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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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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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