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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Catholicism’ Category

Pope hits at China’s curbs on religion in Christmas message

Posted by Author on December 25, 2010


AFP, Dec.25, 2010 –

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI rapped China for its curbs on religion and freedom of conscience in his Christmas message Saturday, reflecting the tense relations between the Vatican and Beijing.

“May the birth of the Saviour strengthen the spirit of faith, patience and courage of the faithful of the Church in mainland China, that they may not lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience but, persevering in fidelity to Christ and his Church, may keep alive the flame of hope,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Catholicism, China, Christianity, Freedom of Belief, Human Rights, News, Politics, Religion, World | Comments Off on Pope hits at China’s curbs on religion in Christmas message

Pope threatens to excommunicate Chinese bishop appointted by the government

Posted by Author on December 1, 2010


The Guardian, Dec. 1, 2010 –

The pope has called for prayers for Catholics in China after renewed tensions with the government over the illicit ordination of a bishop.

The Vatican warned China it was damaging the faith and that Father Joseph Guo Jincai risked excommunication for being ordained without papal consent.

Benedict XVI asked for prayers for Chinese Catholics, adding that he was praying for the country’s bishops, “so that they may bear witness to their faith with courage”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Catholicism, China, Freedom of Belief, Human Rights, News, Politics, Religion, Social, World | Comments Off on Pope threatens to excommunicate Chinese bishop appointted by the government

Vatican Lashes Out at China Over Bishop’s Appointment

Posted by Author on November 24, 2010


By STACY MEICHTRY, Wall Street Journal, Nov. 24, 2010 –

The Vatican lashed out at China Wednesday for consecrating a bishop without Pope Benedict XVI’s approval, ratcheting up tensions between the world’s most populous nation and its largest church.

In an unusually strong-worded statement, the Holy See accused the Chinese government of forcing other Catholic bishops to attend a ceremony on Saturday, in which the Rev. Joseph Guo Jincai was consecrated as the bishop of Chengde located in the eastern province of Hebei. The Vatican said it had warned Chinese authorities that it opposed Bishop Guo’s consecration, noting that the bishop was “exposing himself” to church sanctions that call for the excommunication of bishops who don’t have papal approval. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Catholicism, China, Hebei, Human Rights, News, North China, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, World | Comments Off on Vatican Lashes Out at China Over Bishop’s Appointment

Vatican must push for more religious freedom in China, says Hong Kong cardinal

Posted by Author on June 17, 2009


By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, June 17, 2009 –

ROME (CNS) — Too much importance is being given to establishing diplomatic relations between the Vatican and China and not enough is being done to push for greater religious freedom on the mainland, said retired Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun.

Diplomatic relations “alone do not rectify everything. In fact sometimes they can deceive by giving the false impression that religious freedom exists,” he told the Rome-based agency AsiaNews.

“The most important thing is religious freedom,” he said, which diplomatic relations can foster, but in no way guarantee.

“Currently the establishment of diplomatic ties appears to be improbable,” he said.

The cardinal, who retired this year as head of the Hong Kong diocese, made his remarks in a lengthy interview with AsiaNews. Excerpts were published on the agency’s website June 16 and the entire interview was to appear in its monthly magazine in August-September.

Cardinal Zen said the Catholic Church in China and the Vatican should stop compromising with the Chinese government and start implementing the guidelines Pope Benedict XVI set out in his 2007 letter to Chinese Catholics.

Even though the pope’s letter marked the beginning of a new opportunity, “this move for greater transparency has not taken place. In fact it seems to me that we are worryingly sliding down the slope of compromise,” he said.

The 2007 letter established new guidelines to favor cooperation between clandestine Catholic communities and those officially registered with the government…….(more from The Catholic News Service)

Posted in Catholicism, China, Freedom of Belief, Human Rights, News, People, Religion, Religious, World | Comments Off on Vatican must push for more religious freedom in China, says Hong Kong cardinal

‘Underground’ Catholic Bishop Detained in North China on Last Day Of Beijing Olympics

Posted by Author on August 27, 2008


UCA News, August 25, 2008-

HONG KONG (UCAN) — Underground Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding was taken away from his residence by public security officers and government officials on the closing day of the Beijing Olympics.

A Catholic source told UCA News that the 73-year-old bishop was resting in his room in the Christ the King Cathedral compound and talking with some Catholics there when the officers took him away at 11:20 a.m. Zhengding diocese is in Hebei province, which mostly surrounds Beijing.

The incident, the source said, occurred after the prelate celebrated Sunday Mass on Aug. 24 at the cathedral in Wuqiu, a village near Shijiazhuang, the provincial capital, 270 kilometers southwest of Beijing.

The officers, from the Shijiazhuang area, told the Catholics at the scene that the authorities have arranged “a summer tour for the bishop” and that “he will not be back soon,” the source added.

Some of the hundreds of Catholics who attended the bishop’s Mass that morning were still in the cathedral and saw security officers lead Bishop Jia away.

A press release from the United States-based Cardinal Kung Foundation dated Aug. 24 said “six government officials in two automobiles arrested Bishop Jia” at the cathedral at about 10:45 a.m.

As of Aug. 25, the prelate, who is in ill health, has been under house arrest in Shijiazhuang, the source told UCA News.

Local Catholics do not know the reasons for removing their bishop, the source said, but surmise that it could be linked to the upcoming Paralympic Games in Beijing, which run Sept. 6-17. Bishop Jia runs an orphanage that also cares for disabled children, the source noted.

Earlier, on Aug. 15, Bishop Jia had presided in Wuqiu at the Mass celebrating the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother. More than 1,000 Catholics attended even though public security officers had warned Catholics in the diocese to stay away from the feast-day Mass at the cathedral.

Underground Catholics reject affiliation with government-approved administrative structures for the Church.

– Source: CHINA  ‘Underground’ Hebei Bishop Detained By Security Officers On Last Day Of Olympics, UCA News

Posted in Catholicism, China, Freedom of Belief, Hebei, Human Rights, Law, News, North China, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, World | Comments Off on ‘Underground’ Catholic Bishop Detained in North China on Last Day Of Beijing Olympics

Two underground Catholic priests arrested in north China

Posted by Author on July 15, 2008


Cardinal Kung Foundation, July 13, 2008-

Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. — In his pastoral letter to China last year, Pope Benedict XVI established the date May 24 as the day “for the Catholics of the whole world to be united in prayer with the Church which is in China…..in liturgical memorial of Our Lady, Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the Marian Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai…..I would like that date to be kept by you as a day of prayer for the Church in China…”

Upon the encouragement of Pope Benedict, and as a tradition in honoring Our Lady of Sheshan 佘山聖母, thousands of Chinese made a pilgrimage to Sheshan 佘山in Shanghai in May. Most of them had tacit approval from the Chinese government. Those who had no such approval risked arrest and detention. The entire underground clergy of the Shanghai Diocese was placed under house arrest during the month of May in order to prevent them from making pilgrimage to Sheshan. Other underground Catholics were warned by the government official not to participate in visiting Sheshan on May 24.

