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Oct 24, 2006


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I think the good archbishop is being hoodwinked. Sure, the Chinese are open to religion - it's even in their constitution:

"Article 36. Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No state organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion. The state protects normal religious activities."

There is, of course, an escape clause:

"No one may make use of religion to engage in activities that disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens or interfere with the educational system of the state. Religious bodies and religious affairs are not subject to any foreign domination."

They've appointed their own hand-picked Dalai Lama, they appoint their own Roman Catholic bishops - who are not recognized by Rome, and they still arrest underground Christians.

Is it any surprise that "He did not meet with Christians from underground churches but said he had been fully briefed by people who had contacts with them."?

The church (any church) in China is in much the same position as the early Christians were in Rome: Caesar was divine, he was the god to be worshipped; anything else was atheism.

Michael Kruse

All very true Mike but I think the formal sturctures are among the last things to change. I can't go into specifics but I know people who work in higher education in China and Christianity is having an impact among the educated and the intellectuals.

Understanding China is a tough nut to crack for us Westerners and it is waaaay too early to begin making predictions, but I don't entirely discount what the archbishop thinks he sees.

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