In a move recalling 1900’s Boxer Rebellion, officials in the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) are preparing to ban foreign missionaries from China.
The “Foreign Religious Activities in the People’s Republic of China” draft rules released earlier this month provide 40 Articles covering virtually every aspect of missionary work in the world’s most populous country.
“Foreigners are also not allowed to set up religious groups, engage in activities, or open schools, proselytise among Chinese citizens, recruit followers, or accept donations from Chinese citizens (Article 21),” according to LifeSiteNews, quoting AsiaNews.It.
Foreign-based groups, including missionaries representing Protestant groups like the Southern Baptist Convention’s Foreign Missions Board and the Catholic Church in Rome, must register with SARA, then wait 20 days before being told what they can and cannot do.
The registration requires names of each individual associated with the group seeking to operate in China, as well as detailed information about proposed activities.
The authorization also includes review of materials proposed for distribution to Chinese citizens. Thus, missionaries may carry with them into China no more than 10 copies of the Bible.
The SARA regulations are the latest development in the CCP’s expanding effort to contain and ultimately eliminate the influence of Christianity in China. Go here for previous HillFaith reporting on these developments.
“The government has orchestrated a campaign to ‘sinicise’ Christianity, to turn Christianity into a fully domesticated religion that would do the bidding of the party,” Lian Xi, a Duke University professor who focuses on Christianity in modern China, told The Guardian earlier this year.
Persecution of Christians is not a new thing in China, as the decade-long Cultural Revolution launched by Chairman Mao Tse Sung specifically targeted Christians.
The SARA regulations also recall the 1900 Boxer Rebellion that sought to remove all “foreign devils” from China. The Boxer Rebellion especially targeted Chinese converts to Christianity in a bloody purge that saw many tortured and murdered.
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