China Focus Tibet

“Order No. 19” further restricts religious freedom

On July 31, the United Front, a branch of the Chinese Communist Party, published a regulation that further regulates religious activities. The regulation is entitled “Measures for the management of sites of religious activity”.

All religious activities require official approval and must aim to “build and strengthen Chinese nationalism.” This should be done through educational campaigns including the promotion of the Chinese language and “ethnic unity”.

Article 3 specifically states: "Religious institutions must uphold the leadership of the CPC and the socialist system, thoroughly implement Xi Jinping's ideology of socialism with Chinese characteristics for the new era, the Constitution, laws, rules and regulations, and relevant provisions on administration religious affairs, practice the core socialist values, adhere to the direction of Sinicization of China's religions, adhere to the principle of independence, autonomy and self-reliance, and uphold the unity of the country, national unity, religious harmony and social stability."

Article 27 of the regulation requires that the secular management committee be composed of "loyal supporters of the leadership and directives of the Chinese Communist Party" and the members must be "residents of mainland China with Chinese nationality."

Buddhism is one of only five officially recognized religions in the People's Republic of China, and "normal religious activities" are nominally protected under Article 36 of the 1982 version of the Constitution. Defining what “normal” activities are opens up many possibilities for arbitrary restrictions on religion. Activities that “impair national security,” “disrupt social order,” or “violate national interests” are not permitted.

United Front, July 31, 2023

Central Tibetan Administration, September 1, 2023

Source: United Front

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