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Chinese Catholic group protests in New York against Xi’s visit

HONG KONG (UCAN): A group of Chinese Catholic people in the United States of America (US) planned to protest against the visit of the president of China, Xi Jinping, outside the Chinese consulate in New York on the day that he arrived in the country, September 22.

The group, all of whom live in New York, said that as expatriates living the US they are discontented with the deteriorating situation of religious life in their country of birth.

“Our action is to show our solidarity with our Christian brothers and sisters in China,” Xu Kewang, said.

Referring to the more than 1,200 crosses that have been removed from Church buildings in Zhejiang since late 2013, the group said that though the cross-removal campaign shows signs of easing, provincial authorities have begun a crackdown on lawyers and Church leaders attempting to put a stop to the campaign through legal means.

At the same time, authorities want to introduce administrative punishments for so-called offences carried out among the estimated two million Christian population of Zhejiang.

The Chinese immigrants prepared placards de manding the release of detained clergy and an end to religious persecution.

“Our protesting group is just a small one, because some Chinese parishioners are timid. They fear retaliation when they return to China,” Xu said.

Besides Xu and his fellow parishioners, other concerned groups are also pressuring the Obama administration to address China’s crackdown on human rights advocates, lawyers and political prisoners, including Bishop James Su Zhimin, from Baoding.

The bishop, who has been missing since 1997, is one of the 20 dissidents and religious figures featured in the Free China’s Heroes campaign spearheaded by a US senator, Marco Rubio, the convener of the Congressional Commission on China.

At least 1,300 political and religious prisoners are believed to be detained in China, a database compiled by the commission shows.

In stark contrast to Xi’s September 22 to 28 visit, Xu said that he and the other Chinese Catholics will greet Pope Francis during his September 24 visit to New York.

“We are happy to have the chance to see the pope. But we will not make an appeal to him. It is not necessary. We know he is concerned about China,” Xu said.

Pope Francis arrived in Washington DC on September 22. Both he and Xi are scheduled to address the United Nations 70th General Assembly in New York, but on different days.

 

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