CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 15 September 2018

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Government push for Church money

WENZHOU (SE): Relations between Churches and the local government in the province of Zhejiang, China, have been stretched over the past two years with a spate of demolition of crosses from Church buildings, but China Aid Media reported that the latest clash has been over money.

The report dated July 1, says that the government is now ordering some Churches to hand over all their income, including donations, to the government, in order to finance the implementation of what it calls the Five Transformations.

These transformations include localising religion, part of which is adopting a local architectural style; standardising management; indigenising theology, aimed at bringing sermons and teaching into line with Communist ideology; financial transparency and adapting Christian teaching to the objectives of the Communist Party.

New rules in force for Churches in Pingyang county, Wenzhou, include a demand for all donated money to be given to the government.

A local Christian said, “… the government officials will interfere with Church affairs, managing our donations and some large-scale projects. We will have to obtain their permission if we want to buy equipment or decorate the church. We will have to ask permission for any expenses more than a few thousand yuan.”

In July 2015, the local government began arranging for officials to speak at Church services and set up tables for them in the churches. On August 30 of the same year, authorities ordered government personal to supervise every Church in Wenzhou.

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