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China Trains Personnel to Censor Online Religious Information

China’s Zhejiang Provincial government recently issued a notice that it will train auditors of Internet religious information starting on March 31. The content of the training includes “basic knowledge of religion” and “religious policies and regulations.” Several provinces and cities have made announcements for such training and examinations.

Pastor Liu Yi, who now lives in California and once worked for many years in churches in Zhejiang, said that religious auditors have existed in China since a long time ago. Liu said, “At the beginning of the Chinese Communist Party’s takeover of China, there were such personnel in Christian and Catholic churches, monitoring the sermons and Bible studies. If any so-called anti-socialist content was found, it would be reported to the authorities.”

The Measures for the Administration of Religious Information Services on the Internet, published by China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs (SARA), came into effect on March 1 this year. The document prohibits any organization or individual from establishing any religious organizations, religious colleges, religious activity sites, or developing congregations online, and it also prohibits overseas organizations or individuals from “engaging in Internet religious information services” inside China.

According to the announcement of the Tianjin Municipal government on March 7, the scope of training also includes “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” “Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law,” “Socialist Core Values ,” and “General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Important Discourse on Religious Work.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, March 22, 2022