Churches in China’s Northeast Qiqihar Diocese Suppressed by the Government
02/02/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – At least seven churches and their communities have been suppressed in recent months in the diocese of Qiqihar, Heilongjiang province. The Qiqihar bishop, Giuseppe Wei Jingyi is recognized by the Holy See, but not by the government.
According to Asia News, in the last few months, members of the United Front Department, police, representatives of the Religious Affairs Bureau entered the churches while mass was being celebrated, interrupted the liturgical services, chased the faithful away, and threatened them and decreed the closure of the communities. The priests were asked to leave the territory if they did not want to be forcibly expelled. All these churches are not sanctioned by the government.
Noteworthy is that all the suppression began shortly after the signing of the provisional agreement between China and the Vatican (September 22) and the pardon of the excommunicated official bishop of the area, Giuseppe Yue Fushen of Harbin.
Also, although Bishop Wei is an underground bishop, he has enjoyed good relations with the authorities. The dynamics of the crackdown reflect the implementation of the revised regulations for religious activities (launched in February 2018), which serves as the basis for the eliminating the underground Church.
For local Catholics, the government’s behaviors violate their most basic rights, freedom, and faith. The methods used by many government officials trample on the rights of citizens and are strongly disrespectful of the sacredness of places of worship.
Local Catholics have expressed their disappointment to their pastors, priests and bishops. They are very furious about the fact that government officials apply the law in an arbitrary manner, even without the directives of the central government. Beijing is implementing a policy of repression of the underground community, and this has caused great anger and a serious internal conflict among the Catholics.
For interviews with Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org.