Tripod


Spring 2018 Vol. 38 - No. 188 The Church in China Facing Severe Political Pressure



Religious Affairs Regulations (2017 Revision)


Based on a translation by China Law,
Translate, and modified by the Holy Spirit Study Centre editorial staff


        The State Council of the People's Republic of China promulgated Decree No. 686: Religious Affairs Regulations on 26th August, 2017.

        Chapter I: General Provisions
        Chapter II: Religious Groups
        Chapter III: Religious Schools
        Chapter IV: Religious Activity sites
        Chapter V: Religious Personnel
        Chapter VI: Religious Activities
        Chapter VII: Religious Assets
        Chapter VIII: Legal Responsibility
        Chapter IX: Supplementary Provisions

Chapter I: General Provisions

        Article 1: These Regulations are formulated in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws so as to ensure citizens’ freedom of religious belief, maintain harmony among and between religions, maintain social harmony, regulate the administration of religious affairs, and increase the level of legalization in religious work.

        Article 2: Citizens have the freedom of religious belief.

        No organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in any religion (hereafter referred to as religious citizens) or citizens who do not believe in any religion (hereafter referred to as non-religious citizens).

        Religious citizens and non-religious citizens shall respect each other and co-exist in harmony, and so shall citizens who believe in different religions.

        Article 3: The management of religious affairs upholds the principles of protecting what is lawful, prohibiting what is unlawful, suppressing extremism, resisting infiltration, and fighting crime.

        Article 4: The State, in accordance with the law, protects normal religious activities, actively guides religion to fit in with socialist society, and safeguards the lawful rights and interests of religious groups, religious schools, religious activity sites and religious citizens.

        Religious groups, religious schools, religious activity sites, and religious citizens shall abide by the Constitution, laws, regulations and rules; practice the core socialist values; and preserve the unification of the country, ethnic unity, religious harmony and social stability.

        Religion must not be used by any individual or organization to engage in activities that endanger national security, disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or obstruct the State educational system, as well as other activities that harm State or societal public interests, or citizens' lawful rights and interests, and other such illegal activities.

        Individuals and organizations must not create contradictions and conflicts between different religions, within a single religion, or between religious and non-religious citizens; must not advocate, support, or fund religious extremism; and must not use religion to undermine ethnic unity, divide the nation or carry out terrorist activities.

        Article 5: All religions shall adhere to the principle of independence and self-governance; religious groups, religious schools, and religious activity sites and religious affairs, are not to be controlled by foreign forces.

        Religious bodies, religious schools, religious activity sites, and religious personnel are to develop external exchange on the basis of mutual respect, equality, and friendship; other organizations or individuals must not accept any religious conditions in external cooperation or exchange in economic, cultural or other fields.

        Article 6: All levels of people's governments shall strengthen work on religion, establish and complete mechanisms for work on religion, and ensure the strength of and the necessary conditions for the work.

        The religious affairs department of the people’s government at the county level or above are to lawfully carry out management of religious affairs that involve State or public interests, and the other departments of the people’s government at the county level or above are to be responsible for the management of relevant affairs within the scope of their respective functions and duties.

        People's governments at the township level shall complete efforts for the management of religious affairs within their own administrative areas. Villagers' committees and residents' committees shall lawfully assist people's governments in managing religious affairs.

        All levels of people's governments shall solicit the views of religious groups, religious schools, religious activity sites, and religious citizens, and coordinate the management of religious affairs so as to provide public services to religious groups, religious schools and religious activity sites.

Chapter II: Religious Groups

        Article 7: The establishment, modification, or deregistration of a religious group shall be registered in accordance with the relevant State provisions on the management of social groups.

        The articles of association of religious groups shall comply with the relevant State provisions on the management of social groups.

        The activities carried out by a religious body in accordance with its articles of association are protected by law.

