Bitter Winter, an online magazine on religious liberty and human rights in China reports that Chinese authorities are planning to replace the 2005 “Regulations for the Establishment, Approval, and Registration of Religious Activity Venues” with the more restrictive 2023 “Administrative Measures for Religious Activity Venues.” The new regulations have been published as a draft for comments by the Ministry of Justice of the PRC and where interested parties may submit comments by April 24. Bitter Winter states that “this pseudo-democratic process will not result in significant changes, and most likely in no changes at all” to the draft.
The 2005 regulation was already very strict and required all religious venues to be registered with the authorities. The new draft regulation after enactment will mean that a monastery, church, mosque, and other places of worship will receive permission to operate only if it “supports the leadership of the CCP, supports the socialist system, carries out an in-depth implementation of Xi Jinping thought of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, abides by the Constitution, laws, regulations, rules and relevant provisions of the management of religious affairs, practices the core values of socialism, adheres to the direction of Sinicization of religion.”
Furthermore, the draft regulation states that places of worship should promote “the use of the national [Han Chinese] language and script, promote national unity and progress, and guide religious citizens to enhance national consciousness, civic awareness, awareness of the rule of law, the correct distinction between ethnic customs and religious beliefs, and shall not use religion to interfere with administrative, judicial, educational and social life.”
It is clear the new regulations are aimed at further strangling the religion, culture, and traditions of the Tibetan, Uyghur, and Mongolian people. Xi Jinping and Chinese officials have long viewed religion and religious figures as a threat to the Chinese Communist Party and the new regulations will further advance the government’s aggressive policy of assimilating all non-Chinese communities.