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  • » 05/08/2008, 00.00

    CHINA

    Government attack against Sheshan shrine bears fruit, number of pilgrims cut by half



    According to shrine figures, only 5,000 people made the pilgrimage this year. Last year at the time they were 11,000. Plainclothes policemen monitor the venue.

    Shanghai (AsiaNews/UCAN) – Tight security and the thousand and one obstacles put up by the government have successfully cut into the number of pilgrims visiting Our Lady of Sheshan Shrine near Shanghai despite it being May, a traditional time dedicated to Our Lady.

    In the first days of the month last year some 11,000 visitors had come to the Marian shrine with its church, located on top of a hill; this year they were just 5,000

    Local sources point the finger at Shanghai authorities who imposed traffic restrictions, the obligation to get police permission to carry out the pilgrimage and government pressure on Catholic dioceses to discourage visits.

    According to a Shanghai Catholic, last 30 April the authorities arranged for a free bus service to Sheshan with reserved seats to take pilgrims to the Marian shrine for Labour Day holiday (first three days of May).

    About 350 pilgrims and visitors, including 90 seminarians and more than a dozen nuns, attended the liturgy in the square outside the Church of Our Lady, Help of Christians.

    More than 100 mostly plainclothes police were present.

    On 1 May more than a thousand people attended a Marian procession and a Mass celebrated by Shanghai’s Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Xing Wenzhi.

    He told participants to pray not only for their own intentions, but also for peace in the country, the victims of a recent train accident in Shandong province, the schoolchildren who suffered from food poisoning in Anhui province in April, and the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

    Bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian, 92, was also present and in apparent good health.

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    See also

    19/05/2009 VATICAN – CHINA
    Prayer in Naples for the Church in China as Chinese Catholics face difficulties in Sheshan
    The day of prayer dedicated by Benedict XVI is in its second year. At least 400 Chinese Catholics in Italy are expected to take part in a Mass presided by Naples archbishop, Cardinal Sepe. Again this year Chinese authorities are trying to contain participation by Catholics, official or underground, to the pilgrimage to Our Lady of Sheshan.

    28/04/2005 CHINA - VATICAN
    Seven Catholic priests arrested in Hebei
    They were to go on retreat. Their bishop, Msgr Julius Jia Zhiguo, had been under surveillance from John Paul II's death through to the election of Benedict XVI.

    14/07/2009 CHINA - VATICAN
    Cardinal Zen: The Church in China two years after the Pope's Letter
    Misinterpretations of the Letter have led to confusion and distress in the underground community. The official bishops must have more courage in their faithfulness to the pope, refusing structures that are contrary to the Catholic faith. The Chinese government continues its usual policy: total control of the Church.

    07/12/2010 CHINA – VATICAN
    Chinese bishops deported to attend Patriotic Assembly
    The gathering, incompatible with the faith of Catholics, aims to elect the Presidents of the Patriotic Association and the Council of Bishops. Some bishops have gone into hiding to avoid having to participate, while others have been taken against their will. The bishop of Hengshui, seized and torn from the safe cover of the faithful, dragged to Beijing.

    01/09/2005 CHINA
    More than 10,000 faithful attend the funeral of Mgr Xie, underground Bishop of Mingdong




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