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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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Official Church facing authenticity crisis

HONG KONG (UCAN): St. Joseph’s Church in Beijing towers over busy Wangfujing Street, not far from Tiananmen Square. 

On an uncharacteristically humid afternoon in July this year, the courtyard is abandoned, save for three men sleeping on benches.

The church doors are shuttered, but not locked. Outside the main gate, another four homeless people take refuge from the pounding sun and suffocatingly humid air. But inside, there’s not a soul.

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China tightens clamp on religious freedom

WENZHOU (SE): Authorities in Zhejiang province have moved against what has become a popular and successful ministry to the sick and dying by Christian people by banning all forms of religious activity in hospitals.

Ministry among the sick, as well as people who are isolated from their families has become a fast developing apostolate, with some entrepreneurial groups advertising among Christian communities for carers.

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Court challenges seal of confession

BATON ROUGE (CWN): In a two-one ruling, an appellate court in the United States of America ruled that a woman whose family is suing the diocese of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and one of its priests, may testify about what she told the priest during confession.

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Is the door of caged bishop ajar?

SHANGHAI (SE): What began as a study of the legacy of the late Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian, from Shanghai, and scheduled to be held on the centennial anniversary of his birth on June 20, was first disrupted when a command performance in Beijing co-opted many of its delegates, and then by the political intrigue of whether the caged Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin would appear or not.

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Government show in Beijing trumps Church show in Shanghai

HONG KONG (UCAN): The State Administration for Religious Affairs hosted a five-day workshop at a training centre in Beijing on the instructions of the central government as a commemoration of the centennial of the birth of the former bishop of Shanghai, the late Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian.

Five Church representatives from each province were chosen to attend the five-day gathering, which participants said was running from June 20 to 24.

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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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