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April 18, 2019

Guangzhou Encourages Citizens to Report Illegal Religious Activities, Including Foreign NGO Law Violations

On March 20, the Guangzhou Municipal Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs released its “Method for Rewarding the Masses for Reporting Illegal Religious Activities” (“群众举报非法宗教活动奖励办法”), which details how city officials can reward Guangzhou residents for reporting illegal religious activities to the authorities. According to the “Method,” the phrase “illegal religious activities” refers to actions that violate the Foreign NGO Law, the Regulations on Religious Affairs (宗教事务条例), the Provisions on the Administration of Religious Activities of Aliens within the Territory of the People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国境内外国人宗教活动管理规定), or other relevant laws, regulations, or rules.

Notably, the “Method” is directed at citizens rather than at government employees. The new regulations are intended to mobilize the public to participate in the prevention of and cracking down on such activities. Depending on the content and accuracy of the information provided, citizens are offered up to 10,000 renminbi as a reward for reporting illegal religious activity. The document directs citizens to report illegal religious activity either by dialing 110 (the equivalent of 911 in the United States) to immediately notify the police, by submitting a detailed written report to the Public Security Bureau, or by filing a report in-person at the Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs.

The China NGO Project has previously reported on other government efforts to encourage citizens to report on illegal foreign NGO activity, such as this cartoon for National Security Education Day in 2018 and an infographic from the Jiangsu Public Security Bureau in 2019.

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