China announced it will soon implement harsh new measures requiring all religious personnel to support and implement total submission to the Chinese Communist Party, sparking concern among Chinese Christians.
Asia News reports that the new administrative measures will be put in place for Chinese religious groups starting Feb. 1. The measures complete the “Regulations on religious affairs” revised two years ago and implemented on Feb. 1, 2018.
The new measures include six chapters and 41 articles dealing with the organization, functions, offices, supervision, projects and economic administration of communities and groups at both a national and local level.
Under the new rules, every aspect of the life of religious communities — from formation, gatherings to annual and daily projects — is subject to approval by the government’s religious affairs department.
Additionally, all religious personnel are required to support, promote and implement total submission to the Chinese Communist Party among all members of their communities.
Article 5 reads that “religious organizations must adhere to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, observe the constitution, laws, regulations, ordinances and policies, adhere to the principle of independence and self-government, adhere to the directives on religions in China, implementing the values of socialism …”
According to Article 17, “Religious organizations must spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party, as well as national laws, regulations, rules to religious personnel and religious citizens, educating religious personnel and religious citizens to support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, supporting the socialist system, adhering to and following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics …”
The law stipulates that “without the approval of the religious affairs department of the people’s government, or registration with the civil affairs department of the people’s government, no activities can be carried out in the name of religious groups.”
Persecution watchdog International Christians Concern warns that the latest measures will be used by the Communist government as a ”legal tool to further tighten space for religious groups.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett