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Christians and Muslims stand against terrorism

LAHORE (AsiaNews): Leaders from the Islamic and Catholic faiths came together to lead an interfaith vigil in memory of the 76 people who died in the March 27 Easter Sunday terror attack in Lahore, Pakistan, on April 2.

Although it was claimed by the perpetrators that Christians were the target of the attack, in fact, only 17 of the dead have been identified as Christian and the bulk of the remainder are Muslim.

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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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Protecting atheists part of religious freedom

CLIFTON (CWN): Bishop Declan Lang said in an article in the Universe on March 8 that the Catholic community in England and Wales has a role to play in ensuring that the government maintains this position and continues to speak out when people are imprisoned, tortured or killed on account of their atheism.

Bishop Lang cited the case of one person who was killed two years ago because he had taken an atheistic position on his blog. 

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Government plans for Church rubber stamped

HONG KONG (SE): The two government bodies that hold official authority within the Catholic Church in China, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China, readily rubber stamped plans presented by the government for the coming year.

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Martyr status for Bhatti

RAWALPINDI (SE): The diocese of Islamabad-Rawalpindi reported that it intends to open a process to have the former Catholic minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, who was assassinated on 2 March 2011, declared a martyr.

Vatican Radio reported that the diocese had already opened an investigation to collect evidence, as in a video he recorded to be released in the event of his death he said that he knew that he was a wanted man.

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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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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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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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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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