(TibetanReview.net, Jan18, 2017) – China’s top religious authority has been cited as saying the country will soon introduce new regulations on religious affairs designed to allow harsher means to crack down on religious practices for national security, reported the country’s party mouthpiece Globaltimes.cn Jan 16. With the sole ruling Communist Party of China being law unto itself, and there being no real restrictions on its powers, it was unclear what harsher means to crack down on religious practices meant.
The newly revised Regulation on Religious Affairs would be released soon, the report cited Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), as saying at the start of a National Conference of Bureau Chiefs of Religious Affairs being held in Beijing.
Claiming that religious followers had been strongly calling for such new regulations, in order to adapt to urgent needs under the current situation, the report said the revisions would stress solving issues around national security, and social and media concerns.
The report cited SARA as saying the Regulations on Religious Affairs had not been updated since Mar 2005. It cited Shen Guiping, a religious expert at the Central Institute of Socialism, as saying that in the 12 years since then, China’s traditional major religions had experienced a global integration, new ones had entered China, and the Internet had also brought new elements, therefore necessitating a revised regulation now.
And the report quoted Shen as saying, “Terrorism has been, in the name of religion, intending to split the country and overthrow the government. With the new regulation, China could intensify crackdowns on extreme religious powers.”