China will draft a regulation on the management of online religious information in 2018, a move that experts believe necessary to combat illegal online activities held under the guise of religion.
The regulation, together with others on the management of religious groups, venues and activities, will be drafted or amended in 2018 by the State Administration for Religious Affairs and relevant departments, administration director Wang Zuoan said at a conference on Monday, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
"The internet was used by some [people and groups] for illegal activities under the cloak of religious activities, and it's necessary to have a specific regulation to manage online religious information," Zhu Weiqun, director of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference's Ethnic and Religious Affairs Committee, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
To be more practical, regulations should be detailed and specific, Zhu said.
As China has an increasing number of religious believers and their groups' influence increases, it is necessary to draft or amend religious regulations to ensure their activities are contributing to social stability and unity while protecting citizen's rights to religious freedom, Zhu said.
Enacted in 1999, the regulation on employment of foreigners at religious schools will also be amended, Wang said. Local governments should continue to modify local religious regulations after the revised Regulation on Religious Affairs takes effect next month, Wang noted.
Zhu explained that foreigners cannot conduct any missionary activities in China, but religious academies in the country can invite foreign professionals for academic research and exchange purposes.
However, the country's religious cause cannot be controlled by foreign forces and authorities should keep a close eye out for foreign infiltration, he warned.