Among the pilgrims were two underground priests from Xuanhua 宣化 Hebei 河北. Father Zhang Jianlin 章建林, age 42, was intercepted by Chinese authorities in Nanking 南京on his way to Sheshan to participate in the prayers for China on May 24. Father Zhang was sent back by the security police to Xuanhua where he was promptly arrested and detained. Father Zhangli 張利, age 45, announcing his intention to go to Sheshan on May 24, was arrested and detained few days before May 24 in order to prevent him from going to Sheshan. Both priests disappeared while they were in the hands of Chinese authorities. There has been no news on these two priests since their arrests. We do not know what is happening to them and where they are.

The underground diocese of Xuanhua has many houses dedicated to prayers. They have now all been forbidden by the Chinese authorities to be used as prayer-houses. Those larger houses have now been fitted with video cameras by the authorities in order to have continuous monitoring of these houses of worship to make sure that no prayers are to be recited there……. (more details from Cardinal Kung Foundation)

Posted in Catholicism, China, Hebei, Human Rights, Incident, Law, News, North China, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, World | Comments Off on Two underground Catholic priests arrested in north China

Religious Persecution Continues, It Hardly Matters Whether There’s a Bible Ban or Not in China

Posted by Author on November 12, 2007


By Paul Schratz, The B.C. Catholic, Canada, November 12, 2007-

A Vatican official last month told the United Nations General Assembly he hoped the 2008 Olympic Games in China would help promote international peace and respect for human rights.

It remains to be seen what the impact will be on world peace, but things weren’t off to a good start on the human rights front last week with the controversy over China’s “ban” on Bibles at the Olympics.

Initial reports were that the Scriptures would not be allowed at the Games. Within days, China clarified that in fact athletes would be allowed to have one Bible for personal use, sort of like toothpaste.

That was later amended to say athletes were free to bring their Bibles as long as they didn’t distribute them.

China did its best to play the aggrieved party, declaring the whole controversy founded on rumour and asserting how generous it would be when it comes to visitors’ religious freedoms.

The real irony is that it hardly matters whether or not China bans Bibles for two weeks. With the level of religious persecution that goes on in that country, who cares if there’s a brief show of tolerance.

Millions of Chinese people of faith live under an atheistic regime that forces churches to operate under government dictate. Practitioners of the Falun Gong movement are particularly persecuted, and religious leaders and followers are routinely jailed.

The government’s long arm has even extended to the Buddhist belief in reincarnation, with Beijing ordering Tibet’s living Buddhas to get permission before reincarnating.

When Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations, addressed the UN Oct. 31, he pointed out that the Vatican views the Olympics as an important moment of dialogue that can help countries bridge political and other differences.

He said “dialogue and encounter through sport hold great potential in the area of peace-building and conflict prevention.”

Rather than moving toward more tolerance, China appears interested in simply putting on a respectable face while doing nothing in the human rights department to earn a positive reputation.

“While the rule of law and justice remain the foundation of durable peace, sport provides the tool for warring factions to come together for a common purpose,” he said.”

Sadly, China shows little interest in anything other than coming off as respectable, while doing little in the human rights department to show it’s worthy of the title.

As Archbishop Migliore pointed out, one of the lessons of the Olympics is that life is not about the triumph, but the struggle. The Vatican church and sports desk was established to promote a human-centred approach to sports and to help “reclaim the ideal of sport as a real school of humanity, camaraderie, solidarity, and excellence.” In this way, he said, sports figures can continue to be models for youth.

It’s a point China still needs to learn, along with the fact that it is in a state’s own interest to ensure that religious freedom – a natural right that is also an individual and social right – is effectively guaranteed for all.

Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, described the free exercise of religion in society as the preeminent human freedom.

It called on governments to assume the safeguard of religious freedom of all citizens in an effective manner by just laws and by other appropriate means.

Pope John Paul II referred to religious freedom as the first right. This summer, in his letter to China’s Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI called on Beijing to respect “authentic religious freedom,” warning that China’s official church was incompatible with Catholic doctrine.

Given China’s track record of controlling all religious activity, jailing those who speak out, controlling churches, and arresting religious leaders, it hardly matters whether there’s a Bible ban or not. Religious persecution continues. Just ask Underground Catholic Bishop Jia Zhiquo, who was arrested in August.

– Original report from The B.C. Catholic : Banned in Beijing

Posted in Beijing, Beijing Olympics, Catholicism, censorship, China, Christianity, Freedom of Belief, Human Rights, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, Sports, World | Comments Off on Religious Persecution Continues, It Hardly Matters Whether There’s a Bible Ban or Not in China

China: Catholic Bishop Died In Secret Detention, Cremated by Authority In 6 Hours

Posted by Author on September 11, 2007


Press release, Cardinal Kung Foundation, USA, Sep. 9, 2007-

Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Bishop Han Dingxiang (韓鼎詳), the underground Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Yong Nian (永年) in Hebei Province (河北省), died at 11 pm (Beijing time) on September 9 yesterday at the end of his almost 8 years imprisonment by the Chinese authority. With the exception of few of his very close relatives who were suddenly summoned by the government authority to his bedside before his death, none of his priests and other faithful were aware of his grave illness or of any other cause leading to his death; nor were they aware of the fact that he was dying in a hospital.

The bishop was immediately ordered by the government authority to be cremated at approximately 5 am next morning and his ashes were buried immediately in a public cemetery – all within 6 hours after his death.

Consequently, with the exception of a few relatives, the body of Bishop Han was not viewed by the public or by any other faithful. There were no priests or other faithful present during his burial.

He was 71 years old. His last words before he drifted into a coma were to ask his congregation to recite more rosaries.

Bishop Han was born on May 17, 1937, sent to a labor camp by Chinese authority 1960 – 1979, became a high-school teacher from 1979 to 1982, and operated a medical clinic between 1982 – 1986 while he was a seminarian. He was ordained a priest November 21, 1986, and then ordained a bishop December 19, 1989.

During his episcopacy, Bishop Han was arrested by the Chinese authority 11 times. His last arrest was on November 20, 1999 while he was conducting a religious retreat for some of his nuns. After approximately 4 years of detentions in various locations, he was moved to an apartment on the 4th floor of a police family unit where he stayed for another two years.

On September 23, 2005, Bishop Han was secretly moved to an unknown location and disappeared ever since until his death. He spent approximately a total of 35 years of his life either in the labor camp, or in a prison, or in house arrest.

Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: “What was the Chinese government afraid of to cremate Bishop Han only 6 hours after his death and at such an early hour at five o’clock in the morning? Why were the priests of his diocese not allowed to bless his remains and, together with his faithful, to pray for this heroic shepherd, and to view his body? This is not only inhuman, and atrocious, but also suspicious. I urge the Vatican to open an official inquest for the cause of the death of Bishop Han.”

– Original report from Cardinalkungfoundation.Org : The Death of An Underground Bishop in Yong Nian, Hebei, China

Posted in Catholicism, China, Freedom of Belief, Hebei, house arrest, Human Rights, Labor camp, Law, News, North China, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, World | Comments Off on China: Catholic Bishop Died In Secret Detention, Cremated by Authority In 6 Hours

Underground Catholic Bishop and Priest Arrested in North China

Posted by Author on August 23, 2007


Press Release, Cardinal Kung Foundation, August 23, 2007-

Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Bishop Jia Zhiguo, the underground Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Zheng Ding in Hebei Province, was arrested again by the Public Security and Religious Bureau at approximately 9:00 in the morning of August 23, 2007 (Beijing time). We do not know the reason of the bishop’s arrest, nor do we know his current location.

