Religious freedom and Chinese law

THE CURRENT Chinese Constitution (adopted in 1982) grants “freedom of religious belief,” but only specifies that right as belonging to the individual citizen. It refers to, but does not define, “normal religious activities.” These two items have been pressure points in religious policy and law ever since. Article 36 reads as follows:

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. 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. Religious bodies and religious affairs are not subject to any foreign domination.
By the editors

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #98 in 2008]

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