“The long-awaited revision of the draft religion regulations circulated last September was signed into law last month and will take effect February 1, 2018.

Last autumn’s draft evoked a groundswell of concern among Christians in China, many of whom had hoped the government would provide a path toward legal status for China’s unregistered churches. The final version retains the harsh language targeting unregistered religious activities, unofficial religious schools, unauthorized religious instruction, and religious believers going abroad for training, conferences, or other activities. In keeping with the times, the regulations require that religious information services on the Internet be registered with the religious affairs department at the provincial level or above.”

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