In the last 5 days, there was a marked increase in the number of security police for putting Bishop Jia under strict surveillance 24 hours a day and there were police vehicles parking outside of the bishop’s residence. Anyone coming to visit the bishop was summarily arrested. A priest and a layperson were arrested and interrogated for 8 hours before they were released.

Since the release of the China letter by His Holiness Pope Benedict XIV, Bishop Jia was told several times by the religious bureau that he was not allowed to publicly support and promulgate the Pope’s China letter. We do not know for sure whether this order has anything to do with the bishop’s arrest this time.

A few days ago, the Religious Bureau forcibly put a sign “The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association” vertically at the side of the gate of bishop Jia’s church! The sign could possibly still be there.

Bishop Jia is 73 years old and was ordained a bishop in 1980. He was previously jailed for approximately 20 years and has been under strict surveillance for many years by the Chinese authorities. He takes care of approximately 100 handicapped orphans in his house. As far as we know, he has been arrested eleven times since January 2004.

In addition, another priest, Father Wen Daoxiu, of Beiwangli Village, Qingyuan County, Hebei, was also arrested on August 15, 2007 by the Public Security Bureau after the priest had just finished offering a Holy Mass. We do not know his whereabouts and the reason of his arrest. Father Wen is in very poor health with three partially blocked blood vessels to his heart. He is in his mid-fifties.

Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: “It is apparent that the aforementioned actions by the Chinese government is not only contrary to the spirit of the China letter issued by the Pope almost two months ago, but also contrary to the generally accepted principles of human rights and to the spirits of the Olympic games.

“The freedom-loving and powerful countries of the world should take into greater consideration – consistently, and persistently, and not haphazardly – all human rights violations in China when forming and implementing their political and commercial decisions in relation to China. Does a country consistently violate the most basic human rights deserve to be the host of 2008 Olympic Games?”

– Original press release from Cardinal Kung Foundation : UNDERGROUND BISHOP JIA ZHIGUO IS ARRESTED AGAIN ANOTHER PRIEST IS ALSO ARRESTED

Posted in Catholicism, China, Freedom of Belief, Hebei, Human Rights, Law, News, North China, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, World | Comments Off on Underground Catholic Bishop and Priest Arrested in North China

Edward McMillan-Scott: We Should Shun Beijing Olympics in the Land of Genocide

Posted by Author on August 17, 2007


By Edward McMillan-Scott, via Yorkshire Post, UK, 13 August 2007-Edward McMillan-Scott

Edward McMillan-Scott (photo right) is a Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and Humber, a vice-president of the European Parliament and founded the EU’s Democracy and Human Rights Initiative.

The year-long countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympics was celebrated by the Chinese regime with a firework display in Tiananmen Square – the focus of the June 1989 massacre of thousands of human rights activists. Massed dancers performed under the bland portrait of Mao Tse-tung, who murdered without qualms more than 70 million of his own people, 38 million through starvation.

Outside China, numerous reports were produced by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International. Reporters without Borders said “despite the explicit undertakings it gave to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2001, the Chinese government has done nothing to improve free expression or human rights in general…. Every year several thousand Chinese are executed in public, often in stadiums, by means of a bullet in the back of the neck or lethal injection”.

As I said following my visit to Beijing last year, when I met former prisoners of conscience, one of whom had shared a cell in one of China’s vast detention camps with Tiananmen activists, “the civilised world must shun China”.

Simon Clegg, chief executive of the British Olympic Association, has said he would not succumb to pressure from human rights groups or politicians over participation in what promises to be the most controversial Games since the US boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

However, this view that sport and politics don’t mix defies the Olympic Charter itself. Article 1 says it “seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles”, surely the most universal of which is the UN Human Rights Charter.

It was the IOC itself which decided to exclude South Africa from the Games in 1964 as part of a world-wide campaign against apartheid. So I make no apology for urging our Prime Minister to begin a debate across the EU about a possible boycott of the Beijing Games. The EU’s foreign policy claims to be the promotion of human rights and democracy.

Gordon Brown, with the help of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and with all-party support at home, has shown a new foreign policy activism by making the genocide in Darfur his first priority. It is Chinese support for the murderous Sudanese government which has led Mia Farrow to call the Beijing Games the “Genocide Olympics”.

But there is still genocide inside China. Hundreds of thousands are in “administrative detention”. The world’s biggest country is becoming explosive, with tensions arising from huge distortions in wealth leading to corruption, a collapsing environment and universal repression of any dissent. A leaked official report said that some 90,000 impromptu demonstrations in rural areas took place within a recent 12-month period. These were primarily against expropriation of land and corrupt officialdom.

China’s economic boom is causing massive environmental degradation. The air in Beijing is appalling. Even Jacques Rogge, president of the IOC, acknowledged that Beijing’s air pollution could force outdoor events to be abandoned.

The crackdown on religions is a brutal mistake from the regime’s standpoint, as it will lead, in my view, to its collapse. In any event, it is of fundamental importance in the coming period. Recently, Beijing has modified its policy by promoting a “patriotic” or authorised Buddhism.

This is possibly in recognition of the role of religions in bringing down the Soviet Union – Catholics in Poland and Protestants elsewhere across Eastern Europe who had simply had enough. Faith cannot be killed.

The Vatican has until now accepted the appointment of its senior clerics by the Communist Party of China but is becoming restive; several million Catholics secretly appoint their own bishops. Underground Anglican churches, too, abound. Muslims have been shot for “separatism” and those with passports have had them removed this year, to prevent them from making the Haj.

Patient and proud, Tibetans have suffered humiliation since Chinese troops occupied their lovely country in 1951. Beijing rules with a heavy hand, enforcing strict controls on religious activity. It routinely vilifies the 71-year-old Dalai Lama, and imprisoned his chosen successor, the “soul boy”. Beijing has recently sacked hundreds of Tibetan officials and replaced them with Han loyalists.

The Falun Gong movement, a spiritual Buddhist group, has had the worst treatment after it grew in only seven years of existence to 100 million adherents. Over 3,000 Falun Gong have been tortured to death since 1999 by a regime which demands that they recant.

Survivors have told me that they are the only prisoners who get a health check. Why? One had seen his friend’s cadaver in the prison hospital with holes where body parts had been removed. China’s booming organ transplant industry – run by the People’s Liberation Army – is harvesting Falun Gong prisoners’ vital organs to order. They sell at a premium as practitioners neither drink nor smoke.

The Genocide Convention refers to any acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. Tragically, China today abounds in examples of continuing internal genocide. Let us give the regime until Christmas to put the past aside, or we must apply the Olympic spirit and shun their Games.

– Original report from YorkshirePost.co.uk : Edward McMillan-Scott: We should shun these Olympics in a land of genocide

Posted in Africa, all Hot Topic, Asia, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Catholicism, China, Darfur, Edward McMillan-Scott, Environment, Europe, Event, Falun Gong, Freedom of Belief, Freedom of Speech, Genocide, Human Rights, Journalist, Labor camp, Law, News, Organ harvesting, People, Politics, pollution, Religion, Religious, Report, Social, Speech, Sports, Tiananmen, Tibetan, UK, World | 6 Comments »

Press Release: Opening Ceremony of Global Human Rights Torch Relay on August 9

Posted by Author on August 9, 2007


Press Release, http://www.nieuwsbank.nl, 09-08-2007-

 

Olympics and Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Coexist In China

ATHENE, 2007/08/08 — Initialized by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) and supported by many organizations and individuals, the Human Rights Torch Relay will officially have its opening ceremony to light the first flame on August 9, 2007 in Athens, Greece.

