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Catholic church closed in Henan crackdown

HONG KONG (UCAN): The crackdown on religion in Henan province—a key centre of Christianity in China—has been ratcheted up as the government seized an unregistered Catholic church managed by a priest with the official Church.
On April 24, cadres from Diandian Town in Shangcai County, sent two officials in the morning to seal the main entrances of Gadazhang Catholic Church in the Diocese of Zhumadian.
“The government will not allow the church to register or to open,” a source said.
Video circulated online showed an elderly person tearing a seal from the church’s gate and a group of people arguing with an official suspected to have posted the seal.
The official told them the closure was the policy of the Communist Party.
The source said authorities would probably not confiscate the church but clergy would not be able to return for some time.
The parish priest has asked Catholics to “pray for the church under suppression.”
The source condemned “such brutal enforcement” and said the local government had blatantly trampled on and undermined the state’s policies on religion.
Zhumadian is the eighth out of 10 dioceses suppressed in Henan since new provincial chief, Wang Guosheng, took office in mid-March. The others are Anyang, Luoyang, Xinxiang, Fuyang, Zhengzhou, Shangqiu and Kaifeng.
Targets have included official and unofficial Catholic and Protestant churches. The tombstone of a deceased bishop with the unofficial Church was demolished, while unregistered priests have been driven away and Church properties confiscated.
On April 8, the Henan Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and the Henan Catholic Administration Commission issued a joint circular warning people to follow “the principle of religion and education separation” and the revised regulations on religious affairs. 
It said no religious venue should hold training sessions and no children should be brought to church by parents (Sunday Examiner, April 29). 

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