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China tightens grip on religion with bureaucratic overhaul

Hong Kong (UCAN): China’s Communist Party has further stepped up control over all religions, dissolving its long-standing State Administration for Religious Affairs bureau and handing its functions over to the feared United Front Work Department.
 

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Dialogue between Christianity and China indispensable

VATICAN (CNS): “If we see only our own reasons and insist on our own experience as the norm, thereby denying the basis of other people’s experience, then disagreement, quarrels and even wars will be inevitable,” between individuals, communities, nations and religions, the former bishop of Hong Kong, John Cardinal Tong Hon told symposium on Christianity and China.
 

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Cross removals in Henan

HONG KONG (UCAN): The cathedral of Shangqiu South Church in Henan province, China, became the first Catholic church in the province whose crosses were removed by street office and district committee officials, a source, who requested anonymity, reported on March 9.
 
“The officials said the largest one at the highest point of the cathedral had to be removed but church staff disagreed,” the source said.
 

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Pro-independence and pro-Hong Kong graffitti in Guangzhou

BEIJING (AsiaNews/RFA): Posters and graffiti have appeared on the streets Guangzhou, in China’s Guangdong province, calling for independence, not just for neighbouring Hong Kong, but for Guangzhou itself, which shares the Cantonese language and culture.
 
Graffiti with slogans like, Independence for Guangzhou, Go Hong Kong! have been photographed in a number of public places in the city and lies at the heart of the Pearl River delta economic area.
 

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Chinese bishops break silence on Vatican deal

HONG KONG (UCAN): Chinese bishops have broken the taboo about rarely talking about Sino-Vatican relations by backing a proposed deal on episcopal appointments.
 
The bishops, who have government recognition, spoke at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC) held recently in Beijing. They said the agreement is developing in a good direction and expressed support for the president, Xi Jinping, saying their citizenship takes priority over religion and beliefs.
 

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Priests in Changzhi told to give stipends to dioceses

HONG KONG (UCAN): Bishop Ding Lingbin of Changzhi in northern China, has asked priests in his diocese to hand over their stipends to be used to subsidise needy parishes and avoid secularisation.
 
The bishop told a pastoral meeting that the diocese would regulate collection and use of stipends under a unified standard.
 

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Church scarred and marred in Xinjiang

HONG KONG (UCAN): Authorities demolished the crosses, statues, bell towers and other features of a the Yining Catholic Church of the Urumqi Diocese in Xinjiang, northwest China on February 27. State-instructed workers removed the exterior religious features using a crane. A source said that no reason was given for the action but it is believed to have been carried out because the religious features were “incompatible with Sinicisation.”
 

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Nearly 50,000 baptisms in China

VATICAN (CNS): The Catholic Church in China registered 48,556 baptisms in 2017, according to a February 15 report by Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
 
The figures are likely incomplete, given the difficulty of procuring data from Catholic communities in the rural parts of China, report said.
 

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China demands Malaysia repatriate Uyghurs

Hong Kong (UCAN): “We must remember that the Uyghurs in question have been held at immigration detention facilities for nearly four years now without charge or access to legal representation—an egregiously long time to spend effectively in limbo after escaping China,” Peter Irwin, a project manager for the World Uyghur Congress, said regarding the fate of 11 Uyghurs in Malaysia who face possible c to China.
 

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Fears grow of a clampdown in Henan

HONG KONG (UCAN): Christians in China’s central Henan province were banned from displaying religious couplets over the Chinese New Year.
 
Government officials visited villages and towns to deliver notices ordering people not to follow a practice that has become a tradition during the festival.
 
Local Catholics expressed concerns that a new round of religious oppression is being aimed at the province.
 

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