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Journalists behind bars on mainland

HONG KONG (SE): At least 38 journalists are currently behind bars in China amid an ongoing crackdown on the media during 2016, a report from the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists claims.

The list includes citizen journalists and bloggers. While the figure is down from the 45 of last year, the committee notes that the slight decrease does not mean that press freedom in China is improving.

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Public airing of China’s view

ROME (AsiaNews): Coming from 31 provinces and autonomous regions of China, 365 representatives attended the Ninth Congress of Catholic Representatives at the Tian Tai Beijing Hotel from December 27 to 29.

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Ordeal of Mass at Christmas

HONG KONG (UCAN): For both the official and unofficial Church communities in China, Christmas Eve Masses proved to be an ordeal.

In Beijing, it often meant competing for admission and queuing for mandatory security checks for hours at the four downtown churches, popularly known as the North, South, East and West Churches.

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Police release detained self-styled bishop

HONG KONG (UCAN): The authorities in China appear to be worried about the appearance of a maverick bishop in Zhending and have gone to some lengths in order to stop him from becoming too popular or spreading his influence too far.

The self-styled bishop from an unofficial community in Hebei province, 58-year-old Father Paul Dong Guanhwa, was detained by the authorities in early December.

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Mild response from Beijing

VATICAN (AsiaNews): Beijing has responded to a statement from the Vatican on the presence of an illicitly ordained bishop at two ordinations in China on November 30 and December 2, as well as the Congress of Catholic Representatives that was running for three days after Christmas, in what is being described as a surprisingly mild tone.

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Vatican breaks its silence on China

HONG KONG (SE): The Vatican has broken its silence on two much discussed topics amongst Catholics in China and in the international media; the convening of the Ninth Congress of Catholic Representatives, which was slated to take place in Beijing from December 26 to 29, and the presence of an illicitly ordained bishop at two ordinations, one in Chengdu and the other in Xichang on November 30 and December 2.

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Mixing sand with rice

HONG KONG (UCAN): In recent years, whenever a government-backed bishop not approved by the Vatican appears at an episcopal ordination along with Vatican-approved bishops, Chinese Catholics mock it with the saying “mixing sand with rice.”

A priest writing under the name of Father Peter Peng, who describes himself as an observer in northern China, said that the first time he heard the phrase was from the late Father Yan Wenda in 1984.

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Open letter to Xi on human rights

HONG KONG (AsiaNews): More than 100 authors from around the world have signed a letter addressed to the president of China, Xi Jinping, asking him to stop repressing writers in the country and to address the human rights violations being perpetrated against them.

The letter was delivered on the World Day for Human Rights, December 10.

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World Heritage bid for St. Francis Xavier memorial

HONG KONG (UCAN): People visiting the original grave site of St. Francis Xavier on Shangchuan Island in China on December 3 found site closed for renovation.

It is part of a bid for a UNESCO World Heritage listing.

St. Francis Xavier’s Church on the island, which houses the empty tomb of the 16th century Jesuit missionary, is one of 30 historic sites included in the Chinese government recommendations for UNESCO world heritage listing for 2018.

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China schedules Catholic Congress for Boxing Day

HONG KONG (UCAN): The Ninth Congress of Catholic Representatives, which is only open to approved, government-recognised office holders from the official Catholic community and normally held in early December, has been put off until after Christmas.

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