        Article 8: Religious groups have the following functions:

  1. assist the people's government in the implementation of laws, regulations, rules, and policies, to preserve the lawful rights and interests of religious citizens;

  2. guide religious affairs, formulate a system of rules and supervise their implementation;
  3. engage in religious cultural studies, explain the religious doctrines and canons, and carry out the construction of religious ideology;
  4. carry out religious education and training, cultivate religious personnel, designate and manage religious personnel;
  5. such other functions as laws, regulations, rules and religious groups' articles of association provide.

        Article 9: National religious groups and those of the provinces, autonomous regions, and directly-governed municipalities may, based on the need of their respective religions, select and receive religious students studying overseas in accordance with provisions; other organizations or individuals must not select and accept religious students studying overseas.

        Article 10: Religious schools, religious activity sites, and religious personnel shall abide by the rules formulated by religious groups.

Chapter III: Religious Schools

        Article 11: Religious schools are established by national religious groups or by the religious groups of provinces, autonomous regions, and directly-governed municipalities. Other organizations or individuals must not establish religious schools.

        Article 12: The establishment of religious schools shall be upon application of the national religious groups to the religious affairs department under the State Council, or upon application of the religious groups of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government to the religious affairs department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government. The religious affairs department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government shall make a recommendation within 30 days of receiving the application; and report to the department of religious affairs under the State Council.

        The religious affairs department under the State Council shall make a decision to approve or not approve within 60 days of receiving a national religious group's application, or the materials reported from the religious affairs department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government.

        Article 13: Religious schools shall meet the following conditions to be established:

  1. Have clear training objectives, school regulations, and curriculum plans;
  2. Have a source of students that meet the requirements for training;
  3. Have the necessary school funding and stable sources of funds;
  4. Have teaching sites, facilities, and equipment necessary for the pedagogic mission and teaching model;
  5. Have a full-time responsible party for the school, qualified full-time teachers, and internal management organizations.
  6. a reasonable configuration.

        Article 14: Religious schools established upon approval may apply to register as legal persons in accordance with relevant provisions.

        Article 15: Religious schools shall follow the provisions of article 12 of these regulations in handling changes of their addresses, school names, affiliations, training objectives, education systems, or school sizes, or where merging, dividing, or terminating.

        Article 16: Religious schools are to carry out designated systems for verification of teachers' qualifications, review of titles, and conferring of degrees; with specific measures separately formulated by the department of religious affairs under the State Council.

        Article 17: Religious schools hiring foreign professional staff shall do so after the State Council religious affairs department consents, and go to the department for administration of foreign workers for their area to handle the relevant formalities.

        Article 18: Religious groups and temples, Taoist temples, mosques, and churches (hereafter temples and churches), carrying out religious education and training to cultivate religious personnel, where the training period is 3 months or more, shall report for review and approval to the religious affairs department of the local people's government at or above the level of a city divided into districts.

Chapter IV: Religious Activity sites

        Article 19: Religious activity sites include temples and churches and other fixed locations for religious activity.

        Standards for distinguishing temples and churches and other fixed sites for religious premises are to be formulated by the religious affairs department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government, and reported to the religious affairs department under the State Council to be filed for the record.

        Article 20: Religious activity sites shall meet the following conditions to be established:

  1. The purpose of their establishment is not contrary to articles 4 and 5 of these Regulations;
  2. The local religious citizens have need to regularly conduct collective religious activities;
  3. There are religious personnel or other personnel meeting the requirements of the religion who intend to preside over the religious activities;
  4. have the necessary funds from legal sources and channels;
  5. have a reasonable configuration meeting the requirements of urban and rural planning, and not impeding the ordinary lives and production of surrounding units and residents.

        Article 21: In preparation for the establishment of a religious activity site, religious groups are to submit applications to the religious affairs department of the people's government at the county-level for the area where the religious activity site will be. Within 30 days of receiving an application, the religious affairs department of the people's government at the county-level shall report recommendations regarding examination and approval to the religious affairs department of the people's government at the level of a city divided into districts.

        The religious affairs department of the people’s government at the level of a city divided into districts shall, within 30 days of receiving reported materials from the religious affairs department of the people’s government at the county level, make a decision to approve or reject applications to establish other fixed premises for religious activity. Where the application is for the establishment of temples and churches, it shall put forward its views upon examination and verification and report to the religious affairs department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government for review and approval.

