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Spy cameras going into churches

BEIJING (UCAN): China has tightened the squeeze on Christians by forcing Catholic and Protestant Churches in the heavily Christian province of Zhejiang to install CCTV cameras both in and outside their buildings.

The government wants the unofficial and the official Catholic communities in Zhejiang to install surveillance cameras in their parish compounds by the end of March.

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Muslims support blasphemy case against fellow Muslim

JAKARTA (UCAN): Muslim human rights advocates in Jakarta, Indonesia, have joined growing calls to have hardline Muslim cleric, Rizieq Syihab, charged with blasphemy for insulting Christianity.

Rizieq is the leader of the Islamic Defenders Front and is being accused of mocking Christians during a sermon on Christmas Day in which he is reported to have said, “If God gave birth, then who would be the midwife?”

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Chinese Muslim website blocked

HONG KONG (Agencies): One of China’s most popular online communities for Muslims has been shut down after posting a petition asking the president, Xi Jinping, to stop his brutal suppression of human rights advocates.

The students who wrote the petition told Agence France Presse on December 14 that they demanded the immediate release of advocates still held by the state.

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Religious repression both violent and polite

VATICAN (AsiaNews): “Freedom of religion or belief is the litmus test for respect of all other human rights and fundamental freedoms, since it is their synthesis and keystone,” the under-secretary for the Relations with States for the Holy See, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, said at the Conference on Combating Intolerance and Discriminations of Christians held at the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna in early December.

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Bishop Shao brought home

WENZHOU (AsiaNews): Reports from China say that police took Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin, who has been on forced holiday in the northern region of Qinghai, back to home to Wenzhou on October 8.

The reports say that the bishop and his police entourage arrived at 4.30pm. His secretary and diocesan chancellor, Father Paul Jiang Sunian, who has also been exposed to the country air, was with him.

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Petition for release of Wenzhou bishop

HONG KONG (UCAN): More than 22,000 people have signed an online petition demanding that China release Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin, who has been taken away from his diocese to one of the country’s more remote, albeit more picturesque provinces.

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Importance of separation of Church and state

LEUVEN (SE): “The frenzied part of the 20th century had nothing to do with religion,” Herman van Rompuy, a former president of the European Council, told a forum at the Verbiest Institute at the Leuven Catholic University in Belgium on September 6.

“Nationalism and ideology were responsible for wars, genocide and cruelty,” van Rompuy continued in explaining why the current formation of the European Union is so valuable.

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Another step in revising regulations on religion

HONG KONG (UCAN): A draft bill to amend the Regulation for Religious Affairs was released by the Chinese government for a one-month public consultation on September 7.

This follows an extensive build-up over the last year that had the involvement of the highest levels of the Chinese government including the president, Xi Jinping.

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A move to open the cage

SHANGHAI (AsiaNews): The caged bishop of Shanghai has made another move towards his rehabilitation with the release of an article about the great Jesuit missionary of 400 years ago, Father Matteo Ricci.

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Mosque closure criticised by Church in Indonesia

Jakarta (UCAN): The forced closure of a mosque belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in the Sukabumi district of West Java in Indonesia on July 26, has drawn criticism from the secretary of the Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Indonesian Bishops’ Conference,

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