Chinese Religious Freedom Restricted Even More with New February Laws

(Image courtesy of Bibles for China)

Believers in China face an insecure future as local governments enforce legislation restricting religious freedom even more.

On February 1, new laws were enacted in China givingthe government additional control over everyday religious activities. According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, provisions state:

  • Teaching that promotes the Communist Party must be propagated at religious gatherings.
  • Additional information reporting will be mandatory, including getting official permission for effectively every religious gathering.
  • Government officials have supervisory authority over leadership changes, major expenses, and construction events.

For many in China, this law has serious ramifications.

Local Implementation and the Church

Kurt Rovenstine, President of Bibles for China says, “I can’t speak specifically to the restrictions as they’re printed. But I do know two things: that there’s a bit of fear as to what and how it will be implemented.”

Often, provincial government officials decide how and to what extent they will implement national laws. This enforcement may vary by area. Some parts of the new law are also vague, leaving uncertainty about what it actually means for religious bodies.

However, tensions are high as people wait to find out what changes are in store for their churches. Rovenstine continues, “I know that there [are] a lot of our folks that just are afraid that there’s this…slow creep of the government into the business of the Church [which] will be accelerated.”

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SOURCE: Mission News Network, Anna Deckert


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