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Explanations on the "Decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Preventing and Cracking Down on Cults"

               Hou Zongbin, Chairman of the Commission of
                 Internal Affairs and Justice of the NPC

Chairman, Vice-Chairpersons, Secretary-General and members of the Standing Committee:

  I will now give explanations concerning the "Decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Preventing and Cracking Down on Cults (Draft)" (hereinafter referred to as The Draft), on behalf of the Commission of Internal Affairs and Justice of the NPC.

  I. The necessity for making the “Decisions”

  In recent years, cultist organizations, especially the "Falun Gong" cultist organization, have grown and spread in some parts of China, bringing about serious consequences. The range of this organization's activities, the number of members who have been recruited by it, the number of contrabands printed or made by it and the social harm caused by it have been the greatest since the founding of New China. These cultist organizations have used religion, Qigong breathing exercises or other activities as pretexts to distort the religious classics, create and spread superstition and heretical ideas, confuse right and wrong, poison people's minds and deceive them, and to recruit followers and adopt every means to manipulate its members for illegal and criminal activities. They gather unruly mobs and harass state organs, enterprises and institutions to disturb their normal order of work, production, business operation, teaching and scientific research. They hold illegal meetings and demonstrations, forcibly occupy parks, sports grounds and other public places, and disrupt public order. They besiege, attack and occupy sites of religious activities or resort to other ways to hamper normal religious activities. They instigate, deceive and organize their members and other people to sabotage the implementation of the state laws and administrative regulations. They publish and distribute illegal cultist publications, symbols, poisoning people's thoughts. They instigate and hoodwink their members and other people to "seek God" and "ascend to Heaven," commit suicide or mutilate themselves resulting in heavy injuries or even deaths. They induce, coerce and deceive people, sexually exploit women and swindle money or property by superstition and other fallacies. It has thus become necessary to resolutely ban such cultist organizations, and crack down on their criminal activities severely according to law. China has always paid attention to the struggle against cults, especially since this year when, under the unified leadership and planning of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the struggle against the "Falun Gong" cult has been launched nationwide and crowned with decisive victory. However, we must be soberly aware that preventing and punishing cultist activities is a major long-term and complicated task. Cults have seriously damaged social order and stability, harmed people's lives and property and economic development. In order to maintain social stability, protect the people's interests and guarantee the smooth progress of the reform and opening policies and the socialist modernization drive, it has been necessary for the Standing Committee of the NPC to make decisions on banning cultist organizations, and preventing and punishing cultist activities.

  Ⅱ. The Principal Contents of the Draft

  1. Cults must be banned resolutely, and their criminal activities must be cracked down upon, in accordance with the law. Article 300 of The Criminal Law of the People's Republic of China clearly defines as crimes such activities as setting up or using cults to sabotage law enforcement, cause the death of others, sexually exploit women or to swindle money or property. This provides a powerful legal tool for the judicial organizations to ban cults and punish their activities. Section 1 of the Draft stipulates that cults using religion, Qigong breathing exercises or other normally legal activities as camouflage to disturb public order by various means and endanger people's lives and property and economic development must be banned and punished resolutely according to law. The People's Courts and People's Procuratorates, as well as the public security, state security and judicial administrative organs must each perform its won functions and coordinate their efforts to this end. Severe punishment must be meted out according to law to those who organize or use cults to hamper the implementation of the state's administrative rules or regulations, gather unruly mobs, disturb public order, deceive people in ways that result in death to them, sexually exploit women, or swindles money or property by means of superstitious inveiglement.

  2. Cults usually use religion, Qigong breathing exercises and other normally legal activities as camouflage engage in illegal activities and to deceive and hoodwink people not knowing the true state of affairs. These people are different from the handful of criminals, who deliberately oppose the government and disturb social stability. Therefore, such people should be treated strictly differently according to policies and laws. The Draft stipulates that, in the process of dealing with cults, people who have been deceived into joining in cultist activities because of unawareness of the truth should be distinguished from those who have organized or used cults for illegal activities and deliberately sabotaging social stability, and no action shall be taken against these hoodwinked people. However, criminal sanctions to the fullest extent of the law shall be brought to bear on organizers, plotters, leaders and core members of cults if their actions are found to have constituted crimes. Leniency shall be extended to those who have voluntarily surrendered themselves or who have performed meritorious services; in such cases penalties may even be exempted, according to law.

  3. It is the fundamental way of preventing the breeding and of cults to enhance the legal knowledge and scientific and cultural level and qualities of the whole people, as well as to help people increase their awareness of resisting and struggling against cults of their own volition. The Draft stipulates that banning cults and punishing cult-related activities is conducive to the protection of normal religious activities and citizens' freedom of religious belief. The general public should be helped to be fully aware of the nature of cults which endanger humankind and society at large, so that the people will oppose and resist the influence of cults conscientiously, further enhance their legal knowledge and abide by the nation's laws.

  4. The whole of society should be mobilized and organized to prevent and punish cultist activities. The Draft stipulates that people's governments and judicial organizations at all levels should conscientiously perform their specific responsibilities with the aim of safeguarding social stability, and make the prevention and propagation of cults and the prevention and punishment of cultist activities a major and long-term task.

  This is the end of my explanations. Please give them your deliberation.


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