Tuesday, March 15, 2005

China's Religious Development

The People's Daily, the main propaganda rag of the People's Republic of China (PRC) has published an interview with Ting Kuang-hsun, chairman of the "China Religion & Peace Committee", and honorary president of the China Christianity Association [bet you didn't know that they had one of those], I'm full of confidence in China's religious development;
On March 13, the China Religion and Peace Committee held in Beijing [link is original to the article - ed.] the Second Plenary Session of the Second Committee. During the meeting in an exclusive interview by People's Daily,Ting Kuang-hsun, vice-chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, chairman of the "China Religion and Peace Committee", and honorary president of the China Christianity Association, said that he is full of confidence in China's religious development.
Normally I'd pass on this as communist propaganda to be read only for entertainment (or to make myself angry). Orthodox Christians know full well how the Chinese government has forbidden any Orthodox bishops to serve in China. While looking for the link to that, I found this, "Beijing is sending positive signals to Orthodox church", AFP October 21, 2004 at WorldWide Religious News (WWRN);
Chinese authorities, seen as repressive toward Roman Catholics, are giving increasingly encouraging signals to the country's small Russian Orthodox community.

Orthodox followers in China hope they will soon be able to practice their faith normally after being forced into hibernation for many years, partly because of a lack of active priests.
The Chinese Orthodox church reached its peak in the mid-1950s when it became autonomous and had two bishops who oversaw an estimated 20,000 faithful. However, the church was to suffer much at the hands of the Red Guard, which drove it underground in 1966.

The two bishops died in the 1960s and have never had any successors.

China's Orthodox community has since diminished, with many expecting it to disappear altogether after the death of the last active priest in December.

But, benefiting from the current healthy political climate between Moscow and Beijing, the Russian patriarchate has taken steps to revive the faith in the country.
Let us pray for success in China.

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