China bans foreigners from spreading religious content online

Beijing: China has issued a new regulation under which all foreign organizations or individuals will be banned from spreading religious content online in the country, citing national security interests, a media report said.

No organization or individual will be allowed to disseminate information about religious ceremonies on the internet unless they have a license from China’s religious regulator, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported quoting new regulations.

The regulations are the first of their kind to tighten control of online religious affairs, coming two weeks after a national religious work conference attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, in which he called on China to “strengthen the management of online religious affairs”.

In his address to a national conference on work related to religious affairs on December 4, Xi stressed upholding the principle of developing religions in the Chinese context and providing active guidance for the adaptation of religions to socialist society.

The new measures said that except for licensed religious groups, religious schools, temples, and churches, no organization or individual may preach on the internet, conduct religious education and training, and publish or repost preachers’ comments, the report said.

Organizing and conducting religious activities and live broadcasting or recording religious ceremonies – such as worshipping Buddha, burning incense, chanting, mass, and baptism – will be banned, it said, adding that no organization or individual is permitted to raise funds in the name of religion on the internet.

China is currently in conflict with the US, EU, and western countries over issues related to religion, especially human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

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