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  • » 12/19/2015, 00.00


    Shandong: five Christian students expelled from university for praying in private

    The students came together in a private room at Shandong Yingcai College. Someone took their picture and reported them to the police. The provincial Department of Education has banned "religious meetings" involving "three or more students." Recently, state control over religion has increased.

    Beijing (AsiaNews) – A university in Shandong province, eastern China, expelled five Christian students "guilty" of engaging in prayer in a private room, this according to ChinaAid, an organisation that monitors the situation of Chinese Christians.

    The five students are Li Binbin, Zhang Yaqi, Chen Huiyun, Ni Wangjie and Chen Ping. A sixth student who was with them, Jia Rong, was not punished.

    A disturbing aspect of the story is that in all probability a fellow student reported the “guilty” students. Local police came to Shandong Yingcai College only after receiving a picture of the group in prayer.

    The name of the person who took the picture is unknown, but according to some sources, a young man from the Communist Youth League is probably responsible.

    From a legal standpoint, the expulsions were was based on an order issued a few weeks ago by the Shandong Provincial Department of Education.

    The latter informed colleges and universities that "religious meetings involving three or more people" had to be considered "illegal". Thus, university officials expelled the students for "activity of a religious nature."

    The news confirms a growing climate of intolerance by an increasingly heavy-handed Chinese State against all forms of religious expression.

    On several occasions in recent months, President Xi Jinping and other national Communist leaders made it clear that religion – in any form allowed by the government – had to be "sinicised” as much as possible, and in any case should be kept out of educational institutions.

    Currently, expectations are high with respect to a planned national summit on religion organised by the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA).

    The latter announced on its website that it is preparing the meeting to revise the regulations governing religious controls.

    Many Christians who spoke to AsiaNews said that they fear that darkness will fall upon the life of their communities, as they come under heavier restrictions.

    SARA Deputy Director Zhongrong Chen said that the summit will discuss "intensive" training of local religious leaders. President Xi Jinping is expected at the event.

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    See also

    27/10/2010 HONG KONG – CHINA
    New Chinese Bible between censorship and unity
    After 91 years, the Hong Kong Bible Society releases a new revised translation of the sacred text. Christians from all confessional backgrounds as well as members of mainland China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs took part in the endeavour. Government censorship shapes updating archaic terms.

    04/08/2007 CHINA - TIBET
    The Party to approve Buddha reincarnations
    The government continues to interfere in religious affairs, mortgaging the future of the Dalai Lama. In Sichuan 200 Tibetans demand the release of a nomadic pastor who had asked for independence for Tibet.

    23/09/2016 09:51:00 CHINA-VATICAN
    Beijing issues new, harsh draft regulations on religious activities

    Fines of up to 200 thousand yuan (27 thousand euro) for "illegal religious activities" by Catholic or other members of underground communities. "Illegal activities" include "dependence from abroad" (such as the relationship with the Vatican). The regulations preach non-discrimination, but party members are forbidden to practice their religion, even in private. Strict control of buildings, statues, crosses. Clampdown on the internet. It could be the end of the underground community.

    26/10/2006 CHINA
    Many wounded in four days of clashes between 10,000 students and police in Jiangxi
    Nanchang authorities call in paramilitary police to stop student protests caused by government crackdown on private college degrees. Five people are arrested.

    07/06/2005 CHINA
    Streets are closed and radios only whisper . . . it must be exam time in China
    A four-day exam marathon begins today in China that will decide the fate of eight million students. In some places, traffic has been stopped; in others, students take oxygen supplements to manage stress.

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