Former Communist Party members in China have been banned from having a religion and practicing any religious rituals, state media said.
Reports said new party rules would prevent retired officials from joining any religion and 'cults'.
Christianity has come under repeated attack in China with pastors routinely detained.
A programme to remove crosses from the roofs of churches is ongoing across the communist nation.
China claims to guarantee religious freedom but party members have been expected to remain atheist.
An official is quoted in state media as saying: "There are clear rules that retired cadres and party members cannot believe in religion, cannot take part in religious activities, and must resolutely fight against cults."
"They must maintain a high degree of consistency, in thought, in political views and in action, with the central party committee which is headed by Xi Jinping".
A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference
In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.
Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.
For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.
Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.