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Church demolition team buries protester alive

ZHUMADIAN (AsiaNews): Ding Cuimei, the wife of an Protestant pastor, Reverend Li Jiangong, from an unregistered Church in Zhumadian, Henan, died of suffocation after she was buried alive while trying to defend their Beitou Church building from demolition.

Her husband, who was also buried, managed to survive.

The police have opened an investigation and arrested two people from the demolition team, but did not reveal any details about the case.

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Age not the only dilemma for China’s bishops

HONG KONG (UCAN): Who can take their place is becoming a circular dilemma for some of China’s ageing bishops.

While the general custom in the Church is for bishops to retire at 75, Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang, from Wenzhou, has found that stepping down is fraught with problems, even though he is already 90.

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Hong Kong pastor put on trial in Shenzhen

HONG KONG (UCAN): A pastor from Hong Kong, Reverend Ng Wah, is reported to have been prosecuted on the mainland for printing Christian books and raising money to support the apostolate of his Church.

Constant Kim, a friend and member of the Christian Church of Chinese Ministry that Reverend Ng had set up, said on April 6 that he disappeared in July last year and was arrested on the mainland.

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Persecution of House Churches and the Uyghur deepens

BEIJING (UCAN): The Supreme Court of China has reported a huge reduction in state security trials, which typically apply to political and religious detainees, but analysis from the United States of America (US)-based China advocacy group, the Dui Hua Foundation, say there is evidence of a significant rise in cases involving cults and terrorism, which suggests the persecution of unofficial, or House Churches, as well as the Uyghur Muslim community may be worsening.

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Pastor released but not freed

HANGZHOU (Agencies): Reverend Yuese, who opposed the removal of crosses from Church buildings in China, was released on April 5 from detention by the authorities in Zhejiang after three months behind bars.

AsiaNews reported that Reverend Gu, also known as Joseph Gu, is in charge of the Chongyi Church, the largest Protestant congregation in the country with about 10,000 members.

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Education should not promote ignorance

DHAKA (UCAN): In the aftermath of the Easter Sunday massacre in Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park in Lahore, Pakistan, Christian religious leaders across Asia are calling for their counterparts from the Islamic faith to take a strong stand against Islamist extremists, as well as to promote reconciliation, forgiveness and a proper, balanced interpretation of religion.

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Campaign to free the defender of the crosses

BEIJING (UCAN): Christian rights groups have been endeavouring to build pressure on Beijing through campaigns aimed at securing the release of Christian lawyer, Zhang Kai, as he has now been held for more than six months (Sunday Examiner, March 13).

On February 26, he was criminally detained and the law requires that he must be charged with 37 days or be released.

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Defender of Church crosses now in limbo

BEIJING (UCAN): The family of Zhang Kai, the lawyer who defended a number of Church communities in Zhejiang against the demolition of the crosses from their churches and was paraded on state television to confess to his crimes, says that his future is still up in the air.

As hopes that he would be released by the authorities in Wenzhou were fading, he appeared without any notice in a self-criticism session on state television to confess his crimes on February 25.

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China pulls noose tighter on religious freedom

HONG KONG (SE): The first cross for this year was removed from a Catholic church in Wenzhou diocese, Zhejiang, before dawn on February 25, just two weeks after the director of the provincial office of State Administration of Religious Affairs, Feng Zhili, put out a call for religious stability in the run up to the G20 Summit set to be held in the provincial capital of Hangzhou from September 4 to 5.

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Pushing more Church people underground

BEIJING (UCAN): The Communist Party of China has begun carrying out its threat to assign certificates detailing the secular name, religious name and national ID card number to Buddhist monks across the country; but with one new twist—a unique faith number is also being added.

By the end of this year, authorities will require the same of both Catholic and Taoist priests, state-run broadcaster CCTV and the party-friendly tabloid, Global Times, reported in early February.

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