According to a media source on Wednesday, China has published a new guideline under which all foreign organizations or people will be prohibited from propagating religious content online in the country, citing national security considerations.
According to the new restrictions, no organization or individual will be able to publish information about religious events on the internet unless they receive a license from China’s religious regulator.
The restrictions are the first of their kind to tighten control over online religious affairs, and they come two weeks after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited a national religious work conference, where he called on China to “strengthen the supervision of online religious affairs.” On December 4, Xi spoke at a national conference on religious affairs, emphasizing the importance of growing religions in the Chinese context and providing active advice for religions’ adaptation to socialist society.
According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, he stated that it is critical to uphold the principle that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation, strengthen the management of online religious affairs, and effectively address prominent problems that affect the sound inheritance of religions in China.
According to the new rules, titled Measures for the Administration of Internet Religious Information Services, people applying for a license to disseminate religious content online must be a Chinese entity or individual recognized by Chinese law, and their main representative must be a Chinese national, according to the Post.
According to the regulations, state security agencies will oversee domestic organizations and individuals and prevent them from collaborating with foreign bodies to use religion to perform operations that jeopardize national security on the internet. According to the rules, applicants must apply to the local government’s religious affairs department for a three-year license.
Content that exploits religion to inspire subversion of state power, criticizes the Communist Party’s leadership, destroys national unity and social stability, or promotes extremism, terrorism, or national separatism is prohibited under the guidelines.
According to the new regulations, no organization or individual may preach on the internet, conduct religious education and training, or publish or repost preachers’ views unless they are licensed religious groups, religious schools, temples, or churches, according to the report.
It said that organizing and conducting religious activities, as well as live broadcasting or recording religious ceremonies such as worshiping Buddha, burning incense, chanting, mass, and baptism, would be prohibited, and that no organization or individual would be allowed to raise funds in the name of religion on the internet.
Over the years, Beijing, which has been wary of the expansion of Christian sects in China, has also been chastised for a sporadic crackdown on churches.
In reaction to Washington’s latest measures against Xinjiang, China issued sanctions against four members of the United States Panel on International Religious Freedom, a government commission that oversees religious freedom.
According to Xiong Kunxin, a professor of ethics studies at Beijing’s Minzu University, the new rules, particularly the prohibition on foreign organizations’ and individuals’ religious activities online, highlight Beijing’s priority on national security and religious order.
“The world situation now is quite difficult.” “European countries and the United States have slandered us in order to stymie China’s progress, and religious forces will undoubtedly help with their political ambitions,” Xiong said.