China Releases Administrative Measures for Internet Religious Information Services

The 2017 Forum of Internet + Religious Affairs was hosted on Dec. 27-28, 2017.
The 2017 Forum of Internet + Religious Affairs was hosted on Dec. 27-28, 2017. (photo:
By John WangDecember 23rd, 2021

Released by the State Administration for Religious Affairs on December 3, the "Administrative Measures for Internet Religious Information Services" will come into effect on March 1, 2022.

The measures were jointly formulated by the National Religious Affairs Administration, the Cyberspace Administration of China, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Ministry of National Security. It was made in accordance with the "Cybersecurity Law of the People's Republic of China", "Administrative Measures for Internet Information Services", and the revised "Regulations on Religious Affairs", according to the National Religious Affairs Administration.

The regulation insists on the integration of the protection of citizens’ freedom of religion with the maintenance of national ideological security, and the combination of the safeguarding of the legitimate rights and interests of religious believers with the practice of core socialist values. It adheres to the standardization of the internet-based religious information services, promotion of the healthy inheritance of religions, and the unity of rights and duties. It embodies the principles of protecting legitimate rights and interests, restraining unlawful acts, curbing religious extremism, resisting religious infiltration, and fighting crime.

With five chapters and thirty-six articles, the regulation stipulates those who are engaged in Internet religious information services should apply to the provincial departments of religious affairs, making a detailed statement on the licensing requirements, application materials, username, and the time limit for acceptance.

The regulation says that online preaching should be organized and performed by religious groups, religious schools, temples, and churches that have obtained the "Internet Religious Information Service License." Except for the circumstances stipulated in Articles 15 and 16, no organization or individual is permitted to carry out virtual missionary work and religious education and training, post the content of sermons, or forward related content. Online religious activities are not allowed to be organized, broadcast live, or recorded.

It claims that no organization or individual may conduct fundraising activities in the name of religion on the Internet.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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