New security laws recently passed by the Chinese government could further limit religious freedom on the Chinese mainland and beyond. China Aid warns that the wording of these new laws is “intentionally vague” and may prompt greater “persecution and abuse based on perceived threats to national security.” Among its provisions are further restrictions on “foreign influences” and what they consider “cults.”
The new security laws also expand China’s restrictions on religion into Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Some Hong Kong-based pastors fear that they might be penalised for activities such as serving mainland Christians via the Internet, hosting their visits, or even preaching to people from mainland China who are presently living in Hong Kong.
On 1 July, the same day the new laws were enacted, Hong Kong pastor Wu Xiaohe was summoned by the Religious Affairs Bureau in Shenzhen city and told he could no longer invite mainland Chinese Christians to Hong Kong for training. Officials told him that “at least 300 more religious leaders” would receive similar summons.
Sources: China Aid, Release International
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