        The religious affairs department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government shall make a decision to approve or not approve within 30 days of receiving the report materials from the religious affairs department of the people's government at the level of a city divided into districts.

        Only after an application for the establishment of a religious activity site has been approved, may preparations to build the religious activity site be handled.

        Article 22: After religious activity sites have been approved for preparations and completed construction, they shall apply for registration with the religious affairs department of the people’s government at the county level for that area. The religious affairs department of the people's government at the county-level shall, within 30 days of receiving an application, conduct a review of the religious activity site's management organization and formulation of internal rules, and, if the site meets the conditions for registration, register it and issue the Registration Certificate of the Site for Religious Activities.”

        Article 23: Religious activity sites meeting the requirements for legal personhood, may register as legal persons with the civil affairs departments upon the consent of an area religious group and reporting to the religious affairs department of the people’s government at the county level for review and consent.

        Article 24: Where religious activity sites terminate or modify the content of their registration, they shall handle the formalities corresponding to the cancellation or modification of registration with the original registration administration department.

        Article 25: Religious activity sites shall establish management organizations and implement democratic management. Members of the management organization of the site for religious activities shall be recommended or elected upon democratic consultation, and then be reported to the registration administration department of such site for the record.

        Article 26: Religious activity sites shall strengthen internal management, and follow relevant laws, regulations and rules to establish and complete management systems for personnel, finance, assets, accounting, security, fire control, cultural relics protection, sanitation, and epidemic prevention, etc., and will accept the guidance, supervision and inspection by relevant departments of the local people's governments.

        Article 27: Religious affairs departments shall supervise and inspect the sites for religious activities in terms of their compliance with laws, regulations and rules, the development and implementation of management systems, the alteration of registered items, the conducting of religious activities and activities that involve foreign affairs. The sites for religious activities shall accept the supervision and inspection by the religious affairs department.

        Article 28: Religious articles, artworks and publications may be sold within religious activity sites.

        Article 29: Religious activity sites shall guard against incidents that harm the religious sentiment of religious citizens, undermine ethnic unity, and influence social stability, such as the occurrence of major accidents on the premises or violation of religious taboos.

        When the incidents or matters listed in the preceding paragraph occur, religious activity sites shall immediately report them to the religious affairs department of the people’s government at the county level for that area.

        Article 30: Religious groups, temples and churches intending to build large outdoor religious statues shall have the relevant religious body of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the Central Government submit an application to the religious affairs department of the people's government of the province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government, which shall make a recommendation within 30 days of receiving the application; and report it to the department of religious affairs under the State Council for examination and approval.

        The religious affairs department under the State Council shall make a decision to approve or not approve within 60 days of receiving a report on the construction of a large outdoor religious statue.

        Organizations and individuals other than religious groups, temples and churches must not construct large outdoor religious statues.

        The construction of large outdoor religious statues outside of temple and church grounds is prohibited.

        Article 31: Relevant units and individuals setting up commercial service outlets, organizing displays and exhibitions, or filming movies and television, and carrying out other activities on religious activity sites, shall first obtain the consent of the religious activity sites.

        Article 32: All levels of local people's government shall include the establishment of religious activity sites in their land use plans and urban-rural planning, based on actual needs.

        The construction of religious activity sites and large outdoor religious statues shall conform to overall land use plans, urban-rural plans, and relevant laws and regulations such as on engineering, construction and preservation of artifacts.

        Article 33: Reconstruction or construction of new buildings on religious activity sites shall be done after approval by the religious affairs department of a local people's government at the county level or above, and then handling formalities such as for planning and construction can take place.

        Expansion of religious activity sites, or rebuilding in different locations, should be handled in accordance with the procedures provided in article 21 of these Regulations.

        Article 34: Where there are religious activity sites in scenic areas, the local people's government at the county level or above shall coordinate and handle interests and relationships between the religious activity sites and scenic area management organizations, in areas such as gardens, forest preserves, cultural relics, tourism and so forth, to preserve the lawful rights and interests of the sites for religious activities, religious personnel, and religious citizens, and to protect normal religious activities.

