Religious Policy

Source: Showchina [13:42 July 11 2009]

The Constitution of the People's Republic of China stipulates, "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion. The state protects normal religious activities. " Meanwhile, the Constitution also provides, "No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state." Also, "religious bodies and religious affairs are not subject to any foreign domination."

Other Chinese laws also provide stipulations on religious belief, including the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy, the General Principles of the Civil Law, the Education Law, the Labor Law, the Compulsory Education Law, the Electoral Law of the National People's Congress and Local People's Congresses, the Organic Law of the Villagers' Committees, and the Advertising Law. Relevant stipulations are: All citizens, regardless of their religious belief, have the right to vote and stand for election; the legal property of religious organizations is protected by law; education and religion are separate and citizens, regardless of their religious belief, have equal chance to receive education according to law; ethnic groups shall respect one another's language, customs and religious belief; citizens shall not be discriminated against in employment because of different religious beliefs; and advertisements and trademarks shall contain no content suggestive of ethnic or religious discrimination.

On March 1, 2005, Regulations on Religious Affairs was issued by the State Council and put into effect. These regulations were formulated in the form of laws for the purposes of ensuring the rights of religious groups and citizens who believe in religions to engage in religious activates, establish religious schools, publish religious books and periodicals, manage properties related to religions and conduct outbound religious exchanges. They showcase the Chinese Government's respect and protection toward its citizens?freedom of religious belief, and standardize administration of related departments in accordance of with the rule of law.

In China, all religions share equal status and harmony is maintained among and between religions; religious dispute is never heard of; citizens with and without religious belief respect and get along with one another. The situation is bestowed by the Chinese Government's policy of freedom of religious belief since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, together with the spirit of compatibility and tolerance that are enshrined in traditional Chinese culture.