More than 100 cities from 30 countries will join the torch relay after the ceremony, calling on the international communities to focus on brutal violations of human rights and the Olympics spirit by the Chinese Communist regime, in order to stop such crimes and not let the 2008 Olympic Games become “Bloody Harvest Games”.

For years, the Chinese Communist regime has been persecuting people in China, such as Christians, Catholics, Tibetans, and Falun Gong practitioners. The crimes of torture and genocide they have committed against humanity have been condemned worldwide. The 2008 Olympics were offered to Beijing for the regime to improve its crude human rights record.

However, instead of stopping its persecution, the regime has made use of the Olympics to further repress people in China, damaging the Olympic spirit of peace and human dignity.

Moreover it also supports crimes outside China, particularly the genocide in Darfur, which has been well exposed by the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and actress Ms. Mia Farrow, who consequently dubbed the 2008 Olympics the “Genocide Olympics”.

Greece, as the origin of Olympics, will receive many politicians, human rights organizations and Olympians as well as representatives of Chinese human rights defenders to attend the press conference and/or the ceremony, including:

Mr. Martins Rubenis, Mrs. Jan Becker, Olympic medal winners;

Hon. David Kilgour, former Canadian Parliament member and one author of the investigation report, which verifies ongoing organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China;

Mr. Michael Ghiolman III, Ghiolman Yachts Travel Aviation, President of Environmental – Ecological – Cultural and Development Society, whose grandfather and grandfather’s brother helped to organize the first Olympic Games in 1896;

Mrs. Melanie Fleck, Austrian Singer;

Dr. George Karahalios, prominent Mass Media Communicator & Lobbyist;

A Traditional Greek Music Band

Press conference:
King George II, 3 Vas Georgiou A’ St 105 64, Athens
Time: 12:00pm – 1:30pm, 9th August 2007

Opening Ceremony:
Syntagma Square, Athens
Time: 20:30 pm – 22:00pm 9th August 2007

Background:

The Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong in China (CIPFG) is an international non-government organization established in 2006 when the brutal crime of organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China was exposed to the public. It consists of over 300 members from four continental delegations around the world, from politicians to doctors, from lawyers to religious groups.

The European delegation is chaired by Baroness Caroline Cox, member of the House of Lords (UK).

CIPFG since its set up has been requesting the Chinese regime to stop the persecution of Falun Gong, and allow the independent investigation by the international community inside China. However no response from the regime has been received.

On May 30, 2007, CIPFG announced in Canada the statement-Olympics and Crimes Against Humanity Cannot Coexist In China.

On June 8, CIPFG wrote to the Chinese leaders Mr. Hu Jintao and Mr. Wen Jiabao, to ask them to stop the persecution by August 8, 2007, otherwise CIPFG would call for a worldwide boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

The Human Rights Torch Relay, initialized by CIPFG, has been widely joined and supported, by for example Network for Human Rights in China (Denmark), International Society for Human Rights (Germany), Doctors Against Organ Harvesting (USA), Canadian Students for Darfur, and especially large numbers of people in China who recently sent out the message to ask for “No Human Rights, No Olympics”.

Contact Greece:
Fotini Bakatsia, Tel +30-6973 579932,
Kostas Tsolis, Tel +30-6947 421621
Email: cipfg_greece@cipfg.net

Contact Holland:
W. Stuifbergen, Tel 070-3456851 fax: 010-4613979
Dhr. M. `t Hoen, Tel 06-44173026 fax: 010-4613979
Email: olympischespelen@cipfg.nl

Internet
:
www.cipfg.org
www.boycottccpolympic.org/ol/en/ol2.jsp

– Original report from http://www.nieuwsbank.nl : Global Human Rights Torch Relay

Posted in Activist, Asia, Athens, Athlete, Australia, Beijing Olympics, Boycott Beijing Olympics, Campaigns, Canada, Catholicism, Celebrity, ceremony, China, Christianity, Crime against humanity, David Kilgour, Europe, Event, Falun Gong, Genocide, Greece, Human Rights, Human Rights Torch Relay, Law, News, People, Religion, Social, Sports, Tibetan, World | Comments Off on Press Release: Opening Ceremony of Global Human Rights Torch Relay on August 9

China Arrests 4 Underground Catholic Priests

Posted by Author on July 29, 2007


Press Release, Cardinal Kung Foundation, July 28, 2007-

Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A.  —  In the afternoon of July 24, 2007, at the home of a Catholic faithful in the Ximeng (錫盟) region of Inner Mongolia (內蒙古), three underground Roman Catholic priests from Xiwanzi (西灣子), Hebei (河北), were arrested by eight civilian-clothed policemen, because they refused to join the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and because they are loyal and obedient to Pope Benedict.

They were hiding in Inner Mongolia in order to avoid the arrests, but they were finally hunted down by the Security Police.

The names of these three priests are:

Father LIANG Aijun (梁愛軍), 35 years old, Chong Li county (崇禮縣), Hebei (河北).

Father WANG Zhong (王忠), 41 years old, Gu Yuan county (沽源縣), Hebei (河北).

Father GAO Jinbao (高金寶), 34 years old, Shang Yi county, Hebei (河北).

During the initial phase of the arrest, the priests were locked up in an iron cage. They were not allowed to talk to anyone. Water brought to them was refused by the police. They have now all been transferred to an undisclosed location.

In addition, a fourth priest, Father CUI Tai (崔太) of Shuangshu Village (雙樹村), Zhuolu County (琢鹿縣), 50 years old, was involved in a minor motorcycle accident in early July, 2007. After the accident was resolved, the authority transferred him to the public security and religious bureau. He has been detained in the Zhuolu County detention cell ever since.

Father CUI has also refused to register with the Patriotic Association. He belongs to the diocese of Xuanhua (宣化教區), Hebei.

Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: “In his China letter published about a month ago on June 30, Pope Benedict, apparently referring to the Patriotic Association, said: ‘the proposal for a Church that is ‘independent’ of the Holy See, in the religious sphere, is incompatible with Catholic doctrine.’ The Pope continued to say: ‘Many bishops have undergone persecution…..lay faithful….even paying a personal price for their faithfulness to Christ.’ The Pope also assured the Chinese government that Catholics can also be “good citizens” and respectfully asked the Chinese government to guarantee them ‘authentic religious freedom.'”

“Let us not forget that there are, as far as we know, still five bishops in jail; many other bishops are under house arrests and severe surveillance; and approximately 15 priests and some Catholic lay persons – an unknown number of them – are also in jail. While we need to ‘love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us,’ as Pope Benedict told us in his China letter, we also need to awaken the world to the ongoing persecution of the Roman Catholic Church in China. The freedom-loving and powerful countries of the world should take into greater consideration – consistently, and persistently, and not haphazardly – all human rights violations in China when forming and implementing their political and commercial decisions in relation to China.”

