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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/16/2014 (11 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Summit wishes to remind China that respect for belief is central to modern societies

While China has made great inroads with the creation of a new middle class and newfound economic strength, there is much room for improvement in its stance on human rights. There has been the demolition of churches in the eastern province of Zhejiang as well as the recent detentions of Christians in Beijing and Guizhou province in southwest China.

The partial or total demolition of at least half a dozen churches in Zhejiang province and a spate of detentions across China have fueled these concerns.

The partial or total demolition of at least half a dozen churches in Zhejiang province and a spate of detentions across China have fueled these concerns.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/16/2014 (11 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: China, religious persecution, freedom, summit


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - a coalition of lawyers, religious leaders and academics have told Beijing that church demolitions and the arrests of Christians stoke fears of a nationwide "anti-church" campaign. They say that China must guarantee its citizens' rights to freedom of religious belief and expression.

"Religious freedom is a basic and core value of modern nations and societies," argued the "Purdue Consensus on Religious Freedom." Signed by more than 50 people, including some of China's foremost rights lawyers, underground church leaders and intellectuals, the document also called upon China's citizens to be vigilant.

Starvation takes no vacation --

All Chinese citizens had the responsibility "to respect, to protect, and to fight for" religious freedom, the statement added.

Published this week after a three-day summit at Purdue University, activists and religious leaders discussed their concerns over religious freedom in China.

High on the agenda was the importance of Chinese citizens to have the freedom "to practice their faith, to worship together, to establish religious venues, to use religious symbols, to publish religious books, and to disseminate religious faith."

One sterling example is the fact that missionary work is currently illegal in China. Beijing's State Administration for Religious Affairs tightly controls the construction and administration of places of worship.

There has been a growing worldwide pessimism over the Communist Party's handling of religious matters. Christians now fear that Beijing is planning a nationwide campaign to slow the growth of their community, which now counts tens of millions of members.

The partial or total demolition of at least half a dozen churches in Zhejiang province and a spate of detentions across China have fueled these concerns.

Beijing also faces criticism over what some describe as its heavy-handed treatment of Muslims in the far western province of Xinjiang.

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