China Passes Tighter Restrictions on Religious Practice

By Breitbart. The Chinese Communist Party has passed a series of draconian administrative measures for religious groups, which will go into effect on February 1, 2020, bringing them completely under government control.

Religious organizations must henceforth “spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party” by educating “religious staff and religious citizens to support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party,” reported AsiaNews, the official press agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

All religious activities or rallies and even programs of religious communities must have the approval of the Religious Affairs Office, according to a communication published this week by Xinhua news agency, as the new measures seek to complete the “Regulations on religious affairs” that went into effect on February 1, 2018.

The government’s religious affairs department will assume absolute control over religious groups and “should perform their functions such as guiding and supervising the groups’ operation,” Xinhua revealed Monday.

More broadly, the new regulations “stipulate how the groups should designate their officials, carry out their work and manage their own affairs,” the report stated. (Read more from “China Passes Tighter Restrictions on Religious Practice” HERE)

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Religion in China in 2020: from bad to worse

By Mercatornet. On February 1, 2018 the New Regulation on Regulation Affairs, enacted in 2017, came into force. It was the legal embodiment of President Xi Jinping’s new policy on religion, the most restrictive since the Cultural Revolution.

A new law was not needed to crack down on the Black Market of groups banned and persecuted as xie jiao, such as The Church of Almighty God (the single most persecuted movement in China) or Falun Gong. Draconian measures organizing their suppression were already in place.

Most scholars agreed that the aim of the 2017 Regulation was to gradually eliminate the Gray Market of the religious organizations not explicitly banned as xie jiao but resisting incorporation into the Red Market of the authorized and government-controlled Five Authorized Religions.

The largest segment of the Gray Market consists of Protestant House Churches. The regulation that came into force in 2018 aimed at compelling them to join the pro-government Three-Self Church, thus entering the Red Market, threatening, if they refused, to destroy their places of worship and arrest their pastors.

On December 30, 2019, the decision sentencing Pastor Wang Yi of Chengdu’s Early Rain Covenant Church, one of the best-known figures in the House Church movements, to nine years in jail was announced. Perhaps not coincidentally, on the same day, the CCP announced that new “Administrative Measures for Religious Groups” have been approved and will come into force on February 1, 2020. Two years after the 2017 Regulation on Religious Affairs, the religious policy of Xi Jinping will have a new legal tool at its disposal. (Read more from “Religion in China in 2020: from bad to worse” HERE)

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