China's National and Local Regulations on Religion: Recent Developments in Legislation and Implementation

2200 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | Monday, November 20, 2006 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm

The Congressional-Executive Commission on China held another in its series of staff-led Issues Roundtables, entitled "China's National and Local Regulations on Religion: Recent Developments in Legislation and Implementation," on Monday, November 20, from 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM in Room 2200 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

On March 1, 2005, the State Council's Regulation on Religious Affairs (RRA) entered into force, representing the first comprehensive national regulation devoted to religious issues. Since then, some provincial-level governments in China have amended or issued new regulations on religion, while others continue to use older regulations. Although the RRA and related local regulations introduce some transparency to China's system of religious regulation, inconsistencies among regulations and ambiguities within them persist. Although Chinese government officials and some scholars have stated that the RRA represents a "paradigm shift" by limiting state control over religion, in the past year human rights groups reported continued government repression of some unregistered religious groups and tight controls over registered communities.

This Roundtable examined the interplay between the national RRA and local regulations and discussed the practical impact of such regulations on freedom of religion in China.


Mr. Eric R. Carlson, Attorney, Covington & Burling LLP; Fellow, International Center for Law and Religion Studies, J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University

Pastor Bob (Xiqiu) Fu, President, China Aid Association

Dr. James W. Tong, Associate Professor of Comparative Politics, University of California, Los Angeles; Editor, Chinese Law and Government