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Church faces demolition in Jiangxi

HONG KONG (UCAN): The Diocese of Yujiang, in Jiangxi province, China, in the has been notified by government officials that the Annunciation Church of the unofficial community is slated for demolition. This comes in the wake of newly-revised Jiangxi Provincial Regulations on Religious Affairs which came into effect in the province on May 1.
 
A source from the diocese, who identified himself as Paul, said that officials did not give a specific date on which the church which opened in 2012 and serves more than 150 Catholics would be pulled down.
 
Township authorities said they were acting on orders from higher up.
 
Online magazine Bitter Winter reported that in August 2018, police entered the Annunciation Church and demanded the priest register the venue with the government.
 
The online report said he was also told to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, to prevent the church’s demolition.
 
Another source, named John, said the premises was sealed off at Christmas and no Eucharistic celebrations had been celebrated there since.
 
However, the parish priest and parishioners indicated they would rather sacrifice the church than join the patriotic association.
 
John said, “You can’t respect the (communist) party first then respect God. And the patriotic association can’t save the soul.”
 
He noted that last year, religious affairs officials verbally banned pilgrimages to the burial place of the Irish Father Jere Miah Duttimer beside the Annunciation Church. The Columban missionary came to China in 1930 was at one time supervisor of the society.
 
John believes that religious affairs officials do not want the him to be held up as a role model for Chinese Catholics.
 
The provincial religious regulations reflect national policies such as Sinicisation.
 
Government officials said the regulations are also in accordance with the special circumstances of Jiangxi province.

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