10/20/2016, 14.22
CHINA
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Anyang Nuns and priests demonstrate in Tianjin against government plans to demolish Church building

by Wang Zhicheng

The central government recognizes the Church's right to the property, but the local government refuses to hand it over and wants to profit from speculation. An appeal to Xi Jinping to enforce the rule of law.

Tianjin (AsiaNews) -  A group pf nuns, priests and lay faithful from Anyang have staged a demonstration in Tianjing to ask for the restitution of a building owned by the diocese, which the local government wants to demolish, selling the land.

The demonstration attempt took place two days ago in front of the seat of government of the Hexi District (Tianjin), which occupies the building. But the protesters were stopped by the security personnel and some nuns were beaten.

The diocese of Anyang has a large number of buildings in Tianjin. Some of them were requisitioned during the rural reform movement of the Cultural Revolution. Under Deng Xiaoping’s reform, Beijing established that private property was to be restored to the rightful owners, unless they were being used for purely social purposes. But in this case - as is frequently the case - although the government recognized the diocese of Anyang as the owner of the building, it has failed to hand it over for their use. In addition, the district government has planned to sell the land and destroy the building which is located in the city center and is very attractive from an economic point of view.

According to some believers, this case is a sign that "the religious policy of the Party’s Central Committee is not followed by local governments".

The faithful have confidence "in Secretary Xi Jinping, [under whom] religious policies have improved, given that he pays much more attention to religious issues". In addition, "the Party’s Central Committee defends the rule of law, safeguarding the legal rights under the law." This is why they believe that "the property should be returned without undue difficulty".

According to research of the Holy Spirit Study Centre in Hong Kong, the turnover linked to the confiscated church property that has never been returned is around 130 billion yuan (13 billion euro)

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