        The planning and construction of scenic areas where a site for religious activities is the primary sightseeing attraction, shall be in harmony with the style and surroundings of such site.

        Article 35: Where religious citizens need to regularly conduct collective religious activities, but do not possess the conditions for applying to set up religious activity sites, a representative of the religious citizens is to submit an application to the religious affairs department of the people’s government at the county level which, after soliciting the opinions of local religious groups and the people’s government at the township-level, may designate a temporary activity site for them.

        Under the guidance of the religious affairs department of the people’s government at the county level, the people’s government at the township-level supervises activities at temporary activity locations. When the conditions are met for setting up a site for religious activities, the religious affairs department of the people's government at the county level will review, approve and register the site.

        Religious activities at temporary activity sites shall comply with the relevant provisions of these Regulations.

Chapter V: Religious Personnel

        Article 36: Religious personnel who are determined qualified as such by a religious body and reported for the record to the religious affairs department of the people’s government at or above the county level may engage in professional religious activities.

        The succession of living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism is to be conducted under the guidance of Buddhist groups and in accordance with the religious rites and historical conventions, and is to be reported for approval to the religious affairs department of the people’s government at the provincial level or above or to the people's government at the provincial level or above. The national Catholic religious group is to report Catholic bishops to the religious affairs department of the State Council to be filed for the record.

        Those that have not obtained, or have lost their credentials as religious personnel, must not engage in activity as religious personnel.

        Article 37: Where religious personnel serve or depart as the chief religious personnel of religious activity sites, upon consent by the religious body of the religion concerned, it is to be reported to the religious affairs department of the people’s government at the county level or above for the record.

        Article 38: The presiding over of religious activities, conducting of religious ceremonies, sorting out of religious scriptures, pursuit of religious and cultural research, and the carrying out of public interest charitable activities and other such activities by religious personnel, are protected by law.

        Article 39: Religious personnel lawfully participate in social security and enjoy the corresponding rights. Religious groups, religious schools, and religious activity sites shall handle social insurance registration for religious personnel in accordance with provisions.

Chapter VI: Religious Activities

        Article 40: Collective religious activities of religious citizens shall, in general, be held at religious activity sites, be organized by religious activity sites, religious groups, or religious school organizations; and be presided over by religious personnel or other persons meeting the requirements of that religion's rules; and conducted according to their religious doctrines and canons.

        Article 41: Non-religious groups, non-religious schools, non-religious activity sites, or non-designated temporary activity sites must not hold religious activities, and must not accept religious donations.

        Non-religious groups, non-religious schools, and non-religious activity sites, or non-designated temporary sites for religious activities must not carry out religious training and must not organize citizens leaving the country to participate in religious training, meetings, activities and so forth.

        Article 42: Where a large-scale religious activity, which crosses provinces, autonomous regions or directly governed municipalities is held that is beyond the accommodation capacity of a religious activity site, or where a large-scale religious activity is to be held outside a religious activities site, the religious group, church or temple sponsoring the activity shall, 30 days before the activity is to be held, submit an application to the religious affairs department of the people's government at the level of a city divided into districts where the activity is to be held. The religious affairs department of the people’s government at the level of a city divided into districts shall, within 15 days from the date of receiving an application, make a decision of approval or disapproval after soliciting the opinions of the public security organs for that level of people's government. If an application is approved, the approving organ is to report to the religious affairs department of the people’s government at the provincial level for the record.

        Large-scale religious activities shall, as required and indicated in the written notification of approval, proceed in accordance with religious rites and rituals, and must not violate the relevant provisions of Articles 4 and 5 of these Regulations. The sponsoring religious group, church or temple shall employ effective measures to prevent the occurrence of accidents and guarantee that large-scale religious activities are conducted safely and orderly. The people's government at the township-level and the relevant departments of the local people's government at the county level or above for the place where such large-scale religious activities are to be held shall, within the limits of their respective functions and duties, carry out the necessary management and guidance.

