You have got to love it. The Chinese government, in order to have some control over certain social aspects of Buddhism in China has issued Order No. 5-- from the Administration of Religious Affairs. Cutting to the chase basically this order says that no Buddhist monk has permission to return from the dead, by way of reincarnation, WITHOUT GOVERNMENT APPROVAL. If only the first century Jewish authorities and Pilate had thought of issuing such an edict as well!
The story about this made major news in the NY Times recently, and here is the link----
What makes this Order No. 5 interesting to me is that China is increasingly allowing Christianity to proliferate prodigiously. They believe that religion can be a major force for social stability, but they know it can also be a force for instability as well (cf. the recent events in neighboring Myanmar). In fact there are even students going to Regent College in Vancouver on the Chinese government's yen. The Chinese government has worries that the economic boom is putting too much stress on the social fabric. What they do not say, but what seems likely, is that they have quietly concluded that the ideology of Mao is not super-gluing the fabric of society together in the desired way. They are also concerned about ethics as well. This is presumably one reason why I was asked three years ago to be a founding dean or director at Bejing University's first Christian studies program (master's degree-- and now PhD as well). The only Mandarin I know however is 'duck', so I will only go once in a while to do some teaching with a translator.
Nevertheless, one thing is clear from my recent trip to Hong Kong. Christianity is burgeoning in this whole region, and as one missionary said to me-- 'the 21rst century could belong to China' both economically and spiritually, if it doesn't get in its own way. Time will tell. In the meanwhile, if you are planning to come back from the dead, and are deathly ill, do not make last minute vacation plans for China.