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  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

    » 08/04/2014, 00.00


    Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang

    Eugenia Zhang

    For Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

    Wenzhou (AsiaNews) - Bishop Zhu Weifang of Wenzhou (Zhejiang) and his priests in the open Church side have openly denounced the Zhejiang government's brutal acts of forced demolitions of churches and stripping off crosses from Catholic and Protestant churches in the province.

    Bishop Zhu, who has papal mandate and works openly, issued a pastoral letter on July 30 calling his faithful "not to fear but have faith". On the following day, July 31, his priests urged the Zhejiang provincial government to stop the campaign of forcibly knocking knock down crosses on church roofs.

    The wave of destructions of churches and crosses in Zhejiang province, especially against Christian Churches in Wenzhou, has been going on for months. Protestants and Catholics were injured while fending off police to tear down churches and crosses.

    After Bishop Zhu issued the pastoral letter, local Catholics were dissatisfied with Bishop Zhu, 87, for reacting slowly on this matter.

    Bishop Zhu, in his pastoral letter, admitted that "he was not in time to console, encourage and strengthen their faith", felt sorry and asked his priests and faithful for forgiveness.

    He said the campaign surprised him and made him feel perplexed. He said he was quiet because he thought the campaign would soon be over. This policy of demolition of churches was "wrong and unjust" because even "buildings without violations" were destroyed. He noted that the policy "targets crosses on church-roofs, a sign of Christian faith." This intensified the tension between the Church and the government and caused bloodsheds, he noted. This upsets the religion-state harmony and arouses social instability. The campaign seems to be intensified, he noted.

    Bishop Zhu urged his flock to pray for the plight of the diocese, by offering a rosary each day and a prayer of the Way of the Cross every Friday. Prayers in groups are encouraged for parishes that suffered severely. "We pray that those who persecute us will change," he said.

    In the priests' petition on July 31, they strongly urged the Zhejiang government to stop the demolition campaign. They admitted some churches exceeded their approved limits, but insisted the construction procedures were in accord with the law. They questioned which law or regulation states that it is illegal to put up a cross on the church roof; which regulation states that only one cross on one church is allowed in an designated area.

    Since the construction costs of churches came from donations by the local Catholics, the faithful have lost confidence in the government, the petition said.

    The Wenzhou priests strongly urged the Zhejiang government to "respect the Catholic Church, respect our sacred and inviolable crosses, and respect Catholics' religious sentiments."

    They also asked the authorities to stop the whole campaign of demolitions of churches and crosses. "Do not destroy democracy, harmony and social stability. Do not let your stupid acts be teased in history," they warned.

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    See also

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    An estimated 20,000 people were baptised on Easter night. Just outside Shanghai, 27 baptised people join a community of 100. Rampant materialism and individualism drive people to convert. Underground communities celebrated Easter without songs and in small groups.

    30/07/2015 CHINA
    Unofficial catholic community of Wenzhou speak out against forced demolition of Crosses, whole diocese fasting
    After 90-year-old Bishop Vincent Zhu Weifang of Wenzhou led 26 priests of the open Church community to protest against the government’s act to demolish Crosses, Coadjutor Bishop James Shao Zhumin of Wenzhou also led his priests to issue an open statement “Strongly demand a halt to demolish Crosses on all churches.

    21/08/2014 CHINA
    Churches and crosses demolished: lawyers challenge Zhejiang government in defense of religious freedom
    The faithful of the Salvation Church in Pingyang (Wenzhou) were violently harassed by police and thugs in an attempt to defend the cross of their church. Lawyers say this violates the Chinese Constitution. The government of Wenzhou defends itself: only a tiny fraction of the buildings were destroyed churches. But Protestant pastors accuse it of persecution.

    29/07/2014 CHINA
    Wenzhou, more crosses torn down. Ningbo Cathedral burned
    The faithful of the Longgang Huai En church try to bar police and to save their cross, but are put aside. Some protest with banners: "Anti-graft, anti-corruption, protect religion". Instead the fire that destroyed the interior of Jiangbei cathedral, one of the oldest Catholic churches in all of China is judged accidental.

    24/06/2015 CHINA
    Zhejiang: cross taken down in Hangzhou, another set for removal in Jinhua
    The Panshi Church belongs to the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, a government-controlled Protestant organisation, and had all the permits. In a single night, police removed the cross as the members of the congregation prayed, helpless and cordoned off from the building. In 2012, when the building was inaugurated, it had received glowing reviews in the local media, as it was “delicate in shape, beautiful in design, complete in religious functions”. The decision to remove the cross is part of the ‘Three Rectifications and One Demolition’ campaign, which has already “rectified” 425 churches.

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