Beijing’s update of national-level religious regulations is part and parcel of a larger governance effort.  This effort is designed to construct a latticework of legislation for managing citizens’ activities and minimizing international influences.  If these regulations are implemented uniformly—which is always a big if in the PRC—in some cases they will offer greater certainty about what is allowed under the law.  In others, they will restrict activities that previously had not been clearly regulated.  Beijing’s negotiations with the Vatican over bishop ordinations reflect the same desires: to cement the party’s role in defining the permissible in Chinese religious life, to check foreign influence, and to continue to regularize social-management efforts.

PRC Religious Policy: Serving the Gods of the CCP

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