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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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Response of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong to Mrs. Carrie Lam’s ‘Proposal of Setting up a Religious Affairs Unit’ in her Manifesto of Chief Executive Election

In Mrs. Carrie Lam’s Manifesto for 2017 Chief Executive Election, there is a mention of a possible study “of setting up a Religious Affairs Unit” in its Points 6.43 and 6.44. Cardinal John Tong Hon, of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, has written a letter to Mrs. Lam on March 2, expressing the Diocese’s resolute opposition of a possible “setting up of a Religious Affairs Unit” group or similar institutions in Hong Kong.

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How full is full religious freedom?

HONG KONG (SE): In the clash of heads over the inclusion by chief executive hopeful, Carrie Lam Chen Yuet-ngor, of a suggestion to set up a government Religious Affairs Unit in Hong Kong (see page 1), the phrase, “Hong Kong already enjoys full religious freedom” is being tossed about with gay abandon.

While it is a guarantee of the Basic Law, the definition of religious freedom seems to be at least up for grabs, as it is not necessarily clear who has the right to define or describe it.

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Control of religious bodies in China is set to remain tight

HONG KONG (UCAN): China will continue choosing bishops for the official Catholic Church community and it will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, a work plan for 2017 posted on the website of the State Administration of Religious Affairs on January 26 announced.

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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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Vatican statement on China brings comfort and hope

HONG KONG (AsiaNews): Priests in China approached by AsiaNews all spoke with satisfaction about the statement released by the Vatican on November 20 commenting on the Congress of Catholic Representatives, scheduled from December 27 to 29, and the presence of an illicitly ordained bishop at two ordinations on November 30 and December 2 (Sunday Examiner, January 1).

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The why of Vietnam’s law on religion questioned

HOCHIMIHN (UCAN): The Vietnam National Assembly has ratified a controversial law on religious activities sparking a strong reaction from religious communities.

The Law on Belief and Religion, which was passed by the National Assembly on November 18 is the first ever law on religious activities since the country was reunified in 1975.

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Paralleling religion and terrorism

HONG KONG (UCAN): The Chinese government has tightened the screws on religious freedom in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region with new regulations providing for parents and guardians to be reported if they force children to take part in religious activities.

The new regulations in the Muslim-majority state were passed by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Regional People’s Congress on September 29 and will come into effect on November 1.

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Constitution versus religious regulations

HONG KONG (AsiaNews): China is poised to promulgate a new set of Regulations on Religious Activities on October 7, which seek to control every facet of the lives of religious communities from personnel to places of worship, and from statues to buildings.

The regulations also make specific reference to terrorist activities and separatist movements, with the big demand being that there are to be no ties with foreign countries, as all religions in China must be fully independent.

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Bishop’s death sparks succession quandary

WENZHOU (AsiaNews): The death of Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang, from Wenzhou in Zhejiang province, on the morning of September 7 at the age of 90 has sparked a looming crisis in the continued leadership of the diocese.

The coadjutor bishop set to succeed him was reported to have been kidnapped by police a few days before Bishop Zhu’s death and was not allowed to return for his funeral.

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