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China bans online religious activity ahead of party congress

Proselytizing and fundraising prohibited, with restrictions extending to foreigners

A Christmas Eve mass at a Catholic church in China. The country has an estimated 12 million Catholics.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China will ban efforts to spread religion through online channels such as social media, with the Communist Party tightening restrictions on religious activity ahead of this fall's party congress.

Taking effect March 1, the new "Measures for the Administration of Internet Religious Information Services" forbid or strictly limit a broad swath of online activity.

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