Church in Chains, 12 May 2021
China continues to tighten its grip on religion, the State Administration for Religious Affairs has introduced new “Administrative Measures for Religious Clergy”, which came into effect on 1 May.
Under the new Administrative Measures, those who “engage in religious teaching activities” must register on a database of religious clergy and will be given an identification number and a clergy certificate. Anyone not registered on the database will not be permitted to undertake ministry.
To qualify, according to Article 3, “Religious clergy should love the motherland, support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, support the socialist system, … practice the core values of socialism, adhere to the principle of independent and self-administered religion in China, … operate to maintain national unity, religious harmony, and social stability.”
Registered churches must sing patriotic songs, fly the national flag, install surveillance cameras, listen to pro-Communist Party sermons, put up portraits of the president and display quotes from his speeches extolling “core socialist values”.