China Issues Draft Rule to Regulate Online Religious Messaging Services

By Karen Luo, September 13, 2018 14:09 PM

Writing an article on the Internet (Pexels)

On September 10, 2018, a draft guideline on managing religious information services on the Internet was issued, which would be China's first regulation on religious messaging services, according to the State Adminstration for Religious Affairs.

It has five chapters with 35 articles, covering general provisions, approval, regulation of online religious messaging services, legal liability, and supplementary provisions.

The draft rule said that the religious information on the Internet includes religious doctrines, knowledge, culture, and activities spread through instant messages and online broadcasting in the form of texts, photos, audio and video material.

The regulation is based on the principles of being legal, suppressing extremism, resisting penetration, and combating criminal activities. 

The services should not use religion to overthrow the government, object the leadership of the Communist Party, struck down the socialist system, divide the country, violate national unity and social stability, publicize extremism and terrorism, national separatism, and religious fanaticism, according to the guideline. 

Licensed religious bodies, schools, and premises are allowed to preach and offer religious training only on their own network platforms, according to the guideline. 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, and audio or video, the draft rule said.  

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