New religion regulations, in a government crackdown on ‘extremism’, came into force across China on 1 February.
The updated regulations which increase government scrutiny of religious literature and websites, require registered religious organisations not to “use religion to harm national security, disrupt social order … or [do] other harm [to] national interests.”
There are also new provisions against using religion to “spread extremism” and regulations requiring that “sites established for religions activates” – which includes registered churches – must be “in harmony with the needs of urban planning”
The changes appear to leave Christians, particularly those in registered churches who are legally allowed to meet, in a more vulnerable position.
Authorities have demolished several churches in the last two months, while accusations that Christians are undermining the state continue to be used as a pretext to arrest and jail believers.