SHANGHAI — China is to publish online details of legal religious venues, the official Xinhua news agency reported, apparently in an effort to identify unsanctioned groups as part of an effort to “root out illegal religious activities”. …[A university in northwestern China banned Christmas, calling it a kitsch foreign celebration unbefitting of the country’s own traditions.]
The government’s [official] attitude toward religion has softened significantly in recent decades, and people are allowed to practice religion at sanctioned institutions that are required to preach and practice loyalty to the government. Despite the rules, unsanctioned religious [particularly Christian] movements, which the authorities call cults, have proliferated in recent years, and the government has grown increasingly active in trying to discourage their growth. …
Beijing also maintains a ban on the Falun Gong church, which has become one of the most strident public opponents of the Chinese Communist Party.
Anti-cult messages are prolific on message boards in some city neighborhoods, and suspicion can extend to established religions. … The government is even more suspicious of Islam, and has tried to discourage traditional Muslim practice in the Xinjiang autonomous region. It has also tried to suppress political activism among Tibetan Buddhists.
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