“In the meantime, we urge the Chinese government to take steps immediately to stop all persecution throughout China and release all Roman Catholic bishops and clergy together with those faithful of other faith from prisons as a goodwill gesture to Pope Benedict and to restore the world confidence in its leadership.”

– Press release from  CardinalKungFoundation.org : Four underground priests are arrested

Posted in Asia, Catholicism, China, Freedom of Belief, Hebei, Human Rights, Inner Mongolia, Law, News, North China, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, World | Comments Off on China Arrests 4 Underground Catholic Priests

China ‘rejects Vatican call on bishops’

Posted by Author on July 26, 2007


Reuters, via The Age, Australia, July 26, 2007-

China rejects the Vatican’s demand that it stop appointing bishops without papal approval but is willing to talk, a state newspaper said on Thursday, adding to uncertainty over Beijing’s next bishop.

China’s 12 million Catholics are split between an “above-ground” Church approved by the ruling Communist Party and an “underground” Church that rejects government ties and says it answers only to Rome.

On June 30, Pope Benedict issued a letter on China’s Catholics that urged reconciliation. But he said the Vatican must have the power to choose bishops, possibly with government consultation – a claim China has rejected as interference.

The death in April of Beijing bishop Fu Tieshan, who did not have Rome’s blessing, opened a vacancy in China’s most prominent diocese and has created a test for relations cut since 1951.

Uncertainty remains whether Fu’s probable successor, Father Li Shan, who was nominated by city clergy and laity earlier this month, will ask, or be allowed, to seek Vatican approval. (…… more details from The Age)

Posted in Asia, Catholicism, China, Europe, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, World | Comments Off on China ‘rejects Vatican call on bishops’

China state-controlled church nominates bishop, threatening Vatican rift

Posted by Author on July 18, 2007


By Chris Buckley, Reuters, Wed Jul 18, 2007-

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s state-controlled Catholic church has quietly nominated a new bishop for Beijing and the priest chosen said the government would decide whether to seek approval from Rome as Pope Benedict demanded.

The nomination of Father Li Shan, apparently so far without Vatican blessing, could widen the rift between Rome and Beijing weeks after the Pope issued a letter calling for a unified Chinese church free of state interference.

China’s 8 to 12 million Catholics are split between an “above-ground” church approved by the ruling Communist Party and an “underground” church that rejects government ties and says it answers only to Rome.

The state-approved church widely honors the Pope as a spiritual figurehead, but the government restricts formal contacts with Rome, which has not had diplomatic ties with Beijing since 1951.

On June 30, Pope Benedict issued a letter on the Chinese church that urged reconciliation. But he said the Vatican must be allowed to pick bishops, possibly with some government consultation — a claim China has rejected as interference in its domestic affairs.

The death in April of Beijing bishop Fu Tieshan, who did not have Rome’s blessing, opened a vacancy in China’s most prominent diocese and presented a test for China-Vatican relations.

Some church people have hoped that in the wake of the Pope’s letter, China will make a gesture of goodwill by giving Rome some say in naming Fu’s successor.

But the elevation of Li, who said he had not been in contact with the Vatican, may inflame tensions if he is appointed without papal blessing. ( …… more details from Reuters’ report)

Posted in Asia, Catholicism, China, Law, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, World | Comments Off on China state-controlled church nominates bishop, threatening Vatican rift

Pope: China’s official nominee of bishop “illegitimate”

Posted by Author on June 30, 2007


AFP Via Yahoo News, Sat Jun 30, 2007-

VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI pressed China on Saturday to respect religious freedom and the Vatican’s right to appoint its own bishops, dismissing Beijing’s nominees as “illegitimate.”

In a strongly-worded letter addressed to an estimated 10 million Chinese Catholics loyal to Rome, the pontiff called on the communist regime to respect their “authentic religious freedom” and warned that China’s official church was “incompatible with Catholic doctrine.”

Benedict also insisted on the freedom to appoint bishops loyal only to Rome, adding that bishops of the rival state-sponsored church “cannot be recognised” by the Holy See.

China immediately rebuffed the appeal, urging the Vatican to refrain from creating new barriers to the improvement of relations.

Beijing “hopes the Vatican can take a realistic attitude and not create new obstacles,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang in a statement.

Benedict said he realised that normalising relations with China — one of the priorities of his pontificate — required time and goodwill from both sides.

“For its part, the Holy See remains open to negotiations, so necessary if the difficulties of the present time are to be overcome.”

But the foreign ministry statement reiterated China’s long-standing conditions for the normalisation of relations — the Vatican must break off ties with Taiwan, which China claims as part of its territory, and surrender the authority to appoint members of the clergy.

The Vatican “should not interfere in the affairs of China in the name of Catholicism,” said the text.

In the much-anticipated letter published Saturday, the German pope sought to reassure Beijing by saying the Roman Catholic Church “does not have a mission to change the structure or administration of the state.”

It asked its followers in China to be good and respectful citizens and “active contributors to the common good in their country”.

“But it is likewise clear that she asks the state to guarantee to those same Catholic citizens the full exercise of their faith, with respect for authentic religious freedom,” he said.

Beijing and the Vatican have repeatedly clashed over the appointments of bishops ever since China severed ties with the Holy See in 1951, setting up its own Catholic church administered by the atheist communist government.

The official Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which has five million members, has existed alongside a so-called underground, or illegal, church which counts some 10 million faithful who remain loyal to Rome.

“Communion and unity — let me repeat — are essential and integral elements of the Catholic Church: therefore the proposal for a Church that is ‘independent’ of the Holy See, in the religious sphere, is incompatible with Catholic doctrine,” Benedict protested.

“In the light of the principles expounded above, the present College of Catholic Bishops of China cannot be recognized as an Episcopal Conference by the Apostolic See.

“The ‘clandestine’ bishops, those not recognised by the government but in communion with the pope, are not part of it; it includes bishops who are still illegitimate, and it is governed by elements incompatible with Catholic doctrine.”

“The Holy See would require to be completely free to appoint bishops, therefore considering the recent particular developments of the Church in China, I trust that an accord can be reached with the government so as to resolve certain questions regarding the choice of candidates for the episcopate.”

The Vatican announced on January 20 that it wanted to normalise relations at various levels with China.

Catholic media reported earlier this week that bishops serving China’s official church had been summoned to Beijing to discuss the letter on Thursday and Friday.

An unnamed bishop from northern China said that he had been told church leaders would discuss “how to receive” the letter.

The communist state had already warned in advance of the letter that it was not prepared to waver from well-established policy.

“China will stick to the two principles to improve and develop our relations with the Vatican. Our position has not changed,” said ministry spokesman Qin Gang, referring to the demand that the Vatican cut ties with Taiwan and not use religion to interfere in Beijing’s internal affairs.

– original report from Yahoo News : Pope confronts China over religious freedom, bishops

Posted in Asia, Catholicism, China, Human Rights, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, Speech, Spiritual, World | 1 Comment »

100-year Old Catholic Sanctuary Ordered to be Destroied in China

Posted by Author on June 22, 2007


chinaaid.org, Jun 21 2007-

A decree defines the sanctuary and the pilgrimages which stretch back over a hundred years involving over 40 thousand faithful each year as “illegal religious activity”. Catholics promise to resist this violation of their right. Perhaps the sanctuary grounds are wanted for the construction of hotels and villas.

