By Lorraine Caballero
28 September, 2016 11:19 am
■ Christians in China are set to face harsher religious restrictions to be imposed by the government in early October, activists have warned.
The State Council of China has released the Revised Draft of Regulations on Religious Affairs outlining the new religious restrictions that aim to suppress religious activities not approved by the government. This goal can be achieved by dispersing Christian house churches, undermining Vatican influence on local Catholics, and suppressing Tibetan and Xinjiang separatists, China Aid details.
The said draft was released to the public to gather opinion until Oct. 7, which will set the beginning of its implementation. Some of the 74 articles listed in the draft talk about prohibitions on preaching, building religious institutions, online religious services, and organizing religious activities in the country and abroad.
|Catholics attend a Christmas eve mass at a church near the
city of Taiyuan in Shanxi province in 2012.
In response to the said draft, U.S.-based pastor Gao Baosheng published an article titled “The Alarming Changes in the Revised Draft of Regulations on Religious Freedom.” In his piece, Pastor Gao highlighted the Chinese government’s efforts to tighten its hold on Christianity, Buddhism, Catholicism, and Islam. He also noted that the revisions were all made to suppress Christian churches and underground religions.
Pastor Gao also warned that the condition of religious liberty in China will become worse. Predicting that the draft will bring about “a religious winter so harsh,” he urged believers to seek guidance from God.
Earlier this month, China Aid reported about two organizers of a Christian camp who were detained for 10 and 15 days respectively on Aug. 4 for allegedly indoctrinating minors with “superstitious beliefs.” Zhou Yanhua and Gao Ming of the Yining County Church interrupted their preparations for their departure for a summer camp and took all the children with them to the police station to have them registered.
Chinese law prohibits anyone from sharing religious teaching to minors because authorities believe matters of faith could brainwash children. Parents and church leaders could also be punished for letting their children participate in any Christian activity.
ChinaAid Media Team
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