China bans overseas donations, personnel from religious activities at temporary sites
China released rules on Friday to regulate temporary religious activities, banning donations from overseas organizations and forbidding foreign personnel from participating in temporary religious activities.
The rules, released by China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) on Friday, explicitly state that worshipers who conduct frequent group religious activities but have not yet qualified to apply to create a religious venue are now able to apply to designate a site for temporary religious activities with local religious affairs departments.
An application should be submitted by representatives who have been elected by followers, have no criminal record, possess religious knowledge, and do not hold a similar post at a different site.
Identification documents including copies of the citizen’s household register and personal ID card as well as the proof of ownership or use right of the designated facility should be provided with their application, according to the SARA.
Applicants are also required to list the number of participants and their planned activities. The local authorities should announce the decision within 10 days, reads the document.
Those who have lost their qualification as religious educators shall not participate in temporary activities as one. Accepting foreign donations, be it from individuals or organizations, are not allowed and foreign personnel cannot be part of the activities.
It is also forbidden to build religious statues, or to erect religious signs outside the temporary site during religious activities.
The site application, once approved, will be valid for no more than three years, states the guideline.