Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
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The new Religious Affairs Provisions, to go into effect on 1 March 2005, have been claimed by Chinese officials to represent a “paradigm shift” in official thinking about religious affairs. But most analysts agree that they represent almost no real change. However, the rules do offer insights into the “everyday forms of resistance” that religious believers – such as ‘underground’ and ‘overground’ Protestants and Catholics, Falun Gong practitioners, Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists – practice against arbitrary state regulations and oppressive actions by officials. Chinese believers are not just passive victims of the state’s repressive religious policy. While few are openly defiant, they are certainly resisting – in many cases quite effectively. It is still too early to see who will eventually win in this continuing struggle between a state with ever-declining control over society and a society becoming more assertive in protecting its rights against the state.