Rome (AsiaNews) – Next June 16th pilgrims and faithful from Henan will not be allowed to go on pilgrimage to the sanctuary in Tianjiajing. The government from the province of Henan has in fact decreed that the historic sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel will be blown up with dynamite; a complete ban on Catholics organizing their annual pilgrimage; a complete ban on any religious gathering or function being celebrated in the area. A statue of the Virgin, over one hundred years old, is destined to be destroyed along with 14 stations of The Way of the Cross which punctuate the entrance to the shrine.

The sanctuary of Our Lady of Mount Carmel lies in Tianjiajing (Linxian district), in the diocese of Anyang, in the reaches of a mountain which dominates majestic scenery. It was ordered built by PIME missionary Msgr. Stefano Scarsella, then apostolic vicar to northern Henan, to thank the Virgin for preserving them from the dangers of the Boxers persecution in 1900. The shrine was built in1903-1905.

The elegantly styled neo-roman Church was almost completely destroyed first by the Japanese in the Second World War, then by the Red Guard in the 60’s. Since 1979, the faithful returned to celebrating their faith with solemn liturgies and pilgrimages, travelling many kilometres on foot to the sanctuary ruins and representation of the Lourdes Grotto, where still today the original Marian statue can be seen.

According to AsiaNews sources, May 12th last, on the feast of Our Lady of China, the diocese of Anyang distributed leaflets on the upcoming annual pilgrimage to Tianjiajing on July 16th feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Usually the pilgrimage gathers 45-50 thousand people. Since then the Department for Religious Affairs has kept strict surveillance of all priests, forcing them to hold “discussions” to convince them not to go ahead with the pilgrimage.

May 11th last the secretary general of Henan province gave a personal order to cancel the pilgrimage and spread the order to the neighbouring provinces of Hebei and Shanxi.

To occupy the site and prevent any form of sit-in, the provincial government began holding military exercises in the area of the shrine on May 12, mobilizing over 700 soldiers.

Still today all roads leading to the sanctuary are closed. All cars and pedestrians who pass by are stopped and searched.

The provincial governor’s decision has shocked the faithful of the diocese because just this year they began rebuilding the sanctuary, offering money and hours of work, repairing the road and the stations of the Way of the Cross which lie along it.

In answer on May 14th the government of Anyang city revoked the sanctuary’s permit and the permit for the pilgrimage, defining them as “illegal religious activity” and May 16th he issued a resolution which denies access to the land to Anyang Church, requisitioning the sanctuary site.

“It’s unbelievable that they have done this “, one faithful tells AsiaNews. “These local communist leaders don’t even know the central governments laws governing religious polices, they only create useless and dangerous tension”. “We will never give in “says another faithful. “We are not afraid and we will defend our legitimate rights to the very end”.

In the meantime, since the end of May a “working group” from the local government has installed itself in Tianjiajing.

According to some suppositions, the local government move requisitioning the lands and abolishing the pilgrimage is due to the geographical position of the Church, on the summit, above a valley ideal for the building of a hotel or perhaps country villa of some Party member.

Faithful from the diocese of Anyang have launched an appeal through AsiaNews: “We ask all our brothers and sisters in the Lord – they say – to pray for us and spread our message to all the faithful of the world”.

– report from China Aid : Henan government: destroy the sanctuary of Our Lady of Carmel in Tianjiajing

Related:
73-year-old Underground Bishop Arrested 10th Time in China, The Cardinal Kung Foundation, June 6, 2007

Posted in Asia, Catholicism, Central China, China, Culture, Freedom of Belief, Henan, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social | 43 Comments »

73-year-old Underground Bishop Arrested 10th Time in China

Posted by Author on June 7, 2007


Press Release, The Cardinal Kung Foundation, June 6, 2007-

Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Bishop Jia Zhiguo (賈治國), the underground Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Zheng Ding (正定) in Hebei (河北) Province, was arrested again by the public security bureau at approximately 9:30 in the morning (Beijing time) on June 5, 2007. We do not know why the bishop was taken away, nor do we know where he is. As of this press time, which is approximately 12:30 midnight Beijing time 15 hours after his arrest, he has not been released.

Unconfirmed sources have reported that, while the bishop was being taken away, in a conversation between the police and the crowd, the police were overheard to say that the bishop would be incarcerated for approximately 10 days.

Bishop Jia is 73 years old and was ordained a bishop in 1980. He was previously in jail for approximately 20 years and has been under strict surveillance for many years by the Chinese authorities. He takes care of approximately 100 handicapped orphans in his house.

As far as we know, he has been arrested ten times since January 2004.

Ever since Bishop Jia was released from police custody on September 25, 2006 after being held there for more than 10 months, his pastoral activities were more severely limited by the Chinese authorities than previously. He was not even allowed to step out of the courtyard of his residence, was not allowed to administer the “Last Rites (anointing of the sick)” for his dying parishioners, and was not allowed any visitors. When his uncle, an elderly priest, fell and was severely injured, after numerous requests, the bishop was allowed to briefly visit him only once under strict surveillance of the police.

Joseph Kung, the President of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: “I once again urgently call on the Olympic Committee to take note of this arrest of Bishop Jia together with other serious violations of the human rights in China and urge the Committee to cancel the 2008 Olympic Games in China because it is so obvious and transparent that these violations of the human rights in China, as exemplified by the repeated arrest of this peaceful religious prelate, are not in conformity with the principle, spirit and good name of the Olympics.”

original report

More stories:
In China “No religious freedom for Catholics” : Cardinal

Posted in Beijing Olympics, Catholicism, China, Hebei, Human Rights, Law, News, North China, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social | 1 Comment »

43 Categories of Thousands Will be Barred From 2008 Beijing Olympics

Posted by Author on June 2, 2007


Falun Dafa Information Center, 5/30/2007-

NEW YORK, NY – In what may be its most audacious Olympic act yet, China’s Ministry of Public Security has issued an incredible directive that lists 43 categories of unwanteds who are to be investigated and barred from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Falun Dafa Information Center has learned. Pariah groups include:

– eerily vague “key individuals in ideological fields”
– “overseas hostile forces”
– “counter-revolutionary” figures
– the Dalai Lama and all affiliates
– members of “religious entities not sanctioned by the state” (e.g. Roman Catholics)
– “individuals who instigate discontentment toward the Chinese Communist Party through the Internet,”
– and even certain types of “handicapped” persons.

Members of the Falun Gong would be barred, as would “family members of deceased persons” killed in “riots” — a euphemism for events such as the Tiananmen Massacre — and Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province, which the regime brands “national separatists.” Only at the very bottom of the directive does it identify “violent terrorists” and members of “illegal organizations” as targets for investigation and possible barring.

To be investigated are participating athletes, members of the media, Olympic staff members, referees, sponsors, dignitaries, and the International Olympic Committee itself, among others, to determine whether they fall into any of the 43 categories.

If carried out, the directive would amount to an espionage effort of astounding proportions, and would fly in the face of international law.

The Ministry’s directive, said to have been issued in April and titled “Notification on Strictly Carrying Out Background Investigations on Candidates for the Olympics and Performing a Pre-Selection Screening” has reportedly been circulated to each Chinese province and autonomous region as well as to all police stations and bureaus in municipalities directly under the Central Government. The Information Center is making available the relevant excerpt of the original document (Chinese) as well as a translation (English).

