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A Cultural Revolution in playback mode

BEIJING (UCAN): This year began in China with the sacking of a university professor, Deng Xiangchao, after he posted some critical messages about the first chairman of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong, on social media.

Shandong Jianzhu University sacked Deng for airing his opinion on how many millions of Chinese died because of decisions made by Mao and the madness he often orchestrated.

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What’s in Vatican negotiations for China?

HONG KONG (SE): The benefits of an equitable agreement coming out of the ongoing Vatican-Beijing dialogue seem obvious enough for the Catholic Church, but no one enters into an international negotiation unless there is something in it for them as well, so what’s in it for China?

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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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Subtle snub for Cardinal Tong

HONG KONG (UCAN): An article published by John Cardinal Tong Hon in the Sunday Examiner on February 12 suggesting possible ways for Church-state relations in China to move forward appears to have received a subtle snub from Beijing.

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Shutdown on unofficial Churches in Xinjiang

HONG KONG (SE): Authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang in China have banned all Christian activities not linked to state-approved Churches, launching a region-wide crackdown on worship centres of unofficial communities under the guise of instituting anti-terrorism precautions.

Radio Free Asia reported on February 28 that unofficial Catholic communities and Protestant House Churches have been put on notice and commanded to halt all activity throughout the region.

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A reflection on Cardinal Tong’s view of Vatican-Beijing negotiations

SAN DIEGO (SE): Although there are converging interests between China and the Vatican on the appointments of bishops, the two hold quite different agendas in the current, much-discussed negotiations between the two parties.

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Lent in China

BEIJING (SE): Wednesday, March 1, marked the beginning of Lent, but because so few people are able to attend Mass on a weekday in China, many parishes also held the rite of placing ashes on the forehead on the following Sunday as well.

Fides reported that there were a wide variety of initiatives taken up in different parishes to mark the beginning of the penitential season.

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Pope makes it on Beijing television

ROME (SE): In prime viewing time on February 26, a programme on the authority of the pope over his Catholic flock was aired on state television in Beijing.

The 7.30pm programme dealt with the question of the authority of the pope and how it relates to the people of the Church, relations between China and the Vatican, as well as the importance of religion in China and around the world.

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Localising Church music in China

HONG KONG (UCAN): China has experienced an increase in locally composed liturgical songs, which is evidenced by a new website listing various hymns that are sung across China today.

Last year, one priest released his own album of songs that he composed himself.

Sanyuan, in northwestern Shaanxi province, and Xianxian in northern Hebei, both held sacred music festivals in late 2016 attracting many choirs from the areas.

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High casualty rate among overseas baptisms

HONG KONG (UCAN): It seems that baptism received during relatively short stays overseas does not travel well when returning across the borders back into China.

A study of Chinese students baptised while studying in English-speaking countries reveals that among the tens of thousands involved, the homecoming tragedy rate is quite high.

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