China To List Legal Places Of Worship, ‘Root Out’ Illegal

Government defends its religious policy as suitable for "reasonable practitioners"

“Despite the rules, unsanctioned religious movements, which the authorities call cults, have proliferated in recent years, and the government has grown increasingly active in trying to discourage their growth. A court jailed 21 members of banned religious group Quannengshen and executed two this year after members were accused of murdering a woman.”

 

China is to publish online details of legal religious venues, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday, apparently in an effort to identify unsanctioned groups as part of an effort to “root out illegal religious activities”.

Names and addresses for “all Buddhist and Taoist venues” would be published within two years, Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, told a conference on Friday, according to the news agency.

Xinhua made no mention of other religions but it quoted Wang as saying the information would help stop illegal religious activity in unauthorized locations.

The government’s attitude toward religion has softened significantly in recent decades, and people are allowed to practice religion at sanctioned institutions that are required to preach and practice loyalty to the government.

Despite the rules, unsanctioned religious movements, which the authorities call cults, have proliferated in recent years, and the government has grown increasingly active in trying to discourage their growth.

A court jailed 21 members of banned religious group Quannengshen and executed two this year after members were accused of murdering a woman.

Beijing also maintains a ban on the Falun Gong church, which has become one of the most strident public opponents of the Chinese Communist Party.

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