Monday, November 21, 2005

If we don't report it, it didn't happen

Beijing (AsiaNews) - “China is still afraid of religious freedom,” a bishop of the underground Church told AsiaNews commenting on the fact that, as of this morning, Chinese media have yet to mention Bush’s participation in yesterday’s liturgical services at the Protestant church in Gangwashi.

“In the preceding days,” the bishop went on to say, “Chinese media said that the American president would have visited a Protestant church. But this morning, Chinese newspapers made reference neither to his church visit nor to his insistence on human rights.”

Xinhua news agency was the only media outlet yesterday to mention, in an English-language report (nothing appeared in Chinese), Bush’s church visit, but omitted to quote him on religious freedom and human rights.

This afternoon, the site reported briefly on Bush’s visit to the church saying that it was normal for the American president “to attend church services on Sunday,” adding also that “Beijing is obliged to offer such services.”

Fearing that Bush’s visit could serve as a sounding board to launch messages and petitions internationally, the Chinese government arrested Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo and several other Catholic priests. Even some Protestant pastors, such as Hua Huiqi and Zhang Mingxuan, had been forcibly transferred to the Sichuan and Henan regions, thousands of kilometres from Beijing. [...]

The government is increasingly nervous about the growing cooperation between human right activists and religious personalities. The Party’s fear is that religious communities will become the milieu for channelling social discontent. [...]

Read the complete article Beijing: Chinese media practically silent on Bush’s church visit and human rights from

The bolding is my own. That is exactly the point why rapprochement with the People's Republic as a means toward encouraging religious freedom is not going to work. The Communists (like good communists) see religious institutions as threats to the Party and its regime.

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