Supervisors at religious places

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2019/2/13 21:38:40

Mainlanders required to prevent separatist forces



A Daoist temple sits next to a Christian church in Xiamen, East China's Fujian Province. Photo: CFP



Religious activity venues in China have to set up democratic management committees and supervisors, whose members should be Chinese mainland residents to standardize management over religion activities in the country. 

A new National Religious Affairs Administration (NRAA) regulation states that religious venues should set up a democratic management committee responsible for internal management, annual work plan, budget and other major decisions of the venue, the United Front Work Department (UFWD) of the Communist Party of China Central Committee said on its WeChat account on Tuesday.  

Religious venues include temple, Taoist temple, mosque or church from China's five religions, namely Buddhism, Daoism, Catholicism, Islam, and Protestantism. The regulation takes effect on April 1. 

Requiring Chinese mainlanders as committee members and supervisors is meant to protect religious venues from being taken over or monopolized by an individual or a group that uses religion for their own purpose, such as separatists or foreign forces, Zhu Weiqun, former head of the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

Religion insiders reached by the Global Times said democratic management committee has been a consistent method to manage religious venues, but it is the first time to require supervisors at religious venues. 

Members of the committee should be Chinese mainlanders chosen from local clerical personnel and representatives of religious people. Each committee should be composed of three to 25 people and needs to hold at least one meeting a month and make minutes of their meetings, the regulation said. 

Supervisors are also required in each religious venue to supervise the committee, inspect the venues' budget and monitor major activities, as well as personnel appointments and removals. They should be selected by local religious groups and representatives of believers and should not get paid by the denomination venue they work in, according to the regulation.

Committee members and supervisors should register with local religious authorities. Supervisors should  attend committee meetings, make inquiries and provide suggestions to the latter and report the situation to relevant departments.

Finances should be one of the main concerns of the supervisors, Gao Zhanfu, a vice dean of the Beijing-based China Islamic Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday, noting that some Buddhist, Daoist and Islamic venues suffer from corruption. Supervisors could also help  the legal person better deliver national policy on religion and fulfill religious venues' social responsibilities, Gao said. 

The NRAA and Ministry of Civil Affairs released a guidline in January for the first time allowing a religious activity venue to register as a legal person status. The move solves a long-standing problem that, due to the absence of a legal person status, religious activity venues have found it difficult to conduct activities, such as claiming demolition compensation and signing labor contracts, according to the UFWD.

The regulation states that the legal person should be held responsible if the religious venues violate the law, regulations or national policies. It requires religious venues to submit annual work report to the NRAA before March 31 each year.

The work report should cover how the venues abide by laws, regulations, rules and national policies and their internal management system, and if they carry out activities in accordance with regulations, records of registered projects and financial management.



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