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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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Church freedom is a mixed bag in China

HIJIAZHUANG (UCAN): When about 10,000 people showed up to a Mass held at the cathedral in Zhengding on December 13 they filled the church compound and overflowed onto the roof of an adjacent building.

Some had travelled the 300 kilometres from Beijing, but the most striking thing was that they were almost all members of the unofficial Church community of China and, despite police presence, no one was detained.

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China’s House Church dilemma

HONG KONG (SE): “Legally registered, Three-Self Patriotic Churches are under attack, while the illegal House Churches are invited into an official dialogue,” David Ro wrote in the January issue of the Lausanne Global Analysis, saying that this appears to be a season of mixed messages from the government of China.

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New law to combat religious extremism

HONG KONG (UCAN): The Minority Muslim Uyghur people in Xinjiang province of China fear further erosion of their freedom to practice their faith after authorities announced plans for a new law to combat religious extremism.

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Vietnam bars thousands from Christmas Mass

HANOI (AsiaNews): Christmas was banned in the Central Highland province of Kontum in Vietnam by government authorities forcing Christmas Mass to be cancelled in at least two parishes and leaving thousands of expectant people both surprised and disappointed.

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Christmas death threats for clergy in Bangladesh

DHAKA (AsiaNews): Bishop Bejoy D’Cruze and Bishop Paul Panen Kubi in Bangladesh both reported that they received death threats on their mobile phones in the run up to Christmas last year.

The bishops from Shylet and Mymenshing said that they believe that the death threats came from Islamist radicals. 

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China frees opponents of cross-removals

HONG KONG (UCAN): Four pastors and two lawyers, who were arrested and jailed for opposing the government campaign to demolish or remove crosses from Church buildings in Wenzhou, China.

The most recent one to have been picked up, Pastor Wang Yunxian, from the Longwan Church in coastal Zhejiang province, was released on December 11 by authorities in Wenzhou.

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