Xinjiang to be a key focus of revised religious regulation

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2018/1/30 21:58:39

China to draft rules to manage online religious information

Xinjiang will be a key focus in enforcing a revised religious regulation, which calls for fighting extremism and overseas infiltration, a senior religious official said Tuesday.

The revised religious regulation will take effect on Thursday.

"Though there has been remarkable progress, some unprecedented situations have occurred and overseas infiltration has become more complicated," Zhu Weiqun, director of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference's Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Zhu noted that Xinjiang, where challenges from extremism are severe, is a key focus for future law enforcement of the regulation.

"Patriotic education should continue in mosques in Xinjiang. Anti-terrorism and anti-extremist education should also continue among religious figures and believers," Zhu said.

Mosques in Xinjiang should also accept local governments' management in a complete and strict manner, he added.

Compared with the 2004 regulation, the revised Regulation on Religious Affairs released in 2017 stated the principles of "containing the extreme and resisting infiltration."

The change comes together with new articles banning sponsorship, support for and funding of activities involving religious extremism and behavior that use religion to undermine national security, separate the country or conduct terrorist activities.

The revised regulation also bans unapproved occupation of overseas religious groups or receiving illegal donations from such groups, adding that the donations should not come with strings attached.

Local Party's united front work departments and religious authorities in China are organizing conferences, lectures and seminars to study and promote the revised religious regulation.

In early January, training sessions on the revised regulation were held in North China's Hebei Province for representatives of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Taoism groups.

Lectures and publicity activities were also held in Deqen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province, as well as Anhui and Jiangxi provinces last week.

Compared with the draft version released in 2016, the final version released in 2017 also added that religious groups, institutes and venues should practice core socialist values and the country should "proactively lead religion to adapt to socialist society."

Religious groups should interpret religious doctrines to make sure they conform to excellent Chinese traditional culture and to the progress of China's development, said a People's Daily article written by Wang Zuoan, director of State Administration for Religious Affairs, in 2017.

"Only a good citizen can make a good religious believer," Zhu said. 

Meanwhile, China will draft a regulation on the management of online religious information in 2018. The regulation will be drafted or amended by the State Administration for Religious Affairs and relevant departments.

Online religious information providers should gain approval from provincial-level authorities and the content should be in accordance with the country's law and regulation on religious affairs, and violators would face administrative or criminal punishments. 

Newspaper headline: Xinjiang to be key focus of religious regulation

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