CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 16 June 2018

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The crime of singing in Church

BEIJING (SE): A Taiwanese pastor was detained for singing the worship song Jesus Loves You in Zhengzhou, Henan, in China, which officials have branded as an illegal religious activity.
 
China Aid, which reports on persecution and human rights abuses in the world’s most populous nation, said Pastor Xu Rongzhang, from Taiwan, was detained at Easter, because he led a group of Christians in Zhengzhou in singing the song.
 
Xu was released later the same day, the Christian Post website reported.
 
Local officials never explained why singing Jesus Loves You is now deemed an illegal activity, although several Christians across China in recent months have been arrested and even sentenced to prison for participating in religious activities.
 
Five Christians, including a pastor, were sentenced back in February by a court in northeastern Liaoning province to between three to seven years in prison for purchasing and selling what authorities called forbidden Christian devotional books.
 
“Most of them belong to a Korean ethnic minority group that resides within China and all of them attend registered Churches. They were arrested last June (2016),” China Aid said at the time.
 
The persecution watchdog also reported in January that a Christian woman was arrested by police along with four others for holding a bible study without government approval. All of them were subsequently sentenced to three years in prison.
 
Ma Huichao was reported to have been convicted of gathering a crowd to disturb public order, a charge that is often thrown at unofficial Church Christians in China.

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