The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
The Pontificate - Contribute to help UCA News
UCA News

China

Chinese diocese asked to ban children to resume services

Underground Zhengding bishop refuses to comply because 'the doors of the Church are open to all'

UCA News reporter, Hong Kong

UCA News reporter, Hong Kong

Updated: July 07, 2020 07:47 AM GMT
Featured Authors - Columnists | Make a Contribution
Chinese diocese asked to ban children to resume services

A file photo of physically challenged children in an orphanage attached to Zhengding Diocese in northern China. The government is threatening to take over the orphanage and its land. (Photo supplied)

Share this article :
A Catholic bishop in northern China's Hebei province has been asked to ban children from entering churches if he wants to reopen his churches and run an orphanage.

Bishop Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding has refused to sign a document that bans children below the age of 18 from entering churches, which was set as a condition for him to reopen churches.

The move by authorities in Jinzhou city comes as churches have reopened in most parts of China and started religious services with restrictions, almost six months after they were closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The document that underground Bishop Jia was asked to sign agrees to prohibit children from attending programs of any sort inside a church. 

Paul, a Catholic in Zhengding, said authorities were not only asking the bishop to sign the document. "They were asking the whole diocese to sign the document. All parishes are required to sign a pledge that they will not allow minors to enter their churches or officials will not allow them to open churches," he said.

Paul said authorities were using the pandemic as a cover to suppress the Church. "This requirement of banning children was not part of the requirement anywhere else in China. The local authorities added it by themselves," he said.

A source who did not want to be named said that officials had said they would allow churches to open if the bishop signed the document. If he refused, authorities would take over a church-run orphanage for handicapped children and the bishop's house, he said.

Bishop Zia said he would not sign the document because "the doors of the Church are open to all," the source added.

The government has already moved older children from the orphanage. Only babies are left now. A source said the government wants to put on record that it was "buying" the orphanage but would not pay any money.

A Catholic named Zhao who is connected with the developments told UCA News on July 6 that negotiations were still underway but the government wants to seize the orphanage.

"It is outrageous and a complete lack of respect for religious rights and freedoms, and it tramples on constitutional values," he said. 

The Communist Party’s negotiations will not take too long and they will find a reason to take over the orphanage, he warned.

Zhao also said a group of nuns were taking care of the babies in the orphanage but authorities want the nuns to serve under their supervision and register with them. "Otherwise, they will be forced to leave."

All nuns in the diocese were also asked to register with the state-sanctioned Church "or else they would have to go home and live their own lives,” Zhao said.

Father Chang, a diocesan priest, said he would insist on churches' opening without banning children. "If the government closes the churches, they will gather in the homes of the faithful," he said.

Support UCA News...

UCA News provides a unique service, bringing you the voices of emerging churches and helping you see efforts made to evangelize and bring relief to people in all manner of need.

UCA News has more than 40 full time and part time reporters, editors and administrators bringing you this service from across 23 countries in south, southeast and east Asia. You, too, can be part of their efforts by contributing even a small amount to keep UCA News available to the world.
Click here to consider the options available to you.

Your contribution to UCA News will immensely help us continue to grow a strong media community by harnessing information technology to inform, engage, inspire and influence the Catholics of Asia and the world.

As a gesture of our gratitude to your commitment to UCA News, we are pleased to gift you a free PDF Book/e-Book titled Mission in Asia when you make a contribution.

UCA News Donate
UCA Newsletter
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

 
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution