interviews, the statement said. Their role will be to enhance understanding of religious matters, it said.

Many of the spokespersons hold degrees from top foreign or domestic institutions.

Jin Rubin is a case in point. The deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Islamic Association was named one of the association's two spokespersons. Jin graduated from the China Islamic Institute.

"I'm looking forward to working closer with the media and bringing Islamic culture to a wider public," Jin said.

Meng Zhiling, one of the two spokespersons for the Taoist Association, said the spokesperson system is a new move for religious organizations.

One lesson he learned from his wilderness years is the importance of treating people honestly, something he vowed to continue.

Buddhist Master Puzheng, one of the two spokesmen for the Buddhist Association of China, is fluent in Korean. He already has a busy schedule receiving guests and making foreign trips. "I need to improve my English skills and rely less on interpreters to present China's Buddhist culture to a global audience", he said.

Yang Yu, the spokesman of the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China, said experience has taught him the need to provide information quickly to prevent potential misunderstanding.

Yu Guoming, a professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at the Renmin University of China, said that although religion has become more popular, the public still have little understanding of the religious life.

"A dearth of knowledge and lack of access to information may lead to misunderstanding, stereotyping and even conflict," he said. Announcing spokespersons for major religious groups will increase understanding and boost communication, he said.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: China Daily

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