China's top religious authority has promised new regulations on religious affairs, which experts say could allow harsher means to crack down on religious practices of of national security.
The newly revised Regulation on Religious Affairs would be released soon, Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) said at the start of this week's National Conference of Bureau Chiefs of Religious Affairs in Beijing.
The revisions would stress solving issues around national security, social and media concerns, and what religious followers have been strongly calling for, in order to adapt to urgent needs under the current situation, the Xinhua News Agency reported. The Regulations on Religious Affairs have not been updated since March 2005, according to SARA.
In the 12 years since, China's traditional major religions have experienced a global integration; meanwhile, new ones have entered China, and the Internet also brought new elements, so a revised regulation is necessary now, said Shen Guiping, a religious expert at the Central Institute of Socialism.
"Terrorism has been, in the name of religion, intending to split the country and overthrow the government. With the new regulation, China could intensify crackdowns on extreme religious powers," Shen noted.