By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ISTANBUL (AA) - China has released new guidelines to regulate what it calls “online religious information service” by foreigners, banning them from preaching online, local media reported on Tuesday.
According to the daily Global Times, foreign individuals and organizations are not allowed to operate online religious information services in China.
The report, citing new measures jointly enacted by five Chinese departments, said the regulation aims to guarantee freedom of religious belief.
The new guidelines were framed by the National Religious Affairs Administration, Cyberspace Administration of China, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of State Security.
The measures will take effect on March 1 next year.
Under the new rules, any Chinese organization or individual has to submit an application to provincial religious affairs departments, and online preaching should be conducted by religious groups, temples, and churches with a specific permit.
They could preach online only via their own specialized internet websites, applications, or forums approved by law and they are required to register with their own names.
Moreover, the new measures ban organizations or individuals from doing missionary work online or offering religious education and training and publishing preaching content.
Live broadcasting or online recording of a religious ceremony is forbidden, and individuals and organizations are not allowed to fundraise for religion online.