Practice Relating to Rule 104. Respect for Convictions and Religious Practices
China’s Criminal Law (1979), as amended in 1997, states:
Any functionary of a State organ who unlawfully deprives a citizen of his or her freedom of religious belief or infringes upon the customs and habits of an ethnic group, if the circumstances are serious, shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than two years or criminal detention.
China’s Constitution (1982), as amended in 2004, states:
Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief.
No State organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion.
The State protects normal religious activities. No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the State.
Religious bodies and religious affairs are not subject to any foreign domination.
In 2004, in a white paper on “Progress in China’s Human Rights Cause in 2003”, China stated: “Citizens enjoy the freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law and normal religious activities are protected.”
In 2005, in a white paper on “China’s Progress in Human Rights in 2004”, China stated:
Citizens enjoy the freedom of religious belief in accordance with law. Religious groups, venues for religious activities, the legitimate rights and interests of religious adherents and their normal religious activities are protected by law. In 2004, the State Council promulgated China’s first comprehensive administrative regulation on religious matters – “Regulations on Religious Affairs.” It clearly defines the rights of religious groups and adherents with regards to religious activities, establishment of religious colleges and schools, publishing of religious books and periodicals, management of religious properties and foreign religious exchanges. It also regulates the administrative acts of relevant departments of the government so as to ensure that the legitimate rights and interests of religious believers, religious groups and venues for religious activities are not infringed upon.