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ICC Note: Chinese authorities in Tianjin Diocese of northern China forced a youth summer camp to close citing implementation of the revised religious regulations. Local government officials interrupted the “Walk with the Lord” camp on July 21 and ordered it to stop immediately. Camp for high schoolers was subsequently banned.   

08/10/2018 China (UCA News) – A summer camp for youngsters in Tianjin Diocese of northern China was forced to close by authorities citing implementation of the revised religious regulations.

The “Walk with the Lord” camp was being held at a pastoral center of Shuangshu parish of Wuqing district. It comprised a junior camp being held from July 17-23 for 80 children aged 10-14 and a senior camp from July 27 to Aug. 3 for 60 teenagers aged 15-18.

However, on July 21, local government officials suddenly entered the center, ordered the camp to stop immediately and told organizers to send children home the next day. The senior camp was also banned.

A source said several clergy were upset and some youngsters were disappointed as “they could have gathered together to learn catechisms and play games.”

One week before the incident, officials issued an order to ban minors of Xiaohan village of Wuqing from taking part in a parish summer camp. Xiaohan is a well-known Catholic village.

After the implementation of the revised religious regulations in February, several dioceses in Henan province were ordered to suspend summer camps.

However, some dioceses had organized camps before receiving the government’s notice. “If they want to pursue, we will just say that we have not received any notice yet,” one source said.

A Catholic told that his two children had already participated in a summer camp. “In some areas with more faithful, the church still can go on quietly. As long as the event is neither reported nor publicized, local officials will turn a blind eye.”

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