As China today (Feb. 16) celebrates the beginning of the “Year of the Dog,” Chinese Christians are bracing for what looks set to be the “year of the underdog”—due to a raft of new restrictions on freedom of religion. Release International (, a Christian charity, has stated in a press release monitored by ANS that the Chinese New Year looks set to be a year of new restrictions for Christians. It went on to say that the new regulations enforced this month lead to the most severe crackdown on the church in China since the Cultural Revolution.

It revealed that the new “New Regulations for Religious Affairs” are intended to clamp down on extremism, adding that they [the new regulations] forbid religious organizations from using religion to “harm national security or disrupt social order.” It added: “But Release International, which supports persecuted Christians around the world, warns the new regulations will drive more churches underground, and make life much harder for those already under strict government control.” READ MORE