Foreigners would be prohibited from providing “religious information” to mainland Chinese via the internet, according to draft rules.
Chinese Christians have one month to tell their government what they think of proposed new rules that ban the sharing of prayer, Bible reading, baptism, communion, and other forms of religious activity online.
China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) posted a draft yesterday of new regulations on online religious activities that would “forbid the streaming of religious ceremonies (live on the internet), including prayer, preaching and even burning incense,” reports AsiaNews, which broke the story.
The new measures, contained in 35 articles, are “much more restrictive and analytical” than regulations on religious activities in real life that went into effect in February, according to AsiaNews:
For example they establish that anyone who wants to open a religious site, must seek permission from the authorities and be judged morally healthy and politically reliable.
Organizations and schools that receive the license can only publish didactic material via the Internet in their internal network, accessible only through a registered name and password. The rules emphasize that such organizations can not try to convert someone, and they cannot distribute religious texts or other material.
“They are still in draft form and await comments from the public, but as is almost always the case, the draft is in practice the final text,” reports AsiaNews.
SARA stated the new measures are intended to “regulate internet religious information service activities and maintain religious harmony and social harmony.” It asked for public feedback by October 9 via its website and by email or regular mail.
The previous real-life restrictions were also proposed in September and finalized …
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