China will tighten control over funds for religious groups with the implementation in June of the “Measures for the financial management of religious sites” by the Chinese Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Religious Affairs.
A report on AsiaNews said the new measure supposedly aims to organize the finances, revenues, donations and expenses of religious groups and curb abuses, but it also imposes governmental control over religious activities.
The new rules will place the supervision of the finances of religious sites into the hands of the government’s United Front and the Ministry of Finance. Funds from places of worship can now be used “only” according to the instructions of the Communist Party, said the report.
The report said that with the new rules, religious groups are “essentially assimilated to NGOs, which are all subject to the government with regard to their budgets and how to use resources.”
“The financial control of religious groups strengthens the ‘sinicization’ of religion desired by the regime, a process officially launched in 2015,” the AsiaNews report said.
Earlier in March 1, the government implemented the “Administrative measures for religious information services on the internet,” prohibiting religious activities online without government authorization.
In February, the State Administration for Religious Affairs released the “Administrative Measures for Religious Personnel,” that defines the management of clergy, monks, priests, bishops, and other religious leaders.