CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 March 2018

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Local paper touts Christmas in China

HONG KONG (SE): “In China, Christianity is still a minority religion, but it has come a long way since first being introduced by missionaries in the seventh century. Over the past 200 years, it has gained significant influence,” a short article published by the Global Times in China in the after shadow of the Christmas celebrations notes.
The tabloid newspaper, which is published in English and seeks to speak to a foreign audience rather than a local one, is published by the People’s Daily and, while not exactly an official mouthpiece of Beijing, is a useful tool in sussing out the feeling of people on various issues.
It goes on to say that despite being outlawed between 1966 and 1976, the China Christian Council was restored in 1980 and Churches were once again allowed to open their doors to the Chinese public.
“With China’s economic and cultural reforms over the past few decades, nearly 53,000 churches across the country are now operating unobstructed,” the Global Times proclaims.
Turning its attention to one of the most important dioceses in China, it notes that Shanghai is home to over 100 Christian churches—including Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox denominations—where local Christians have a wide selection of Christmas services to choose from, if they wish to attend.
It then notes, “While a majority of Chinese laymen are only aware of the secular or commercial aspects of Christmas—shopping and Santa—those who follow the faith and attend Christian services know that Christmas is in fact the birthday of Jesus Christ, a Jewish preacher believed to be the incarnation of the Son of God and the central figure of Christianity.”
It adds that the Global Times had a peek inside the Hong En Tang (Abundant Grace Church) in the Biyun community of the Pudong New Area on Christmas Eve to witness the clergy in the act of leading their faithful followers in a jubilant celebration and vigil in honour of the nativity of the Son of God.

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