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Old Qur’ans confiscated in Xinjiang

HONG KONG (UCAN): Government officials in the Xinjiang region of China are confiscating all copies of the Qur’an that were published more than five years ago for fear that they may contain extremist content.
 
The move is being described as part of an ongoing campaign against illegal religious items in the possession of the majority Muslim Uyghur people.
 

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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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Unregistered religion under the hammer

HONG KONG (SE): Government interference in religion is growing in China, with authorities suppressing Islam and denigrating Christian teachings as a foreign import, a report released by Freedom House on February 28 maintains.

Radio Free Asia quoted the report as saying that to the detriment of Christianity and Islam, Beijing is promoting Chinese Buddhism and Taoism, as it sees them as being more supportive of traditional notions of loyalty to the state.

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Shutdown on unofficial Churches in Xinjiang

HONG KONG (SE): Authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang in China have banned all Christian activities not linked to state-approved Churches, launching a region-wide crackdown on worship centres of unofficial communities under the guise of instituting anti-terrorism precautions.

Radio Free Asia reported on February 28 that unofficial Catholic communities and Protestant House Churches have been put on notice and commanded to halt all activity throughout the region.

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Release of new religious regulations expected soon

HONG KONG (UCAN): Wang Zuo’an, the director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs, has disclosed that the newly amended regulations on religion will be released in the near future and part of the deal is that the his office plans to pay great attention to their enforcement.

The national meeting for religious directors across China was held in Beijing from January 9 to 10, during which the Wang delivered his remarks while setting out his plan for the year ahead.

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Carollers beaten up

BANSWARA (AsiaNews): A group from Ss. Peter and Paul parish in the village of Tikariya, near the city of Banswara in India, was savagely beaten and accused of carrying out forced conversions  as a result of carol singing sessions held in private homes on December 14.

Father Stephen Rawat said, “I have no enemies, I was beaten because of my Christian faith.”

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Religious persecution happens online

MANILA (UCAN): Despite the popular claim that The Philippines is a Catholic country, Archbishop Socrates Villegas insists that religious persecution is very much alive and well, even within the Church.

In a statement on November 14, the president of the bishops’ conference says, “Bashing in social media where truth is made to appear a lie and a lie the truth is another form of persecution.”

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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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