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Nobel laureates appeal for the Dalai Lama

HONG KONG (SE): Twelve Nobel laureates have written to the president of the People’s Republic of China, Hu Jintao, urging him to open talks with the Dalai Lama in the light of the series of self-immolations carried out by Tibetan people living in China over the past 12 months.

More than 30 Tibetans, most of them Buddhist monks and nuns, have set themselves on fire in Tibetan-inhabited areas of the mainland since the start of March last year to protest against Beijing’s hard-line rule.

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Illicit ordination is bullet in disguise

HONG KONG (SE): A priest in China has written to UCA News in the wake of the March 26 ordination of six deacons to the priesthood in Kunming, Yunnan province, by the illicitly ordained Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin, lamenting that warnings from both inside and outside the country did nothing to wake up the consciences of the people involved.

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Xi Jinping hosted at Jesuit college in Dublin

DUBLIN (SE): The Jesuit-run Belvedere College hosted Xi Jinping, the vice president of the People’s Republic of China, to a performance of Riverdance during his visit to Ireland in February this year.

The Irish Jesuit News reported on February 29 that the headmaster, Gerry Foley, said that hosting Xi at the college was indeed a great honour and recognition of the course in Chinese studies that the college has been running for over five years.

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Taiwan tourism may open other doors to Beijing

TAIPEI (AsiaNews): Less than a year since the ban on individual tourism from mainland China to Taiwan was lifted, the government in Taipei announced on April 2 that it wants to double the total number of individual tourists coming from China.

The Taipei government announced that its aim is to reach the 1,000 a day mark.

The Taiwan Council for Chinese Affairs explained that it will push the establishment and facilitation of links across the Strait.

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A silent Easter for many parts of China

BEIJING (AsiaNews): Easter became a discrete celebration this year for the Church in many parts of China, especially within the unofficial Catholic communities.

Bishops and priests on the mainland report that a significant number of them were called in by the police for a chat in the run up to the feast and some were subjected to a number of weeks of special classes on the government religious policy, AsiaNews reports.

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Illicit bishop ordains in Yunnan

 DALI (UCAN): Six deacons were ordained priests in Dali in the north-western Yunnan area of China in controversial circumstances on March 26.

The ordaining bishop from Kunming, who became the ordinary of the diocese without the approval of the Holy See in 2005, Bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin, had been criticised both within and outside the country for agreeing to do the ceremony in the run up to the event.

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China criticised over returning of refugees

LONDON (UCAN): A resolution was tabled in the British parliament expressing outrage at China for returning 41 North Korean refugees back across the border, UCA News reported on March 19.

The resolution calls the policy of repatriation that Beijing is following a cause for grave concern.

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Bishop and priest taken for reeducation

WENZHOU (UCAN): Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin, the coadjutor of Wenzhou diocese in China, together with his chancellor, Father Paul Jiang Sunian, were spirited away on March 19 to attend government learning classes.

It was reported by local people that 49-year-old Bishop Shao was appointed by the Holy See in to lead Wenzhou’s unofficial Catholic community in 2007, but he is not recognised as a bishop by the government.

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Amazing legacy of a late priest in Hebei

ANGUO (Agencies): “He was a true priest, a true religious and true man of God. His testimony was given with his own life. He was the salt and the yeast, his life was a crystal decorated with charity,” people said in describing the life of Father John Chen Huang Zhang, who died in Anguo, Hebei, on March 10 at the age of 88.

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China to quit prisoner organ donation scheme

BEIJING (AsiaNews): Although for many years, China would not acknowledge what was widely suspected, that executed bodies were robbed of organs for transplant purposes, it has now admitted that the rumours were true, by undertaking to give the practice up.

Xinhua reported on March 23 that plans to abolish the practice within five years are afoot and Huang Jiefu, the vice minister for health, said that a campaign will be undertaken to urge ordinary citizens to donate their organs voluntarily.

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