The directive also calls upon all levels of China’s regime to “cooperate,” but adds that it is “vital to keep this directive and all associated activities secret… it is of utmost importance to give the look of an easygoing environment to the outside, but in fact keep a firm handle on all activities.”

“To see China’s rulers abusing their Olympic privileges like this is simply unconscionable,” said Mr. Erping Zhang, Information Center spokesperson. “The regime appears to have gone so far beyond international norms as to risk absurdity, and is clearly bent on hiding this fact. This means that a shockingly large number of people could not participate in, work at, sponsor, or report on the Olympics. You might even have your phone tapped although you live in London, or you might be spied on in Florida, simply on account of your possible political or religious beliefs.”

“The CCP is making a mockery of the Olympic spirit,” Zhang said.

The directive is yet further evidence that China’s rulers are capitalizing on the Olympics to quash dissent, particularly the Falun Gong. A Feb. 21, 2001, Reuters report revealed that the campaign against Falun Gong had escalated as China entered the final stages of bidding for the 2008 Olympics. The report cited the state-run Xinhua propaganda outlet as saying the government had given “citations” to 110 organizations and 271 individuals “for anti-Falun Gong work” and to “wipe out” Falun Gong.

A July 17, 2001, report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, meanwhile, disclosed that after Beijing landed the 2008 Olympics, China’s then Vice Premier declared that winning the Olympics was “justification for the country’s crackdown on the Falun Gong.”

In 2005, an intelligence journal, Intelligence Online, revealed that China’s deputy public security minister, Liu Jing, had been assigned the responsibility of wiping out Falun Gong before the Games. A directive was issued “demanding that all of the country’s security services lend a hand” in the effort. Notably, investigators were to be appointed even to Chinese embassies around the world to “infiltrate” Falun Gong groups there. This would appear to anticipate the new, April directive dictating massive international espionage.

A growing body of voices has been calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics in light of the regime’s human rights abuses. Many point in particular to the regime’s complicity in Sudan, where it has blocked U.N. and other efforts to stem the tide of genocide, with the regime itself being known to supply arms to the Sudanese government. Some China watchers have likened Beijing’s Olympic efforts to those of Nazi Germany in connection with the 1936 Berlin Olympics — referred to by many as the Nazi Olympics. Historians have said of the ’36 Games that “the regime exploited the Games to bedazzle many foreign spectators and journalists with an image of a peaceful, tolerant Germany.” (link)

“China’s regime is using the Olympics to legitimize its oppression,” said Zhang. “Is China’s communist dictatorship to decide who gets a share of human rights come Olympics time? Or are the games to just be one big propaganda stunt?”

The Falun Dafa Information Center is calling upon the International Olympic Committee to vigorously investigate the above, and take firm, principled action to uphold the Olympic Charter and the human rights it enshrines.

– original report from Falun Dafa Information Center: China’s Ministry of Public Security Issues Secret Directive to Investigate and Bar Thousands Worldwide from Olympics

Posted in Activist, Beijing, Beijing Olympics, Catholicism, China, Christianity, Dissident, Falun Gong, Human Rights, Law, News, NW China, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, Sports, SW China, Tibet, Tibetan, World, Xinjiang | Comments Off on 43 Categories of Thousands Will be Barred From 2008 Beijing Olympics

In China “No religious freedom for Catholics” : Cardinal

Posted by Author on May 29, 2007


By JEFF GRAHAM, The B.C. Catholic, Canada, May 28, 2007-

“Are you being called to Rome?” That was the first question Archbishop Raymond Roussin, SM, bluntly asked Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, a Salesian, on meeting him in Vancouver. The Hong Kong bishop’s reply was equally candid, “Some people may be afraid that I’ll be called to Rome.”

Known as an outspoken critic of communism, a tireless supporter of human rights, and for being staunchly loyal to the magisterium of the Church, Cardinal Zen, now in his mid-70s, has gained a reputation as a man who won’t be bullied by those in authority in the Chinese government.

Put simply, Cardinal Zen wants freedom in China, and he’s let the Chinese government know it.

Cardinal Zen was in Vancouver to visit friends while on vacation, but took time to speak with The B.C. Catholic about religious freedom and the state of the Church in Hong Kong and the rest of mainland China.

“In China there is no religious freedom for Catholics. People who travel there have the impression that there is perfect freedom, because they see many churches open, but still there is no freedom, because the Church cannot function as it should according to the divine constitution.”

The situation with the Church in China is confusing at best, and downright chaotic at worst. In a nutshell, the Church operates on two different levels, with a state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association operating openly, but closely monitored by the Chinese government. On the other level is the underground Church, not sanctioned by the Chinese government, which is loyal to the Vatican and faces substantial opposition from the government.

“Some people refuse to have an independent Church (from the Vatican), and so they go underground. Some people are in the open Church, which appears to be independent (from the Vatican), but the vast majority in that Church do not want to be independent.

Cardinal taught Father Lou in Chinese seminary

“Most want to be united with the whole universal Church, but then they are checked some way in that situation by the Chinese government. Although the great majority of the bishops are in communion with the Holy See, they cannot enjoy full freedom and communicate openly with the Holy See.”

The most high-profile case of the Patriotic Association meddling in Church affairs in recent history was a series of three illicit ordinations of Chinese bishops last November. Cardinal Zen believes the Chinese government may have blackmailed those involved in the ordinations. He pointed out that the ordinations were a setback to what had been otherwise promising progress made by the Vatican in China.

“Unfortunately there are forces who are trying to disrupt this initial rapprochement. After the death of Pope John Paul II there was some communicating between the Holy See and Beijing, but then there are some people who enjoy power and advantages now in this abnormal situation, so they don’t want to change it, and so they forced the bishops to perform the three illicit ordinations, which is very sad, because it is very serious. I hope the higher leaders in the nation realize that this is very damaging.”

Fortunately for Cardinal Zen, he enjoys significant freedom as Bishop of Hong Kong. After Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule from being a British Colony, many of the existing Church relations remained the same, meaning that Cardinal Zen and the rest of the faithful in the Hong Kong diocese are able to communicate openly and freely with the Vatican and speak against government policies when necessary. ( …… more details from The B.C. Catholic)

Posted in Canada, Catholicism, China, Hong kong, Human Rights, Law, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Social, Speech, World | Comments Off on In China “No religious freedom for Catholics” : Cardinal

Amnesty International Report 2007 – China (2)

Posted by Author on May 24, 2007


Amnesty International, May 23, 2007-

(… cont’d)

Discrimination against rural migrants

Rural migrant workers in China’s cities faced wide-ranging discrimination. Despite official commitment to resolve the problem, millions of migrant workers were still owed back pay. The vast majority were excluded from urban health insurance schemes and could not afford private health care. Access to public education remained tenuous for millions of migrant children, in contrast to other urban residents. An estimated

20 million migrant children were unable to live with their parents in the cities in part because of insecure schooling.

• Beijing municipal authorities closed dozens of migrant schools in September, affecting thousands of migrant children. While authorities claimed to have targeted unregistered and sub-standard schools, onerous demands made it nearly impossible for migrant schools to be registered. Some school staff believed the closures were aimed at reducing the migrant population in Beijing ahead of the 2008 Olympics.

