China: New law suppresses Christian activity online

Monday, March 14, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - China has now put into effect a new law that bars people of faith such as evangelical Christians from conducting online activities without a government-issued license, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.

Under the new law implemented by the Administrative Measures for Internet Religious Information Services on March 1, any religious group that wants to stream or post sermons must obtain an Internet Religious Information Service Permit, ICC said. Moreover, no one can raise funds in the name of religion’ online.

In practice, only government-approved religious organizations, such as the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) or the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA) will be granted licenses to operate online.

The new measures constitute a further layer of suppression for China’s Christian community, already oppressed by the government’s nationwide Sinicization program which seeks to stifle minority faith groups.

In a statement about the new measures, ICC said: “These measures taken by the Chinese government represent a direct assault on so much of China’s informal and unregulated religious activity. Many house churches in China operate outside of the sanctioned religious organizations commissioned by the Chinese government’s SARA – for Christians, this is either the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) or the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA). Christian churches who operate outside of these organizations have faced severe harassment from Chinese authorities.”

“While the Chinese Communist Party officials say the measures are designed to protect the country’s national security and social stability, the true intention is to tighten the party’s grip on religion,” ICC attested.

Ruled by the Chinese Communist Party, China ranks 17th on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.