Religious restrictions tighten ahead of new regulations

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.


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