Says it wants to ‘protect citizens’ freedom of religious belief’
China long has tried to control its citizens’ religious thoughts. Mandatory registration for churches, pastors who must deliver government talking points, the suppression of any dissent, and more has been standard procedure for years.
But now it’s getting much worse.
Bitter Winter, an online magazine that focuses on religious faith in China, explains the repressive Chinese Communist Party running the nation has now adopted new Administrative Measures for Internet Religious Information Services.
The new procedures were adopted by the state Administration of Religious Affairs, the National Internet Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and others, including two ministries that address “security.”
“The measures require an ‘Internet Religious Information Service License,’ which can only be granted to organizations part of the five authorized religions (since they should be ‘legally established,’ which is only possible within the five government-controlled organization), to disseminate religious content via the internet. Any other reference to religion on the web is declared illegal,” the publication explained.
“Even the organizations within the five authorized religions are subject to surveillance and limitations. They can broadcast sermons and lessons, but these would be checked by the authorities for their ‘Sinicized’ content, making sure they promote socialist values and support the party, and are not intended as proselytization tools.
“Religious universities and colleges may disseminate contents via the Internet only to their students. Any attempt to spread religious content to minors or ‘induce minors to believe in religion’ will lead to the termination of the license,” the publication said.
The agenda points follow complaints from President Xi Jinping that restrictions on web references to faith are “easily eluded.”
The restrictions will take effect March 1, the report said.
The communists explain their agenda is to “protect citizens’ freedom of religious belief.”
The policies state, “Engaging in Internet religious information services shall abide by the Constitution, laws, regulations and rules, practice the core socialist values, adhere to the principle of independence and self-management of religions in China, adhere to the direction of the Sinicization of religions in China, and actively guide religions to adapt to socialist society, to maintain religious harmony, social harmony, and national harmony.”
It continues, “Religious affairs departments shall supervise and manage Internet religious information services in accordance with the law, and cybersecurity and informatization departments, telecommunications authorities, public security agencies, and national security agencies shall be responsible for relevant administrative management within their respective responsibilities.”
“Overseas organizations” are banned entirely from engaging in internet religious information distribution.
The rules also apply to charitable groups, set up by religious groups, which want to raise funds online.