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New regulations forecast grim future for China’s religious freedom

September 11, 2017 by admin

(Beijing—Sept. 7, 2017) China’s State Council released a new set of revisions to China’s Regulations on Religious Affairs today, tightening the government chokehold on religious freedom.

According to the revisions, which were announced by the Chinese state mouthpiece Xinhua News Agency, “Religious affairs maintenance should persist in a principle of maintaining legality, curbing illegality, blocking extremism, resisting infiltration and attacking crime.” However, Chinese officials often use “blocking extremism” as an excuse to crackdown on innocent Muslim populations in China’s western Xinjiang region and arrest Christians for contacting overseas individuals, since they believe foreign entities are using religion to “infiltrate” the country. In addition, many law-abiding religious practitioners have been persecuted by Chinese agents, who claimed they had committed trumped up crimes.

The new regulations also provide a means for China to intensify its persecution of religious groups, since they also highlight China’s intent to monitor religious discussions online, religious groups’ finances, religious services, and the construction of buildings used for religious activities. Restrictions on unregistered religious groups were extended to include prohibitions on traveling to overseas religious trainings and meetings and bans on teaching religious beliefs. The regulations also introduced new stipulations for religious colleges, and those who organize religious events without government permission will be fined up to 300,000 yuan [$46,150 USD].

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed off on the new revisions on Aug. 26, and they are set to take effect on Feb. 2, 2018.

ChinaAid exposes abuses, such as those laid out by China’s new religious regulations, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom and rule of law.

ChinaAid Media Team
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