China will ban any individual or group who commercializes Buddhist and Taoist venues or profits from religious activities, according to a government notice on Thursday.
The notice on the website of the State Administration for Religious Affairs said the government forbids any commercial use of the country's Buddhist and Taoist sites, and bans individuals and organizations from investing in such sites to protect the healthy development of religions and to curb the commercialization trend.
The notice was jointly released by several government departments and Party organizations, including China's top religious, public security, finance and tourism bodies.
The notice also regulates the number of planned Buddhist- or Taoist-themed cultural sites, bans large religious statues outside religious venues, as well as forbids individuals or groups from investing in their construction.
The notice also says that government or Party officials or agencies should not promote religious events in the name of economic development, tourism and cultural prosperity and they should not make profits from religious affairs.
It likewise forbids staff of those religious groups from participating in trade.
The notice complements the country's previous religious affairs regulation, Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the Ethnic and Religious Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, told the Global Times on Thursday.
The notice is necessary and timely because it provides a clearer guideline against the commercialization trend in Buddhism and Taoism, which could spare the religions from being used as money-making tools instead of playing a positive role in society, Zhu said.
Zhu added that Buddhism and Taoism have a long history of accepting donations, which some people have been exploiting.
Information on religious services must be examined and approved by religious affair administration departments above provincial level before going online, according to the notice.