Chinese central authorities have recently issued guidelines on dealing with existing problems in the commercialization of Buddhism and Taoism across the country.
The State Administration for Religious Affairs, the country’s regulator, said on Nov 23 in a notice on its website that the smooth development of Buddhism and Taoism has contributed to the social stability and economic development.
But problems have started to emerge and arouse public attention since companies and investors were involved in constructing, renting and operating temples for commercialized activities, the administration said.
Problems in commercialization might lead to rent-seeking power and other corrupt practices, hampering the proper development of religions and degrading social manners, the administration said.
Therefore, the administration, along with other 11 departments such as the Ministry of Public Security, issued the guidelines, putting forward special measures from 10 perspectives.
According to the guidelines, no companies or investors will be allowed to invest, rent or run Buddhist or Taoist religious venues, or take advantage of Buddhism and Taoism to earn profits through activities.
Companies and investors are banned from investing in and erecting big religious statues in the open air, and such religious statues could not be built outside religious venues, the guidelines said.
The guidelines also called on enhancing the management of religious information services on the internet and financial supervision of religious groups. Authorities at all levels should obey the laws and policies to cooperate with each other to regulate religious affairs.