China’s current system of regulating religious activities and organizations continues the 1980’s state policy and controls on religion. However, in the context of rapidly changing circumstances at home and abroad, this system is confronted with various challenges. This talk will review the history of Chinese state regulations on religion since 1949, and discuss how much freedom of religious belief the Chinese people in fact enjoy under the current system. It will also cover recent debates on the proposed Special Law on religion, whether it should promote the freedom of religious belief, or continue to enforce strict controls on religion. Is the freedom of religious belief at a crossroads in China right now?
Dr. Ruihua Zhong is currently a visiting scholar in the Religious Studies Dept at UCSB