China Releases Administrative Measures for Religious Activity Venues

A picture of the newly-built Yanghang Church in Baoshan District, Shanghai
A picture of the newly-built Yanghang Church in Baoshan District, Shanghai (photo: Shanghai CC&TSPM)
By Mark Cui August 2nd, 2023

According to its official website, the National Religious Affairs Administration recently promulgated the "Administrative Measures for Religious Activity Venues" by Order No. 19, which will come into effect on September 1, 2023.

The "Measures for the Examination, Approval, and Registration of the Establishment of Venues of Religious Activities" issued by the National Religious Affairs Administration in 2005 were abolished at the same time.

There are 10 chapters and 76 articles in the new Measures, which is intended to improve the management system of religious activities. The Measures stipulate the procedural requirements for the preparation, establishment, and registration of venues for religious activities, standardize the management, clarify the establishment of management organizations, implement democratic management, establish and improve the personnel management system, and standardize the religious activities, social activities, and foreign exchanges of personnel in the venue. The Measures clarify the responsibilities in the management of religious activities, construction management, and safety management of fire prevention, food, sanitation, and buildings. The Measures require setting up supervisors in religious activity venues, strengthening internal management, clarifying the supervision responsibilities of religious affairs departments, the educational guidance of religious groups, and the supervision rights of religious citizens.

Article 15 proposes that a registration application for religious activity venues would require filling out the Application and Registration Form for Religious Activity Venues and submitting the materials, including venues and houses and other relevant buildings (materials for project completion acceptance and fire control acceptance for construction projects, materials for verification of planning and land use, certificates of immovable property rights of land and houses if land and houses have been registered, and the right to use for more than one year and housing safety materials If it is leased), and a description of the legal economic sources.

Article 16 points out that religious activity venues shall not be named after churches, sects, or names.

Article 24 proposes that the management organization of religious activity venues should be composed of religious personnel, representatives of local religious citizens, and other relevant personnel. The management organization shall have three or more members and one person in charge.

The formation, punishment, and adjustment of the members of the management organization of religious activity venues shall solicit the opinions of the local religious groups and report to the registration administration organ for record.

Article 27 points out that the management organization members of religious activity venues should be mainland residents with Chinese nationality and should generally not be over 70 years old when elected. Management organization members who have a husband-and-wife relationship, a lineal blood relationship, collateral consanguinity within three generations, a close relationship by marriage, or an adoption relationship shall be avoided.

Article 53 adds, "To build large-scale open-air religious statues in temples and churches, religious groups and temples and churches shall handle them in accordance with the Regulations on Religious Affairs and other relevant provisions. It is forbidden to build large-scale open-air religious statues outside temples and churches." 

- Translated by Oliver Zuo

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