Religious restrictions tighten ahead of new regulations

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

As religious regulations tighten,
Christians find themselves increasingly
at odds with authorities.
(Photo: China Aid)
China Aid
Translated by Carolyn Song.

(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—Nov. 9, 2016) In preparation for the implementation of revisions to the Regulations on Religious Affairs, local districts across China have begun to strengthen their control and management of religious activities.

According to the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of Zhejiang Province’s website, the Lucheng district of Wenzhou plans to build a grid system to regulate religious affairs. The system, which will consist of 111 large grids, will be monitored by more than 1,500 liaison officers from the religious affairs bureau. Each village will be surveilled.

Lucheng also implemented the Five Entries and Five Transformations movement, which aims to force churches to conform with the Communist Party’s stipulations. This year, 343 state-run newspapers containing the Party’s religious policies and regulations will be sent to religious institutions in the district.  The material will include lectures on the theme of "concentrically building the Chinese dream" and will consist of 32 sessions, educating more than 4,314 people.

Several locations have also established 10 sites to strengthen the Communist Party‘s organization and leadership in religious work. Recently, a local government branch found what they consider to be a serious problem in rural areas: the elderly take children to church. In response, the authorities in Yangyi, Tengqiao, Shanfu, and other towns have begun establishing community cultural centers, cultural auditoriums, and activities such as "Happy Sunday" and "Childish Mind School" to attract children on the weekends, thus eliminating the problem of them attending church.

These changes come in advance of a set of proposed changes to China’s Regulations on Religious Affairs, which are scheduled to take effect next year. The proposals, which prohibit “organizing religious activities in unapproved religious sites” and “preaching, organizing religious activities, and establishing religious institutions or religious sites at schools,” are designed to limit the freedom of Christians to practice and share their faith.

China Aid reports on abuses, such as those suffered by Christians under tightening restrictions, in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted church and promote religious freedom in China.

ChinaAid Media Team
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