Beijing bans online evangelization

Beijing bans online evangelization

by Bernardo Cervellera – Asia News – 9/11/18


As of yesterday there are “New measures” for the control of online religious activities. Live streaming of  religious ceremonies  banned, as well as prayers, preaching and burning of incense. Permission required to set up religious websites that must be ‘morally healthy and politically reliable’. Conversions banned as well as the dissemination of religious material. But the religious awakening in China is now unstoppable.

Rome (AsiaNews) – From now on, all online evangelization is forbidden. The state administration for religious affairs yesterday issued rules on religious activities via the internet that forbid the streaming of religious ceremonies (live on the internet), including prayer, preaching and even burning incense.

The new rules also prohibit some sensitive content: it is forbidden to post the slightest criticism of the Party’s leadership and official religious policy; promote the participation of minors in religious ceremonies, use religion to overthrow the socialist system.

The new rules are published on the Chinese government’s legal information website under the heading “Measures for the management of religious information on the Internet”. 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.

The “Measures …” are divided into five chapters and contain a total of 35 articles. The five chapters deal with general rules, approval for online religious information services, management, legal responsibilities and some additional provisions.

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.

The new measures are much more restrictive and analytical than the new regulations on religious activities, implemented last February (but made public in September 2017 in a draft form and in October as the final text).

The New Regulations (see Articles 68 and 45) prohibited content that “undermines” the coexistence of religions and non-religious persons, or that publicize religious extremism, or that do not support the principles of independence and self-government of religions. But they admitted that information and religious material could be distributed to the public, in compliance with the law.

The new “Measures …” seem to be designed to stop the spread of religious teachings on the internet and nip the growing spiritual interest in Chinese society, where the religious awakening is now unstoppable.

In attempts to halt the tumultuous religious growth in China, President Xi Jinping has launched a “sinicization” campaign to assimilate religions to Chinese culture and above all to subjugate them to the hegemony of the Communist Party, turning them into a political tool.

China is the country with the highest Internet usage, but it is also the place where online information is subject to one of the most efficient and absolute controls.

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One comment on “Beijing bans online evangelization

  1. Henan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, sinicization advances: crosses burnt, Party flags and slogans on churches

    by Wang Zhicheng – Asia News – 8/25/18

    In Shanghai the “basic values ​​of socialism” are exalted on the pediment of the church. A painting of the Last Supper removed in Henan. Communities forced to sing patriotic hymns. Shaolin Monastery in Shaoshan must hold a flag-raising ceremony every morning. “The churches seem more and more like government offices”.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) – In the name of the sinicization, to create a Christianity with “Chinese characteristics”, the government authorities are burning crosses on the bell towers, replacing them with the red flags of China; slogans praising the Party and the values ​​of socialism are exposed on religious buildings, erasing sacred images, that are considered too Western.

    In recent days in Henan, the cross of a Protestant church was burned in Anyang, Shuiyi County (see video); another was demolished in Hebei; another one in Luoyang has been replaced with the red flag (see photo 2). Even a Catholic center in Anyang had to display the flag (see photo 3).

    In a church in the province, the authorities demanded the removal of the cross, paintings with calligraphy of verses from the Bible and a painting of the Last Supper.

    Similar events also take place in Jiangxi. Testimonies gathered by Chinaaid in Xinyu County say that churches are forced to wave the national flag, to display a picture of President Xi Jinping and slogans praising socialism. Many crosses have been destroyed, including that of the evangelical church of Jieken.

    At least 40 churches in Shangrao have been forced to display banners that prohibit the preaching of non-Chinese people and prohibit entry to young people under the age of 18.

    In Zhejiang, in Leqin, the authorities have forced the churches to exalt the Chinese Communist Party, by singing patriotic anthems at a flag-raising ceremony and pushing for concerts with nationalist programs.

    In the Pudong region of Shanghai, the Xuanqiao’s Church of Jesus Christ had to display the slogan on the “basic values ​​of socialism”.

    Dozens of domestic churches have been closed in Shenyang (Liaoning) and Xuzhou (Jiangsu) forcing communities to join the Three-Self Movement, the official government controlled Protestant community.

    Sinicization, the slogan launched by Xi Jinping, aims to force all religions to assimilate Chinese culture and above all to submit to the authority of the Communist Party. According to many Chinese faithful, “under the mantle of patriotism, religions are being emptied of the elements of their faith and are seen as political instruments at the service of the government and the Party”. A Catholic comments to AsiaNews: “At this stage, with the red flags, the patriotic songs, the ban on young people taking part, the churches seem more and more like government offices”.

    No religion escapes this homogenization. Since yesterday, the Shaolin Buddhist monastery in Shaoshan (Henan) has also carried out the flag-raising ceremony every morning (see photo 4). The whole Chinese Buddhist Association has decided to join in the initiative.

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