CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 16 June 2018

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Reports on Marian pilgrimages banned

HONG KONG (UCAN): The Hebei-based Faith Weekly, has been ordered not to report any news about Marian pilgrimages in May across the China. This has raised concerns that Hebei will join Henan as the targets of the Communist Party’s recent religious crackdown.
 
Webmasters in other dioceses said that they had submitted articles on local or inter-provincial pilgrimages to Faith Weekly but none had been published.
 
A source who requested anonymity told said that the Hebei Provincial Ethnic and Religious Department had given the company verbal notification that neither its newspaper nor website should report pilgrimages in May.
 
One person, Peter, expressed worries that a new wave of government religious suppression had started in Hebei. 
 
“If the pro-government Faith Weekly cannot report (on) pilgrimages, it might be regarded as a warning that religious policy in Hebei will be tightened following recent suppression against Churches in Zhejiang and Henan provinces,” he said.
 
He noted that if provinces with large Christian populations are suppressed, “the small ones are easier to handle.” 
 
Also in Hebei, the Hejian Education and Sports Bureau of Changzhou city issued a circular on May 9 asking all schools to prevent students from joining an Our Lady of Lourdes pilgrimage to Ludezhuang organised by a local church.
 
The bureau also declared the weekend of May 12 to 13 to be school days so students could not go on the pilgrimage. In addition the circular stipulated that students could not take sick leave on those days.
 
The thousands of people visit Ludezhuang on Mother’s Day, the second Sunday of May. 

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