Zhejiang and Guizhou Amend Local Religious Regulations

Hangzhou Chongyi Church, Zhejiang Province
Hangzhou Chongyi Church, Zhejiang Province (photo:Hangzhou Chongyi Church)
By Karen LuoAugust 22nd, 2019

The Zhejiang Provincial People's Congress Standing Committee issued an amended provincial regulation on religious affairs on August 1, 2019. 

According to China Ethnic Paper, the Zhejiang regulation amends the provincial government's 2014 regulation on religious affairs and will take effect on November 1, 2019. It marks the third amendment since the first Zhejiang regulation was published in 1997.

The Zhejiang Province Regulation on Religious Affairs (Zhejiang RRA) has 34 articles in total and amends 28 articles.

The amendments rule that Zhejiang religious affairs authorities should establish a unified religious work information platform at the provincial level.

Once any prohibited religious message is found, telecommunication operators and internet service providers should immediately cease its transmission and report it to relevant departments.

The regulation also adds legal responsibility to violators who interfere with the implementation of state functions in administration, judiciary and education. Scenic spots should be key areas for provincial religious work and cooperate with authorities who perform their executive duties in internal places of worship.

Apart from large-scale religious activities, religious groups, schools, and places of worship should apply to religious affairs bureaus for permission to hold random and unusual religious activities.

The amendments also provide penalties for illegal missionary work including distributiion of religious publications, prints, and audio-visual products in public places.

Another amendment of provincial-level regulations on religious affairs was adopted by the government of Guizhou province (amended from the 2012 regulation) on Aug 1 and will enter into force on Nov 1.

Under the revised regulations of Guizhou, a new article asserts that a religious training course for clerical personnel that lasts for three months shall be applied for and approved by relevant authorities.

The new regulations state that when religious groups, religious schools or sites for religious activities want to accept a donation of more than 100,000 yuan from foreign organizations and individuals, it shall be reported to the religious affairs department of the people's governments at the county level or above for review and approval.

Penalties are also specified in holding illegal religious activities or accepting illegal donations.

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