        Article 43: The national religious body of Islam is responsible for the making of hajj abroad by Chinese citizens who believe in Islam.

        Article 44: It is prohibited to proselytize, hold religious activities, establish religious organizations, or set up religious activity sites in schools or educational bodies other than religious schools.

        Article 45: Religious groups, religious schools, and churches and temples may, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the State, compile and publish reference publications to be circulated within religious circles. Religious publications for public distribution are to be handled in accordance with the relevant provisions of the State on the administration of publications.

        Publications involving religious contents shall comply with laws and regulations on the administration of publications, and must not contain the following content:

  1. that which undermines the harmonious co-existence between religious and non-religious citizens;
  2. that which undermines the harmony between different religions or within a religion;
  3. that which discriminates against or insults religious or non-religious citizens;
  4. that which advocates religious extremism;
  5. that which contravenes the principle of religions' independence and self-governance.

        Article 46: Religious publications or printed matter that exceeds personal use and reasonable quantities brought into the mainland, or otherwise imported, shall be handled in accordance with relevant state regulations.

        Article 47: Engagement in internet religious information services shall be upon the review and consent of the religious affairs department of the people's government at the provincial level or above, and handled in accordance with the relevant state provisions on internet information services management.

        Article 48 The content of internet religious information services shall comply with the relevant laws, regulations, rules, and relevant provisions on the management of religious affairs.

        The content of internet religious information services must not violate the provisions of paragraph 2 of article 45 of these Regulations.

Chapter VII: Religious Assets

        Article 49: Religious groups, religious schools, and religious activity sites should follow the laws and relevant state provisions to manage and use assets that they lawfully occupy and that are collectively owned assets belonging to the State. They also enjoy ownership or property rights with regards to other lawful assets in accordance with law.

        Article 50: The lawful use of land, lawful ownership or use of buildings, structures, and facilities, as well as of other lawful assets and proceeds by religious groups, religious schools, and religious activity sites, are protected by law.

        ?No organization or individual may encroach upon, loot, privately divide up, damage, destroy, or, illegally seal up, impound, freeze, confiscate or dispose of the legal property of a religious body, religious school or a site for religious activities, nor damage or destroy cultural relics possessed or used by a religious body, religious school or a site for religious activities.

        Article 51: Immovable property such as the houses owned and the land used by religious groups, religious schools, or religious activities sites shall be registered with the real estate registration department of the people’s government at the county level or above in accordance with the law, and be granted a real estate ownership certificate; where the property rights are modified or transferred, the formalities for alteration or transfer of registration shall be promptly handled.

        The real estate registration institution shall, when determining and altering the land-use right of a religious body, religious school, or a site for religious activities, solicit the views of the religious affairs department of the people’s government at the same level.

        Article 52: Religious groups, religious schools, and religious activity sites are non-profit organizations; their assets and income shall be used in activities consistent with their religious purpose and in public interest charitable enterprises. They must not be distributed.

        Article 53: Organizations and individuals that give donations for the construction of religious activity sites do not enjoy ownership or usage rights over the religious activity sites, and must not receive economic benefit from the religious activity sites.

        It is prohibited to invest in or to contract management of religious activity sites or large-scale outdoor religious statues, and it is prohibited to make commercial promotions in the name of religions.

        Article 54: The houses and structures used for religious activities by a religious activities site, as well as their associated living quarters for religious personnel, must not be transferred, mortgaged or used as investments in kind.

        Article 55: Where the houses of a religious group, religious school, or religious activities site need to be demolished due to the needs of the public interest, it shall be done in accordance with the national laws and regulations on the demolition of houses. Religious groups, religious schools, or religious activity sites may select monetary compensation, or exchange of real estate rights or reconstruction.

        Article 56: Religious groups, religious schools, religious activity sites, and religious personnel may lawfully initiate public interest charitable endeavors.

        Public interest charitable activities must not be used to proselytize by any organization or individual.

        Article 57: Religious groups, religious schools or religious activities sites may, in accordance with the relevant national provisions, accept donations from organizations and individuals at home or abroad, which shall be used for the activities that are commensurate with the purpose of the religious group or the religious activities site.

