The Chinese government has tightened restrictions on religious freedom, intensifying penalties for unsanctioned activities and increasing its supervision of certain groups in a bid to fight extremism and internal threats, AFP reported.
The new restrictions come as China increases already strict controls on Muslims and Christian populations and include a ban on religious organizations accepting foreign donations.
China says it is facing a growing threat from “radical Islam” and domestic cults. Critics have accused Beijing of harassment, detention and abuse.
According to a copy of the new regulations posted on the State Council’s official website, the latest measures focus on “maintaining legality, curbing illegality, blocking extremism, resisting infiltration and attacking crime.”
“Any organization or individual may not use religion to carry out illegal activities such as endangering national security, undermining social order...and other activities that harm national interests,” it said.
Under the rules, religious groups must be registered with the state, and unregistered organizations are prohibited from establishing schools in addition to not being allowed to set up places of worship.
China has stepped up its crackdown on civil society since President Xi Jinping took office in 2012, tightening restrictions on freedom of speech and imprisoning hundreds of activists and lawyers.