As soon as I arrived in China, the government published a new ‘white paper’, called ‘China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief’. The Chinese original can be found here, but translations into other languages are not yet available. The comrades at the Central and Compilation Bureau will be working on the translations as I write.
However, a number of new outlets have given a foretaste, such as this one at Xinhua News:
China Tuesday issued a white paper noting that the country adopts policies on freedom of religious belief, and that such freedom is protected under the socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics.
The white paper, titled “China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief,” was issued by the State Council Information Office.
It said that respecting and protecting freedom of religious belief is a basic policy of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government.
“Believers and non-believers enjoy the same political, economic, social and cultural rights, and must not be treated differently because of a difference in belief,” the white paper said, adding that the state respects citizens’ freedom to religious belief and protects their normal religious activities.
It said China manages religious affairs in accordance with the law, adheres to the principle of independence and self-management, actively guides religions to adapt to the socialist society, and unites religious believers and non-believers to the greatest extent.
Also, the document said the socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics is continuously being improved, providing stronger guarantees for the lawful rights and interests of religious believers.
The religious activities of foreigners in China are also protected in accordance with the law, according to the white paper.
The document noted that religious extremism and violent terrorist activities are dealt with in accordance with the law. It said China opposes all extremism that seeks to instigate hatred, incite discrimination and advocate violence by distorting religious doctrines or through other means, and forbids any discriminatory behavior on the grounds of region, ethnicity and religion.
“China takes measures against the propagation and spread of religious extremism, and at the same time, carefully avoids linking violent terrorism and religious extremism with any particular ethnic group or religion,” it said.