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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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Beijing ups the ante against religious belief

HONG KONG (SE): Leaders of various faith groups have been told by Yu Zhengsheng, a Politburo official, that all religious groups in China must promote Chinese culture and become more compatible with socialism.

UCAN reported Yu as saying that religious leaders are required to form a bridge between the Communist Party and the hundreds of millions of Chinese people that follow the country’s five officially recognised religions—Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Buddhism and Taoism.

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New Year gift for imprisoned pastor

HONG KONG (SE): Pastor Huang Yizi, who was arrested in September last year on charges of endangering national security when he opposed the removal of crosses from Church buildings in Zhejiang, received a New Year gift when he was released from detention on February 11, during the Lunar New Year holiday period.

Pastor Huang said that he had been kept for five months in what is referred to as a black jail, a place of illegal detention used to house dissidents.

 

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Purging pastors

HANGZHOU (AsiaNews): Chinese state media confirmed that Reverend Joseph Gu Yuese, the pastor of the Chongyi Church in Hangzhou, the largest Protestant community in mainland China, was unceremoniously fired from his position on January 18 and later arrested on charges of embezzlement, but no further details were given.

In an open letter addressed to his congregation, Reverend Gu speaks of a cold storm that is heading for Hangzhou, the provincial capital of Zhejiang.

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Crosses again begin to tumble in Zhejiang

HONG KONG (UCAN): Be it a fresh campaign to remove crosses from Church buildings in Zhejiang or just catch up demolition on the backlog of jobs that were not completed last year, between January 1 and February 2 this year, 18 more Church buildings in the province were stripped of their crosses by government authorities, with 13 of them in the last week of January.

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