Chinese Church Voices

Regulating the Internet

Chinese Church Voices is an occasional column of the ChinaSource Blog providing translations of original writing by Christians in China. The views represented are entirely those of the original author; inclusion in Chinese Church Voices does not imply or equal an endorsement by ChinaSource.

Troubling news stories related to Christianity in China continue to stream out of China. A day after one of China’s largest, high-profile churches was shut down, the State Administration for Religious Affairs released a draft of new regulations that call for strict control over online religious content. China Christian Daily gives a summary of the draft regulations.  

China Issues Draft Rule to Regulate Online Religious Messaging Services 

On September 10, 2018 the State Administration for Religious Affairs issued a draft proposal to regulate online religious content, one of China's first attempts at such online regulation.

According to the draft, online religious content can include religious doctrines, knowledge, culture, and activities spread through instant messages and online broadcasting in the form of texts, photos, audio and video material. 

The regulations, according to the draft, are guided by principles of legality, suppressing extremism, resisting infiltration, and combating criminal activities.

The draft regulations also state that practitioners of online religious content are banned from using such online material to aid in such activities as overthrowing the government, objecting to the leadership of the Communist Party, striking down the socialist system, dividing the country, violating national unity and social stability, publicizing extremism and terrorism, fomenting national separatism, or creating religious fanaticism. 

Licensed religious bodies, schools, and other entities are allowed to preach and offer religious training only on their own network platforms, according to the guidelines. The draft guidelines state that no organization or individual is permitted to stream videos of religious activities like worshiping, burning incense, receiving precepts, attending mass, and receiving baptism or broadcast those in the form of text, photo, audio or video.   

Original English Article: China Issues Draft Rule to Regulate Online Religious Messaging Services, China Christian Daily.
Edited and reposted with permission.

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