Overseas organizations, individuals not allowed to operate online religious info services within the Chinese territory: regulations
Published: Dec 21, 2021 01:00 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Overseas organizations and individuals are not allowed to operate online religious information services within the Chinese territory, according to new measures jointly enacted by five departments released on Monday.

Aimed to standardize online religious information services and guarantee citizens' freedom of religious belief, the Measures for the Administration of Internet Religious Information Services are stipulated, based on existent laws and regulations, including Cybersecurity Law and Regulations on Religious Affairs. 

Any Chinese organization or individual that operates online religious information services should submit application to provincial religious affairs departments.  

The measures stipulated that online preaching should be organized and carried out by religious groups, temples and churches and religious colleges that have obtained  the Internet Religious Information Service Permit.

With the Permit, they could preach religious doctrines online that are conducive to social harmony and civilization, and guide religious people to be patriotic to the country and abide by the law, only via their own specialized internet websites, applications or forums that are approved by law. Participants shall register using their real names.

With the Permit, religious colleges are able to train their students and religious people on their specialized internet websites, applications or forums approved according to law. Their specialized internet sites, applications and forums must use a virtual specialized network to connect to the outside world, and verify the identity of personnel participating in the training, the measures said. 

Other than that, no organization or individual is allowed to do missionary work online, or conduct religious education and training, publish preaching content, or forward such content.

Religious ceremony should not be broadcasted live or recorded online. No organization or individual can fundraise in the name of religion on the internet, according to the measures. 

Foreign organizations or individuals and organizations that are set up by foreigners are not allowed to operate online religious information service in China.

The measures were jointly enacted by the National Religious Affairs Administration, Cyberspace Administration of China, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of State Security. It will be effective starting from March 1, 2022.

Online religious contents that incite subversion of state power, violate the principle of independence and self-management in religious undertakings, induce minors to believe in religion are prohibited. 

State security departments will prevent and handle domestic organizations, and individuals colluding with foreign ones to use religion to conduct activities that endanger national security on the internet.

Global Times