Chinese Church VoicesChurch and State

Churches Prepare for New Regulations

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On September 7, 2017, the Chinese government released revised regulations on religious affairs that will take effect on February 1, 2018. Brent Fulton gave a short summary and analysis soon after the regulations were released.

Some local Chinese churches have started to study the regulations in order to prepare for the changes. China Christian Daily provides insight on how some churches are readying themselves.

The whole staff of the Panan County CCC, TSPM and local church leaders studied the new regulations on religious affairs on Sept 14, 2017. 

Churches Study New Regulations on Religious Affairs

Many provincial-level and city-level bodies of the China Christian Council (CCC) and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) [government Religious Affairs departments] led local churches in studying revised government regulations on religious affairs released on September 7, 2017.

On September 14, 2017, Pan'an County CCC and TSPM officers in Jinhua, Zhejiang province gathered leaders together to read through the new regulations and to discuss together any parts they did not understand, according to Xie Zhang of the county CCC and TSPM.

Attendees noted that the revisions were more detailed and added newer content that was not included in an older version. The regulations have a clearer definition of the responsibilities and duties of religious bodies and for the use of religious premises.

The next day, the members of the Pingnan County CCC and TSPM in Fujian province studied the revised regulations. Chen Biyan, director of the county's bureau of ethnic and religious affairs, was invited to explain the regulations.

Chen clarified the context of the regulations, noting particular highlights and practical implications, as well as proposed guidance on how to implement the regulations in the current environment.

That same day the administrative board and pastoral staff of Beijing’s Chongwenmen Church studied the revisions and the wording laid out in speeches given by Gao Feng, the President of the CCC, and Wang Zuoan, the head of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, which were given at talks held by leaders of China’s five major religions at the Prince Chun Mansion, according to Chongwenmen’s official WeChat blog.

Rev. Liu Cuimin, the senior pastor, led the members in studying the background of the law, the drafting process, and the focus of the revisions. She shared analysis of the old and the new versions.

Some of the administrative board stated that the revisions are more comprehensive and make rights and duties more explicit, indicating that the revisions mark a major turn. Two pastors said that the new regulations were practical and related to the clergy and the laity. Preachers should develop themselves and optimize church management to avoid heretical and illegal activities.

On September 11, the Ji’nan CCC and TSPM in Shandong province brought their entire staff together to read the full text of the revised law, as well as to go through press releases published by the State Council that answered questions from the press.

The staff gained a clear understanding of the legal protections afforded religious bodies and venues, how charity campaigns are protected by law, and property ownership rights of religious bodies.  

Original Article: Churches Study New Regulations on Religious Affairs, China Christian Daily.
Edited and reposted with permission.

Header mage credit: Chongwenmen Church by Joann Pittman via Flickr.
Text image credit: China Christian Daily

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