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» 01/31/2011
BHUTAN - NEPAL
The government of Bhutan refuses to recognize Christian mission
by Nirmala Carvalho
For Tek Nath Rizal, A Bhutanese dissident in exile, there is no formal document or declaration attesting to the news, already reported by many international news agencies. "The past teaches us that such statements are only government propaganda to fool the outside world that Bhutan accepts all religions."

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The recognition of a Christian mission in Bhutan, which was reported in recent days by several international agencies is only a verbal declaration and there is no document attesting to its veracity, Tek Nath Rizal a former royal adviser exiled in Nepal and founder of Bhutanese Freedom Movement reveals to AsiaNews.

"The past - said the dissident - teaches us that such statements are only government propaganda to fool the outside world that Bhutan accepts all religions."

In recent days, many agencies have said the government would allow Christians to register as an organization recognized by the state. The fact would make Christian worship public, and not just private and two Indian Catholic missionary orders have already announced their willingness to open a mission in Bhutan.

Rizal stresses that any subscription or recognition of a Christian organization, however, would not change the current situation of discrimination. "If the authorities want to seriously recognize Christians - the dissident notes - access should be given to the international Christian missions." The simple registration actually implies a close monitoring of activities by the State, which despite the openings in recent years, requires all, except Hindus, to practice Buddhist traditions. The dissident said that at the head of all religious organizations allowed in the country - Buddhism and Hinduism - are the Ngalons, officials directly under the king. To control the compliance of other religions to the dictates imposed by the government they have access to all information relating to community leaders, funding and places of worship. "While any Christian organization - he added - would be overseen by state officials responsible for monitoring their activities and censorship."

Since 2006, the Bhutan government has begun to promote a formal democracy, after centuries of absolute monarchy that prohibited the practice of religions other than Buddhism. The new constitution enacted in 2008 provides for freedom of faith for all Bhutanese, after reporting to the authorities. However, it is forbidden to proselytize, the publication of Bibles, the building of Christian schools and visa permits for religious missionaries. In spite of democracy, the kingdom is continuously accused of human rights violations, especially against political dissidents and ethnic minorities.


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See also
02/23/2006 BHUTAN
Almost no place for minority religions on Bhutan's national TV
by Prakash Dubey
11/30/2010 BHUTAN
Ongoing human rights violations in Bhutan, the sham happy kingdom
02/15/2006 BHUTAN
Church wants to help quake-hit population
by Prakash Dubey
08/03/2007 INDIA
Gujarat: anti-conversion law due in days
by Nirmala Carvalho
06/06/2006 BHUTAN
Bhutanese celebrate King Jigme's reign as 110,000 refugees protest
by Prakash Dubey

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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