I have news friends.
I’m moving kind of far away…
Like, “6,000 miles” far away.
Like, “China” far away.
You might be wondering why this matters considering a blog should be able to be maintained anywhere (valid point…). And while, yes, I can technically write anywhere, the same doesn’t hold true for publishing.
This is true in China for a couple of reasons:
- The Great FireWall of China blocks access to all social media sites (ie: Facebook, Twitter, some American news media, and sadly, blogging platforms), but mostly
- Strict regulations on religious practices and proselytizing
Yes, I’m well aware that most (okay, probably all) expats in China use VPNs (I’m computer illiterate and had no clue what this was a few weeks ago…) to gain access to censored sites.
But the fact remains that while China does protect religious freedom in its constitution, it is verrrrry particular about how religious practices are carried out.
For example, native Chinese are not allowed to be baptized into the LDS Church in China. They can, however, be baptized into the LDS Church while outside of China, and can then attend LDS Church services while in China. Their family members, however, can be baptized in China, but their friends or other acquaintances cannot.
Sharing religious information is also prohibited–native Chinese Mormons and expat or foreign Mormons can’t even attend the same Church services. The LDS Church, in a relatively new website dedicated specifically to the Church and China, has stated:
“Expatriate members living in or visiting China should be aware of the unique limitations on religious activities in China. While China permits freedom of religious belief, all religious activities in China need to comply with relevant laws and regulations. Some of the key limitations of which you should be aware include: members may not engage in active or passive proselyting among China nationals; only individuals who hold foreign passports, and their spouses, may attend meetings or others activities with expatriate members in China; expatriate members are not permitted to participate in religious activities with Chinese nationals, whether or not they are members of the Church; and religious materials may not be disseminated to Chinese nationals in China” (mormonsandchina.org)
The LDS Church takes great care to follow the laws and regulations of all countries as they relate to worship and proselyting, and encourages all members to do the same.
This seems like kind of a gray area, since the blog (if published through a VPN) wouldn’t technically be visible to anyone in China, maaaaaybe it would be kosher???
I don’t really know, so until I find out more I have to take a hiatus from Ask Wordy Gertie.
Which makes me really sad, because I truly love it.
I want to thank everyone for all of the thoughtful questions, comments, criticisms, and words of encouragement. I hope just one person found the discussions thoughtful, enlightening, and maybe even a tad bit interesting.
I want you to know this isn’t a goodbye, just a see you later. While I may not be doing the blog, you can definitely still ask questions and communicate with me privately through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I plan on talking with you all again soon.
Til then 🙂