        Religious groups, religious schools, and religious activity sites must not accept donations from foreign organizations or individuals that have conditions attached; where the amount donated exceeds 100,000 RMB, it shall be reported to the religious affairs department of the people's governments at the county level or above for review and approval.

        Religious groups, religious schools, and religious activity sites may accept contributions from citizens in accordance with religious custom, but contributions must not be compelled or levied.

        Article 58: Religious groups, religious schools or religious activities sites shall implement the unified systems of the State for finances, assets, and accounting, and report to the religious affairs department of the people’s government at the county level or above of the place where it is located on its income and expenditure, and on the acceptance and use of donations as well, and, submit to its supervision, and in an appropriate way, make such information public to religious citizens. The religious affairs departments shall share relevant information with the relevant departments.

        Religious groups, religious schools or religious activities sites shall, in accordance with systems of the State on finances and accounting, establish and complete systems audits, financial reporting, financial disclosures, and other such systems; and establish and improve financial management bodies, and allot the necessary financial accounting staff to strengthen financial management.

        The relevant government departments may organize finance and asset inspections, and audits of religious groups, religious schools, and religious activity sites.

        Article 59: Religious groups, religious schools, and religious activity sites shall handle tax registrations in accordance with law.

        Religious groups, religious schools, religious activity sites, and religious personnel shall lawfully handle tax declarations, and enjoy tax benefits in accordance with relevant state provisions.

        Tax departments shall lawfully implement taxation management for religious groups, religious schools, religious activity sites, and religious personnel.

        Article 60: In case of cancellation of registration or termination of a religious body, religious school or a site for religious activities, the property thereof shall be liquidated and the property remaining after the liquidation shall be used for the undertakings that are commensurate with the purpose of the religious body, religious school or the site for religious activities.

Chapter VIII: Legal Responsibility

        Article 61: Where state personnel in administration of religious affairs abuse their authority, play favorites, neglect their duty or commit illegalities for personal gain, they shall be punished in accordance with law; where a crime is constituted, they shall be investigated for criminal liability according to law.

        Article 62: Where anyone compels citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion, or interferes with the normal religious activities conducted by a religious body, a religious school, or a site for religious activities, the religious affairs department shall order it to make corrections; if such act constitutes a violation of public security administration, it shall be given an administrative penalty for public security according to law.?

        Where anyone infringes upon the lawful rights and interests of a religious group, religious school, religious activities site or a religious citizen, civil liability is borne in accordance with the law; where a crime is constituted, criminal liability is pursued in accordance with the law.

        Article 63: Advocating, supporting, or funding religious extremism, or using religion to harm national security or public safety, undermine ethnic unity, divide the nation, or conduct terrorist activities and separatism or activities infringing upon citizens’ rights in their personal or democratic rights, impeding the administration of public order, or encroaching upon public or private property, where a crime is constituted, criminal responsibility is pursued in accordance with the law. Where no crime is constituted, the relevant competent department shall impose administrative penalties in accordance with the law; and where losses are caused to citizens, legal persons or other organizations, it shall assume civil liability in accordance with the law.

        Where religious groups, religious schools or religious activity sites carry out any of the conduct in the preceding paragraph and the circumstances are serious, the relevant departments shall employ necessary measures to rectify it, and those refusing rectification are to have their registration certificate or establishment permit revoked in accordance with the law by the registration administration department or by the department that approved establishment.

        Article 64:Where there are situations in the course of large scale religious activities that endanger national security or public safety, or seriously undermine public order, the relevant departments are to handle it and give punishments in accordance with laws and regulations; where the primary organizing religious group, temple or church bears responsibility, the registration administration department shall order them to replace the principal responsible person, and where circumstances are serious, the registration administration department will revoke registration certificates.

        Where large scale religious activities are organized without authorization, the religious affairs department, together with other relevant departments, are to order that the activities be stopped, and may impose a concurrent fine of between 100,000 and 300,000 yuan; and where there are unlawful gains or illegal assets, confiscate them. Of these, where large scale religious activities are organized without authorization by religious groups or religious activity sites, the registration administration department may also order that religious group or religious activity site to replace the management personnel who is directly responsible.

