» 06/15/2004, 00.00
An ancient church becomes home to two Protestant communities.
Shanghai (AsiaNews) The 135-year old Holy Trinity church will be re-opened soon. For many years authorities have used it as a facility for government offices and as a movie theater. The agency Xinhua spread the news emphasizing how Chinese authorities grant religious freedom in the country. Before the end of the year the "red church" named after the color of the bricks will become home to two official Protestant communities. These are the National Committee of Three-Self (Self-administration, Self-supporting, Self-propagation) Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China, and the China Christian Council.
According to Ding Guangxun, chairman of the two committees, this is another act of the government finalised to favour religious freedom in the country. In truth, some analysts affirm that the re-opening of the church is just a move made by the government in order to control Christian activities. As a matter of fact, Beijing authorities are not comfortable with the increasing number of unofficial communities. Jia Qinglin, president of CPPCC, recently invited the Party to play a more active role in matter of religions. "The Party's committees should organise better their activity by instructing more officers about the religious situation in the country, so that they could help to solve the problems". According to Jia Qinglin, "central authorities should respect people's beliefs and instruct them to accept the leadership of the Party, to support socialism, and to help preserving the prosperity and unity of China". Holy Trinity is the biggest church built in China by the English. It was originally built in 1847, but it was demolished after a short time as people believed the church was a source of "bad luck". The present church was built in 1869.
The re-opening of the church, as well as the official acknowledgment of two Protestant communities, serve to mitigate the persecution against some unregistered Evangelical leaders. Zhao Wenquan, activist of the independent Church of China, was held in prison for three weeks in May. He was charged with "disturbance of the social order" and with "organisation of illegal religious activities". On February 6th, Chen Jingmao leader of the church of Southern China was beaten up by prison guards who broke his legs. He was guilty of converting 50 detainees. Since 2001 Gong Shengliang has been held captive with the charge of practicing "evil cults" and of raping some girls of his community. These girls would have "admitted" the accusations were true after being tortured by the police. According to Shangai government Commission for ethnic and religious matters, there are more than 10 million Christians in the country. The unofficial statistics are very different. According to some Protestant organisations, in China there are 80 million Christians.
Underground Protestant clergyman on trial
His trial is set to start tomorrow. The clergyman is accused of "illegal business practices" because he kept Bibles in a cache with the intention of giving them free to the faithful.
Underground Church priest arrested
He had already been sentenced to three years in a labour camp.
More than 10,000 faithful attend the funeral of Mgr Xie, underground Bishop of Mingdong
More than 100 independent Protestant church members arrested
Convert inmates and prison guards will break your legs
Papal letter for the 100th anniversary of Maximum Illud on the activity of missionaries in the world
Pope Francis plans an Extraordinary Missionary Month for October 2019 to awaken the commitment of the missio ad gentes and transform ordinary pastoral outreach along missionary lines. The goal is to move away from tiredness, formalism and self-preservation. From Benedict XV's missio ad gentes to Vatican II, from Pope John Paul II to Evangelical Gaudium, this is the Church’s “essential task”,
CHINA - VATICAN
Wang Zuoan: Pope Francis is sincere, but he has to submit to two conditions
In an interview with Commercial Radio, the director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs reiterated the urgency of cutting relations with Taiwan and not interfere in China's domestic affairs, including religion. Fang Xinyao and Ma Yinglin, two bishops present at the party congress, heap praise on Xi Jinping's speech. Others warn against “fake pastors but real slaves”. An underground Catholic expresses his fears.
19/10/2017 CHINA - VATICAN
21/10/2017 CHINA - VATICAN
17/10/2017 NORTH KOREA - EU
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.