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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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A body that reveals no answers

HONG KONG (SE): A Mass was celebrated on December 30 at Tseung Kwan O parish in Hong Kong for the late Father Wei Heiping, whose body was found on November 8 in the Fen River, a tributary to the Yangtze River that runs through Shanxi province in northern China.

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A year of deteriorating religious rights in China

BEIJING (UCAN): When Chen Zhenggao, the Minister for Housing, travelled to bustling Yiwu in Zhejiang in mid-October last year, his speech sent a chill through the whole Christian population of China, which by some estimates is as many as 100 million people.

The Zhejiang Daily reported at the time that Chen told local officials to battle against illegal constructions by learning from what Zhejiang had been experiencing over the past 15 months or so.

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Freedom of religion for a Church in chains

HONG KONG (SE): By its very nature cyberspace transcends borders, which makes drawing territorial demarcation lines designating control over content, access or usage an almost contradictory task.

However, the United States of America (US) holds most of the keys to the doors that can lock, monitor and block, as it possesses the 13 facilities that allocate IP address, which gives it a head start in the manipulation game.

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When praying is a crime

Beijing (AsiaNews): Shandong Yingcai College in Shandong province, eastern China, has expelled five Christian students for engaging in prayer in a private room, ChinaAid reported on December 19.

Local police came for Li Binbin, Zhang Yaqi, Chen Huiyun, Ni Wangjie and Chen Ping after receiving a picture of them in prayer. A sixth student who was with them, Jia Rong, was not punished.

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China gives notice on religion summit

HONG KONG (SE): The Communist Party of China has given notice that its long-expected first summit on religion in 10 years will be held in the coming weeks.

Some believe that sweeping changes to regulations governing religious affairs and practice are in the offing, as the report notes that the gathering may be chaired by the president, Xi Jinping.

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Freedom of speech on same-sex marriage

HONG KONG (SE): In multi-cultural Sydney, Australia’s attorney general, George Brandis, told a Religious Roundtable on November 5 that there are inconsistent attitudes towards religious tolerance and freedom in the Land Down Under.

Speaking to a mixed interfaith group, the attorney general said, “Religious freedom is every bit as important as political freedom.”

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Is target crosses or illegal structures?

HONG KONG (UCAN): Christians in the Zhejiang province of China, where authorities have been carrying out a massive campaign to remove the crosses from Church buildings, say they will remain vigilant amid signs that the hardline strategy could spread to other jurisdictions.

Although Christian leaders in the province say the campaign against the crosses has subsided since September, authorities across China have recently met to discuss the issue of illegal building structures.

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Court overrules appeal on house church closure

BEIJING (Agencies): A court in Guizhou, China, has ruled against an appeal by a Christian community disputing an order that a house church must be closed.

China Aid reported that members of the Huaqiu House Church raised 50,000 yuan ($62,500) and built a church in May 2014 after receiving a certificate of approval for the self-financed project.

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Summit on religion mooted

HONG KONG (SE): The Communist Party of China is sending signals that it will intensify its control over the Catholic Church and other religions at a summit on religion that is expected to be held towards the end of this year.

It will be the first such gathering to take place since the current president, Xi Jinping, came to power in 2012.

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