China to regulate online religious activity amid crackdown

BEIJING (AP) — China is rolling out new rules on religious activity on the internet amid an ongoing crackdown on churches, mosques and other institutions by the officially atheist Communist Party.

The rules posted online late Monday by the State Administration for Religious Affairs would require anyone wishing to provide religious instruction or similar services to apply by name.

They impose tight limits on what can be said or posted, including a ban on criticism of official religious policies or promoting religion among minors. Livestreaming of religious activities, including praying, preaching or even burning incense, is also forbidden.

Authorities in recent months have ratcheted up pressure on religious groups, destroying crosses, burning bibles, shutting churches and ordering followers to renounce their faith. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims are believed to have been detained.