04/28/2021 China (International Christian Concern) – As the Chinese government continues to target underground Catholic bishops and prevent them from holding mass, now even the Catholics who provide the venue are being punished.
According to Asia News, a Catholic in Wangli (Cangnan County, Zhejiang province) was fined last month for offering his private chapel to the bishop of Wenzhou diocese, Msgr. Peter Shao Zhumin, who is only recognized by the Pope, not by the Chinese Communist Party.
On March 16, Mr. Huang Ruixun, 56, offered his chapel to Msgr. Shao Zhumin and about twenty Catholics. As a result, he was sentenced to a hefty fine of 200,000 yuan (USD 30860) under the charge “hosting the bishop for illegal religious activities, also providing him with lunch, a rest room, etc.”
Huang also reportedly violated the state-sanctioned Catholic church’s principle, since “the organizer [Bishop Shao] of illegal activities was ordained by a foreign institution, this goes against the principle of independence, autonomy and self-administration of the Church in China.”
This goes on to show that despite a renewed Sino-Vatican deal, underground Catholics in China have not been granted religious freedom and unity with the official Church, as the Holy See has hoped.
To make the matter worse, the new “Administrative Measures for Religious Personnel” will come in effect on May 1. All clergy and religious leaders in China will be required to “love the motherland, support the leadership of the Communist Party of China, support the socialist system, abide by the Constitution, laws, regulations and rules, practice the core values of socialism, adhere to the principle of independence and autonomous management of religion, and adhere to China’s religious policy, maintaining unity national unity, ethnic unity, religious harmony and social stability.”
There will be minimum space left for the underground Church to survive without being cracked down or harassed. Increased punishment will become a norm for Christians participating in these religious activities not vetted by the state.
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