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Rights advocate dies in neglect

BEIJING (AsiaNews): Yang Tongyan, the 56-year-old recipient of the 2008 PEN Freedom to Write Award, died on November 7 from an aggressive form of brain cancer after being released from Nanjing Prison on medical parole.
 
He underwent an operation on August 23 on a brain tumour and had almost completed a 12-year sentence for posting anti-government articles online in 2006. It was his second stint in prison, already having spent a decade behind bars for counter-revolutionary crimes and taking part in the 1989 massed rally in Tiananmen Square.

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Christian influence on growth of freedom in China

BERKLEY (SE): “Since the early 20th century, China has undergone dramatic social changes, including two revolutions, multiple wars, dramatic political turmoil, and rapid economic development in recent decades,” Yang Fenggang, from Purdue University, said in a paper delivered at the Berkley Centre for Religion, Peace and World Affairs in California on October 31.
 








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A Beijing hand in Mugabe fall?

HARARE (AsiaNews): Constantino Chiwenga, the general who orchestrated the coup in Zimbabwe that finally saw the president of 37 years, Robert Mugabe, resign on November 22, was in Beijing for meetings with the Chinese military and the defence minister, Chang Wanquan, just a few days before he made his decisive move on November 15.
 
Although it was billed as a normal military exchange, an article published in the Global Times on November 16 may suggest otherwise.
 

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Religion at the National Party Congress

Among the 74 special guests invited to join the 2,287 delegates at the Nineteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China were seven representing the religious sector; the Buddhist, Taoist and Islamic faiths had one each, while the Protestant and Catholic Churches had two each.
 
The Catholic delegates were Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin, the chairperson of the Bishops’ Conference of the Catholic Church in China; and Bishop Johan Fang Xingyao, the chairperson of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.
 

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Hammer and sickle censorship jams Down Under printing presses

HONG KONG (SE): The long arm of hammer and sickle censorship has reached the presses of Allen & Unwin, Australia’s leading publisher and longtime promoter of academic literature.
 
It made a sudden decision to return the manuscript to the author of a book called, Silent Invasion: How China is turning Australia into a puppet state, by Adelaide academic, Clive Hamilton, for what are being described as spurious reasons.
 

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History-making bishop mourned

FENGXIANG (SE): Bishop Lucas Li Jingfeng, who was emboldened in 1980 to take a step in disobedience to the Church by accepting episcopal ordination from his predecessor in Fengxiang, Bishop Anthony Zhou Weidao, without a mandate from the Holy See, died at 7.20am on November 17.
 

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Two bishops out from the shadows in one week

HONG KONG (SE): In July 2011, Bishop Joseph Sun Jigen played a bit of hide and seek with the government over his episcopal ordination in Handan, when he set a false date for his ordination, for which he had Holy See approval, as July 29.
 
But as the day approached, he announced that in fact he had already been ordained at another location on June 21 in order to prevent illicitly ordained bishops from being present.
 
In the eyes of the Vatican he became the coadjutor of the diocese of Handan.
 

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Uyghur cops copping it

HONG KONG (UCAN): Relatives of Uyghur police force personnel are now being detained as part of a crackdown on the ethnic Muslim group in the Xinjiang region of China. It had been an unwritten agreement that the families of security personnel enforcing the crackdown were off limits, but now the cops are beginning to cop it.
 

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Clandestine bishop out from shadows

LANZHOU (AsiaNews): Bishop Joseph Han Zhihai, who was ordained clandestinely as a bishop in Lanzhou in 2003, has come out of the shadows to be installed by the government as bishop of Lanzhou in northern China.
 
However, he had told the Vatican Insider in 2015, “It is best not to ask for government recognition,” but added the rider that in his case the government had been prepared to offer recognition back in 2010.
 

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Espionage in the lecture hall or bewildered students?

HONG KONG (SE): The machinations of the United Work Front Department outside of China and meddling in local affairs by Beijing are currently being criticised at both a high level and with great seriousness in Australia.
 
Speaking at a Confucius Institute in Adelaide in October, the country’s top ranking diplomat, the secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Frances Adamson, warned international students that freedom of speech is a highly treasured Australian value and that they are not invited to interfere in that.

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