        Article 65: Where a religious group, religious school, or religious activities site commits any of the following acts, the religious affairs department shall order it to make corrections; where the circumstances are relatively serious, the registration administration department, or the department that approved its establishment, shall order the religious group, religious school, or the religious activities site to replace the person-in-charge who is directly responsible; where the circumstances are serious, the registration administration department, or the department that approved its establishment, shall order that daily activities be stopped, that management organizations be reorganized, and rectification be completed by a fixed date. Where rectification is refused, the registration certificate or establishment permits shall be revoked in accordance with the law; and where there are unlawful gains or illegal assets, they are to be confiscated:

  1. failing to go through the formalities for registration alteration or submission for the record in accordance with the relevant provisions;
  2. religious schools violating the requirements of their training objectives, school regulations, and curriculum setup;

  3. religious activities sites violating Article 26 of these Regulations, by failing to formulate relevant management systems, or failing to have management systems meet the requirements;

  4. religious activity sites violating article 54 of these Regulations by transferring, mortgaging buildings and structures and living quarters for religious personnel, or using them as investments in kind;

  5. failing to promptly report the occurrence of major accidents or incidents at a religious activities site, and causing serious consequences;

  6. contravening the principle of independence and self-governance of religions in violation of the provisions of Article 5 of these Regulations;

  7. accepting donations from home or abroad in violation of the provisions of the State;  
  8. refusing to accept supervision and management carried out by the administrative management department according to law.

       Article 66: Where activities in temporary activity sites violate the relevant provisions of these Regulations, the religious affairs department is to order corrections; where the circumstances are serious, they are to order a stop to the activities and revoke the temporary activity site; where there are unlawful gains or illegal assets, they are to be confiscated.

        Article 67: Where religious groups, religious schools and religious activity sites violate the relevant management provisions on finances, accounting, assets and taxation, departments of finance, taxation and so forth will impose punishments in accordance with the relevant provisions; where the circumstances are serious, upon proposal by the finance and taxation departments, the registration administration department, or the department that approved its establishment, are to revoke the registration certificate or establishment permits according to law.

        Article 68: Where any publications or internet religious information services involving religious content contain content prohibited by the second paragraph of Article 45 of these Regulations, the relevant departments are to impose administrative penalties upon the relevant responsible units and persons in accordance with the law. If a crime is constituted, criminal liability shall be investigated according to law.?

        Where internet religious information services are engaged in without authorization, or where services are provided exceeding the scope of an approved and recorded project, the relevant departments are to handle it in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations.

        Article 69: Where a religious activities site is established without authorization, or where a religious activity site continues to carry out religious activities after its registration has been cancelled, or where a religious school is established without authorization, the religious affairs department, together with the relevant departments are to shut it down and confiscate the unlawful gains or illegal assets if any. Where the unlawful gains or illegal assets cannot be determined, a fine of up to 50,000 yuan is imposed, and the illegal houses or structures, if any, shall be disposed of by the planning and construction departments in accordance with the law. Where there is conduct in violation of public security management, a public security administrative sanction shall be imposed in accordance with the law:

        Where a non-religious group, non-religious school, non-religious activity site, or site not designated for temporary activities organizes or holds religious activities or accepts religious donations, the religious affairs department, together with the departments for public security, civil affairs, construction, education, culture, tourism, cultural artifacts, and so forth, will order it to discontinue its activities, and will confiscate the unlawful gains and illegal assets, if any. They may also impose a fine of between one and three times the value of unlawful gains. Where it is not possible to determine the unlawful gains, a fine of up to 50,000 RMB shall be imposed. Where a crime is constituted, criminal liability shall be pursued in accordance with the law.

        Article 70: Where anyone organizes religious citizens, without authorization, to leave the mainland to participate in religious training, meetings, the hajj or other such activities, or religious education and training is carried out without authorization, the religious affairs department, together with the relevant departments, shall order it to discontinue the activities. They may concurrently impose a fine of between 20,000 and 200,000 yuan, and confiscate the unlawful gains, if any. Where a crime is constituted, criminal liability is to be pursued in accordance with the law.

