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Tops for the decorative but missing the big prize

HONG KONG (SE): In what has become known as the Christmas Village of China the climbing mercury and the sizzling earth of high summer signals the height of the peak season for Santa hats, tinsel and LED-lit Christmas trees.
 
Located a little over an hour away from Shanghai by bullet train in the province of Zhejiang, Yiwu is an inland city of around 1.2 million people and is recognised as producing nearly two-thirds of all the decorations that give the Christmassy feel to the world for the big December 25 celebration.
 

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Beijing becoming gated community

BEIJING (UCAN): In what is slowly turning Beijing into a gated community where only the right people are welcome, tens of thousands of internal migrant workers are being forced out of the capital of China in an ongoing drive to rid the streets of what the government terms its low-end population.
 
In the wake of a fire that broke out in a low income area of Daxing on November 18, the authorities began a purge to evict migrant workers.
 

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Ghosts and gods or Lenin and Marx

HONG KONG (SE): Chen Xi, a senior member of the Chinese Communist Party has condemned cadres for believing in ghosts and gods rather than putting their faith in Karl Marx and Joseph Lenin.
 
Writing in the Communist Party official mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, on November 16, Chen accused some officials of becoming politically and morally degraded, and of looking to religion, superstition and western-style democracy to supplement a fading faith in socialism.
 

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China puts ban on Vatican tours

HONG KONG (SE): Travel agencies in China have received an instruction not to sell any package tours that include the Vatican City on their itinerary, a report from Radio Free Asia on November 22 claims.
 
Radio Free Asia quoted an employee of Phoenix Holidays International Travel Agency as saying that the reason given is that there are no diplomatic relations between the Vatican and Beijing.
 

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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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