Violence and discrimination against women

Violence and discrimination against women remained severe. The disadvantaged economic and social status of women and girls was evident in employment, health care and education. Women were laid off in larger numbers than men from failing state enterprises. Women accounted for 60 per cent of rural labourers and had fewer non-agricultural opportunities than men. The absence of gender-sensitive anti-HIV/AIDS policies contributed to a significant rise in female HIV/AIDS cases in 2006. Only 43 per cent of girls in rural areas completed education above lower middle school, compared with 61 per cent of boys.

Despite strengthened laws and government efforts to combat human trafficking, it remained pervasive, with an estimated 90 per cent of cases being women and children trafficked for sexual exploitation.

• Chen Guangcheng, a blind, self-trained lawyer, was sentenced in August to a prison term of four years and three months on charges of “damaging public property and gathering people to stop traffic”. He had been arbitrarily confined to his home since September 2005 in connection with his advocacy on behalf of women undergoing forced abortions in Shandong Province. On appeal, the guilty verdict was overturned and the case sent back to the lower court for retrial, but the lower court upheld the original sentence.

Repression of spiritual and religious groups

The government continued to crack down on religious observance outside officially sanctioned channels. Thousands of members of underground protestant “house churches” and unofficial Catholic churches were detained, many of whom were ill-treated or tortured in detention. Members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement were detained and assigned to administrative detention for their beliefs, and continued to be at high risk of torture or ill-treatment.

• Bu Dongwei, a Falun Gong practitioner, was assigned to two and a half years’ Re-education through Labour in June for “activities relating to a banned organization” after police discovered Falun Gong literature at his home. He had been working for a US aid organization when he was detained.

• Pastor Zhang Rongliang, an underground church leader who had been repeatedly detained and imprisoned since 1976, was sentenced in June to seven and a half years’ imprisonment on charges of illegally crossing the border and fraudulently obtaining a passport. (to be cont’d…)

Page 1 2 3 4

original from Amnesty International

Posted in Activist, AIDS, Catholicism, Chen Guangcheng, Children, China, Christianity, Falun Gong, Health, Human Rights, Law, Lawyer, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, Rural, Social, Women | Comments Off on Amnesty International Report 2007 – China (2)

Hong Kong Cardinal Accuses China of ‘acts of war’ Against Catholics

Posted by Author on February 10, 2007


BBC News, Friday, 9 February 2007-

The head of Hong Kong’s Roman Catholic Church has urged the Vatican to end its search for a compromise with Beijing.

Cardinal Joseph Zen told the BBC the ordinations last year of three bishops without Vatican approval were “illegitimate” and “acts of war”.

Beijing’s refusal to recognise the Vatican’s authority has overturned two decades of compromise efforts, he said as he returned from a trip to Rome.

Pope Benedict XVI is due to make his position clear in the coming months.

China refuses to recognise the Vatican’s authority over Chinese Catholics.

But until the three ordinations in 2006 bishops were chosen after unofficial consultations with Rome.

There are about four million Catholics in state churches with millions more in organisations loyal to Rome.

Outspoken

Returning from his latest trip to the Vatican, the cardinal said China was waging an undeclared war against Catholics.

“These three illegitimate ordinations… are acts of war against the church,” he said.

“So how can you say that we opt for confrontation? They are waging a war, they want to destroy the church.”

The cardinal has been a long-time defender of human rights and religious freedom.

But he did not say if his own strong views would be reflected in the letter expected from the Pope by early April.

The letter was promised after a Vatican meeting held in late January which Cardinal Zen attended.

He has previously said he has offered to resign from his position to help the Vatican establish ties with China.

———-
original report from BBC News, HK cardinal hits out at Beijing 

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Survey Finds 300 Million China Religious Believers

Posted by Author on February 8, 2007


BBC News, 7 February 2007-

The number of religious believers in China could be three times higher than official estimates, according to a survey reported by state media.

A poll of 4,500 people by Shanghai university professors found 31.4% of people above the age of 16 considered themselves as religious.

This suggests 300 million people nationwide could be religious, compared to the official figure of 100 million.

China is regularly criticised for cracking down on unauthorised worship.

Believers are only allowed to attend government-approved churches, mosques and temples.

Correspondents say the poll’s findings back up suspicions that religion has been enjoying a resurgence in China over the past 20 years, as Communist Party disapproval has eased.

But the party is still ready to deal harshly with any religious group it perceives to be a challenge to its authority – especially the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong, which was not mentioned in the reports.

Rapid change

The poll was carried out by professors at the East China Normal University in Shanghai.

Their methodology was not made clear in the state media reports, neither was it clear whether people are becoming religious, or becoming more prepared to say so.

But the official China Daily called their work the “country’s first major survey on religious beliefs”.

The survey found that Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Christianity and Islam are the country’s five major religions – China considers Catholicism as separate to Christianity, which covers Protestantism.

About 200 million believers “are Buddhists, Taoists or worshippers of legendary figures such as the Dragon King and God of Fortune”, the China Daily reported.

The survey also found a significant rise in Christianity – accounting for 12% of all believers, or 40 million, compared with the official figure of 16 million in 2005.

Professor Liu Zhongyu, who helped carry out the survey, attributed the rise in religious belief to growing freedoms in the country as well as the upheaval of rapid social and economic change.

He said the average age of religious believers had fallen, with two-thirds of those in the poll who considered themselves religious aged between 16 and 39.

“This is markedly different from the previous decade, when most religious believers were in their 40s or older,” he said in the Chinese-language Oriental Outlook magazine, which published the survey.

———-
original report from BBC News 

Posted in Buddhism, Catholicism, China, Christianity, East China, Falun Gong, Human Rights, News, People, Politics, Religion, Religious, shanghai, Social | Comments Off on Survey Finds 300 Million China Religious Believers

China: Nine Underground Priests Arrested In Hebei Province

Posted by Author on December 29, 2006


asianews.it, 12/29/2006-

Rome (AsiaNews) – Police of the northern province of Hebei arrested nine unofficial priests of the diocese of Baoding on 27 December.

The nine priests are: Fr Wen Daoxiu; Fr Li Shujun; Fr Li Yongshun; Fr.Wang Quanjun; Fr Wang Qiongwei; Fr Pang Yongxing; Fr Pang Haixing; Fr Dong Guoyin and Fr Liu Honggeng.

The group had met to study in a place around 30km south of Baoding. The reason for their arrest is unknown. It is likely that they were arrested just because they were meeting for a time of prayer during the Christmas season in a place unknown to the government.

Hebei is the region with the highest number of Catholics (1.5 million), most of them belonging to the underground Church that refuses to be subject to the control of the Patriotic Association (PA), an organization set up by the Communist Party that aims to build a church detached from Rome.

The PA has launched a campaign of arrests of bishops, priests and believers of Hebei in a bid to subdue them.

According to information of AsiaNews, at least six underground bishops of Hebei disappeared after arrest. Among them is the Ordinary of the diocese of Baoding, James Su Zhimin, 73 years, who was arrested in 1996.

The auxiliary bishop of Baoding, Mgr Francis Shuxin, was released on 24 August by the Chinese authorities after 10 years imprisonment. ( – original report )

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