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03/13/2022 China (International Christian Concern) – On March 1, the Chinese government officially placed a ban on unauthorized online religious activities. Any religious group seeking to conduct religious activities online cannot do so without obtaining a license issued by the government.

With Jiangsu province’s recent announcement that the Internet religious information service license examination will be launched in mid-March, all provinces in China have successively begun the licensing work.

Even before the Administrative Measures for Internet Religious Information Services, the legal basis for the such ban came into force on March 1, the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of Zhejiang Province announced on Feb. 28 that the licensing of internet religious information services in the whole province would start as soon as March comes.

Its notice reads, The legal person organization or unincorporated organization that intends to engage in Internet religious information service shall apply to the Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee of Zhejiang Province, which will make a decision of approval or disapproval within 20 days from the date of accepting the application.”

Zhejiang province also plans to hold the “Zhejiang Internet religious information examiner training course” to effectively facilitate the applicants’ work and improve the examination ability of religious information examiners.

Following Zhejiang, Anhui, Shandong, Shaanxi, and Guangdong provinces all issued a similar notice with regard to the licensing work, according to China Christian Daily.

Pastor Bob Fu from China Aid told World Magazine in a recent interview that many Christians had already begun to prepare before the measures came into effect. Other people like very bold evangelists, they just say, “Oh, you know, are you kidding me?” This is part of the history of the persecuted church in China. And are we just expecting things to get better? And this is just a norm. So, let’s not compromise.

While the Chinese Communist Party officials say the measures are designed to protect the country’s national security and social stability, the true intention is to tighten the party’s grip on religion.

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