        Where proselytization, organizing of religious activities, establishment of religious organizations, or establishment of religious activity sites takes place in schools or educational institutions other than religious schools; the department that reviewed and approved it, or other relevant departments are to order corrections to be made within a certain period of time and give warnings. Where there are unlawful gains, they are to be confiscated. Where the circumstances are serious, orders are to be issued to stop enrollment, and cancel education permits. Where a crime is constituted, criminal liability is to be pursued in accordance with the law.

        Article 71: Where resources or facilities are provided for unlawful religious activities, the religious affairs departments are to give a warning and confiscate the unlawful gains or illegal assets, if any; where the circumstances are serious, a fine of between 20,000 and 200,000 yuan is to be imposed; where there are illegal buildings or structures, they are to be disposed of by the departments for planning and construction in accordance with the law; and where there is conduct in violation of public security management, a public security administrative sanction is be imposed in accordance with law.

        Article 72: Where, in violation of the provisions of these Regulations, anyone builds a large-size outdoor religious statue, the religious affairs department together with the departments for land, planning, construction, tourism and so forth, shall order it to discontinue the construction and to demolish the statue in a specified time limit. Unlawful gains, if any, are to be confiscated, and where circumstances are serious, a fine of between 5-10 percent of the construction costs is to be imposed.

        Where there is investment in or contracting of operations of religious activity sites or large outdoor religious statues, the religious affairs department together with departments for industry and commerce, planning, construction, and so forth will order corrections and the confiscation of unlawful gains. Where the circumstances are serious, the registration administration department shall revoke the religious activity site's registration certificates, and investigate the liability of relevant parties.

        Article 73: Where religious personnel exhibit any of the following conduct, the Religious Affairs Department will give a warning, confiscate unlawful gains and illegal assets; where the circumstances are serious, the Religious Affairs Department will recommend that the relevant religious group, religious school or religious activity sites temporarily stop presiding over religious affairs activities or revoke their status as religious personnel. The responsibility of the relevant religious group, religious school or religious activity site's responsible party shall be pursued. Where there is conduct in violation of public security management, a public security administrative sanction is to be imposed in accordance with the law; and where a crime is constituted, criminal responsibility shall be pursued in accordance with the law:

  1. advocating, supporting, or funding religious extremism, undermining ethnic unity, dividing the nation, and conducting terrorist activities, or participating in related activities;

  2. being manipulated by external forces, accepting positions offered by foreign religious groups or organizations without authorization, as well as engaging in other acts in contradiction to the principle of religious independence and self-governance;

  3. Violating national regulations in accepting domestic or foreign donations;

  4. organizing, or presiding over unapproved religious activities held outside of religious activity sites;

  5. other acts in violation of laws, regulations, or rules.

        Article 74: Where anyone engages in professional religious activities by impersonating religious personnel, the religious affairs department shall order it to discontinue such activities and shall confiscate the illegal gains, if any; and concurrently impose a fine of up to 10,000 yuan; where there are violations of public security, public security administrative sanctions are to be imposed in accordance with the law; and where a crime is constituted, criminal responsibility is to be pursued in accordance with the law.

        Article 75: Where anyone refuses to accept a specific administrative act taken by the religious affairs department, it may apply for administrative reconsideration according to law; if it refuses to accept the decision of the administrative reconsideration, it may institute an administrative lawsuit according to law.

Chapter IX: Supplementary Provisions

        Article 76: Religious exchanges between the mainland and Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, and Taiwan, are handled in accordance with relevant laws, administrative regulations, and relevant provisions of the State.

        Article 77: These Regulations shall become effective on February 1, 2018.

This English translation is based on the unofficial translation by China Law Translate (https://www.chinalawtranslate.com/宗教事 務條例-2017/?lang=en) subject to their terms of use, and modified by the Holy Spirit Study Centre editorial staff.

Back to The Index

 Copyright© Holy Spirit Study Centre. All Rights Reserved.