"Full Text of New Chinese Legislative Resolution Banning Cults"

October 30, 1999

To maintain social stability, protect the interests of the people, safeguard reform and opening up and the construction of a modern socialist country, it is necessary to ban heretic cult organizations and prevent and punish cult activities.
Based on the constitution and other related laws, the following decision is hereby made:

  1. Heretic cult organizations shall be resolutely banned according to law and all of their criminal activities shall be dealt with severely.
    Heretic cults, operating under the guise of religion, Qigong or other illicit forms, which disturb social order and jeopardize people's life and property, must be banned according to law and punished resolutely.
    People's courts, people's procuratorates, public security, national security and judicial administrative agencies shall fulfil their duties in carrying out these tasks.
    To be severely dealt with according to law are those who manipulate members of cult organizations to violate national laws and administrative regulations, organize mass gatherings to disrupt social order and fool others, cause deaths, rape women, swindle people out their money and property or commit other crimes with superstition and heresy.
  2. The principle of combining education with punishment should be followed in order to unify and instruct the majority of the deceived public and to mete out severe punishment to the handful of criminals.
    During the course of handling cult groups according to law, people who joined cult organizations but were unaware of the lies being spread by the group shall be differentiated from criminal elements who organize and take advantage of cult groups for illegal activities and/or to intentionally destroy social stability.
    The majority of the deceived members shall not be prosecuted, while those organizers, leaders and core members who committed crimes shall be investigated for criminal conduct ; those who surrender to the authorities or contribute to the investigations shall be given lesser punishments in accordance with the law or be exempt from punishment.
  3. Long-term, comprehensive instruction on the constitution and the law should be carried out among all citizens, knowledge of science and technology should be popularized and the national literacy level raised.
    Banning cult organizations and punishing cult activities according to law goes hand in hand with protecting normal religious activities and people's freedom of religious belief.
    The public should be exposed to the inhumane and anti-social nature of heretic cults, so they can knowingly resist influences of cult organizations, enhance their awareness of the law and abide by it.
  4. All corners of society shall be mobilized in preventing and fighting against cult activities, and a comprehensive management system should be put in place.
    People's governments and judicial bodies at all levels should be heldresponsible for guarding against the creation and spread of cult organizations and combating cult activities.

This is an important, long-term task that will ensure social stability.


Official Guidelines for Enforcement: "Judicial explanations on crimes by cults"

("China Daily", November 1, 1999)

CHINA released on Saturday detailed judicial interpretations, explaining the law as it pertains to crimes committed by cults.

China's top judicial and procuratorial organizations, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, also declared that the interpretations be enforced as of Saturday.

The judicial interpretation jointly issued by the two departments says that "cult groups" in Article 300 in the Criminal Law refer to those illegal groups that have been found using religion, qigong or other things as a camouflage, deifying their leading members, recruiting and controlling their members and deceiving people by molding and spreading superstitious ideas, and endangering society.

Section 1 of Article 300 in the Criminal Law stipulates that "those who organize superstitious sects and secret societies or use superstition to violate laws or administrative regulations are subject to three to seven years imprisonment, and those whose cases are extremely serious are subject to seven years imprisonment or more."

Under Section 2 and 3 of the article, those who set up or use superstitious sects and secret societies or superstition to deceive people and cause death of others are subject to the same penalties.

Under the two sections, those who organize and use superstitious sects, secret societies or superstitions to sexually exploit women or swindle money or property will be punished according to Criminal Law articles on rape and swindling.

Those who organize and use sects and commit one of the following activities should be penalized according to Section 1, Article 300 of the Criminal Law:

I. Gathering people together to besiege and charge government organizations, enterprises or institutions, and disrupt their work, production and teaching and research activities;

II. Holding illegal assembly, demonstrations to incite or deceive, or organize their members or others to besiege, charge, seize, disrupt public places or places for religious activities, or disrupt social order;

III. Resisting departments concern to ban their groups, resuming the banned groups, establishing other sects, or continuing their activities;

IV. Instigating, deceiving or organizing their members or others to refuse fulfiling their legal obligations;

V. Publishing, printing, duplicating or distributing publications spreading malicious fallacies, and printing symbols of their sects;

VI. Other activities that violate the State law or administrative regulations.

According to the explanations, a case is regarded as "serious" if it involves any of the following while conducting the activities in the previous article:

I. Setting up organizations or recruiting members across provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities that are under the direct administration of the central government;

II. Collaborating with overseas groups, organizations and individuals for sect-related activities;

III. Publishing, printing, duplicating and distributing, either in terms of volumes or sales values, a large amount of publications spreading fallacious ideas and printing symbols of sects;

IV. Instigating, deceiving or organizing their members or others to violate State laws, administrative regulations, and resulting in serious consequences.

Organizing or using superstitious sects, secret societies or superstition to deceive people which may lead to their death in Section 2 and 3 of Article 300, refers to the cases of establishing or using sects to mold, spread superstition or fallacies, deceiving their members or others to practice fast, inflict wounds upon themselves, or prevent patients from taking normal medical treatment and resulting in their illness or death.

According to the interpretation, doing these things will be considered a "serious offence" if the following occurs:

I. Causing three deaths or more;

II. Causing fewer than three deaths, but injuring many people;

III. Those who have received criminal or administrative penalties for engaging in cult activities continue to establish or use sects to deceive people and result in deaths;

VI. Causing other special serious consequences.

Under the explanations, those who establish or use sects to mold, spread superstition and fallacies, instigate and coerce their members or others to commit suicide or inflict wounds on themselves, should be punished according to laws on attempted murder or harming offences under causes in the criminal law.

Those who organize and use superstitious sects and sexually exploit women or young girls by seducing, coercing, deceiving or other ways should be punished according to clauses on rape, or offences concerning raping underage girls, under the Criminal Law.

Those who swindle money or property by establishing or using sects or other means should be punished according to the Criminal Law articles on swindling offenses.

The offences of establishing or using sects to organize, scheme, carry out and instigate activities of splitting China, endangering the reunification of China or subverting the country's socialist system should be handled according to relevant laws on endangering State security offences, as stipulated in the Criminal Law.

All the money and property collected by sects or criminal offenders who use sects to violate laws, and tools and publicity materials used for criminal activities, should be confiscated.

Those who organize, plot or use sects for criminal activities and those participants who refuse to change their ways despite repeated admonition should be investigated and be given the related criminal offence, according to Criminal Law.

But those who surrender themselves to law enforcement departments, or who perform meritorious services, will be given a lenient penalty or may be exempt from penalty according to law.

Those who were deceived or coerced into sects and had already withdrawn from the sect will not be considered offenders.

What Is Falun Gong? See "Falun Gong 101", by Massimo Introvigne


CESNUR reproduces or quotes documents from the media and different sources on a number of religious issues. Unless otherwise indicated, the opinions expressed are those of the document's author(s), not of CESNUR or its directors

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