Source: Global Times
Date: May 14, 2018
The Global Times, a daily newspaper controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, reported, in an article dated May 9 and in comments in the following days, that China has released draft rules to regulate foreigners’ religious activities. The guidelines, drafted by the State Administration of Religious Affairs, state that foreigners should appoint at least three conveners who would apply for group religious activities at religious venues or temporary sites.
Conveners should have clean records, and those working for diplomatic representatives in China and others who also enjoy privileges and immunities cannot serve as conveners, read the guidelines.
Foreigners should apply to local religious authorities for group activities in religious venues, and should submit certain information, including the personal information of participants, the qualifications and safety of the temporary site and a description of the religious activity when held at a temporary site, the guidelines say.
Group religious activities held by foreigners at religious venues should be presided over by Chinese religious personnel. And for any religious activity that must be presided over by foreigners, the religious venues should inform local government-approved religion authorities, the draft rules say.
The guidelines also said that Chinese citizens are not allowed to attend group religious activities organized by foreigners, except Chinese religious personnel appointed by local pro-government religious organizations.
When implemented, the guidelines will tighten control over religious activities attended by foreigners and will eliminate certain freedoms from general rules so far enjoyed by businesspersons, diplomats, tourists, and other foreigners traveling or residing temporarily in China.