Are the Chinese an ethnic love of peace

China Today 198 Chronicles of Religion and the Church in China March 19, 2018 to June 30, 2018

The "Chronicle of Religion and Church in China" has appeared regularly since the beginning of 2010 in the information ofChina today. Since some news (the editors) only become known later, there may be overlaps between the chronicles, whereby the events already mentioned in the previous number are not listed again. All chronicles can also be found online on the website of the China Center (www.china-zentrum.de).
The reporting period of the last chronicle (2018, No. 1, pp. 8-18) extended up to and including March 13, 2018.

politics

March 21, 2018:
Chinese Communist Party publishes “Plan to deepen the Reform of the organs of party and state ”, which further blurs the division between party and state
As part of the very far-reaching restructuring, a number of important state authorities were subordinated to party organs. For example, the State Bureau of Religious Affairs, the State Commission on Ethnic Affairs and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Bureau of the State Council were incorporated or subordinated to the CPC's United Front Labor Department. These and numerous other shifts in the apparatus of the party and government organs are seen as strengthening the primacy of the party over the state and as a reversal of the structures established by Deng Xiaoping with a stronger separation of party and government. “Mass organizations” - which include the official religious associations - are also loudXinhua Part of the reform plan, but there was no further information on this (AsiaNews 7.05.; Global Times03/21; gov.cn 03/24;Merics China Update 6/2018; UCAN 27.03.; Xinhua 21.03.). 
See the entries from March 21, 2018 and April 1, 2018 under the heading "Religious Policy".

April 18, 2018:
China founds agency for international development cooperation
China officially announced the establishment of an international development cooperation agency. The new agency will be responsible for the strategic guiding principles and the political line in foreign aid, for the coordination and the preparation of proposals on important aspects affected by it, for the reform of the system of the foreign aid and for the planning and monitoring of its implementation. This will centralize the development cooperation that was previously distributed among numerous authorities. So far, China has mainly funded development projects in neighboring countries and thus supported the Silk Road Initiative in particular. It remains to be seen whether more money will flow into developing countries in the future and whether Chinese economic interests are less of a priority than before (Xinhua18.04.; Merics China Update 6/2018, 9.–22.03.).

May 5, 2018:
Celebrations in honor of Karl Marx's 200th birthday
Karl Marx, born on May 5, 1818 in Trier, would be 200 this year. The Chinese government took this as an opportunity to give the city of Trier a 5.5 m statue to commemorate the “greatest philosopher in human history” give. Xi Jinping used such designations to pay homage to Karl Marx in his speech at the great memorial service in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 4th, as ofXinhua reported. TheTrierian friend of the people reported on the solemn unveiling of the statue on May 5th, which took place in the presence of the Mayor of Trier Wolfram Leibe, the Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate Malu Dreyer and also of Guo Weimin, Vice Minister of the Press Office of the Chinese State Council.
Xi Jinping continued in his speech that the aim was to demonstrate the firm belief in the "scientific truth of Marxism". In analyzing this talk of theRenmin Ribao emphasized the importance of Marxism to China, and Xi's contribution was hailed as an excellent summary of Chinese Marxism.
Cary Huang harshly criticized the Chinese government in her column in theSouth China Morning Post. She interpreted this emphasis on and turning to Marxism as a sign of defensiveness against forces that oppose the absolute power of the party and its leadership. No signs of Marxism can be found in China for a long time; on the contrary, it is a capitalist, market-oriented society that is increasingly taking on traits like those described by Charles Dickens. These are forms against which Karl Marx in particular campaigned with his convictions. Willy Lam Wo-lap said aloudPing Kuo Jih Paothat the Chinese leadership is trying to maintain its legitimacy through its connection to the leading figure Marx.
The Catholic Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, said in an interview with theKNAthat Marx had given impetus for social reform, but he was definitely not a saint. Ackermann spoke of the important criticism of systems that exploited people as workers. Here Marx was very justified in campaigning for reforms. However, historical Marxism also brought some “calamity” to the world (KNA 5.05.; Ming Pao 5.05.; Ping Kuo Jih Pao 5.05.; Renmin Ribao 6.05.; South China Morning Post 12.05.; Xinhua 4.,6.05.).

Religious politics

March 21, 2018:
State Bureau for Religious Affairs is incorporated into the United Front Department, the party takes direct control over religions
In the dual structure of party and state organs, the State Administration for Religious Affairs 国家 ündete 事务 局 (BRA, State Administration for Religious Affairs, SARA), founded in 1951 (under a different name) and re-established in 1979 after the Cultural Revolution, was under the State Council for the concrete implementation of religious policy and supervision of religious organizations, while on the part of the party the department for united front work of the Central Committee had the political supervision of religious work. In the course of the restructuring of the organs of the party and state (see above) - as the Central Committee of the CPC announced on March 21 and the State Council confirmed on March 24 - the BRA was abolished as an independent government agency and transferred to the United Front Department (EFA) of the Incorporated into the party, its tasks were taken over by the EFA; the EFA will continue to use the state "shield", i.e. the name of the BRA, to the outside world. This means that the specific religious affairs and organizations will in future be administered exclusively by the party and no longer by the state, even if, in addition to the name, personnel and structures may also be partially taken over by the BRA into the EFA. According toAsiaNews some observers suspect that the BRA could become the executive arm of the EFA. This seems conceivable in view of the fact that in the "Plan for deepening the reform of the organs of the party and state" under the list of the future tasks of the EFA, the previous concrete tasks of the BRA, such as the formulation of legal norms or the supervision of religious organizations, are missing. It also remains to be seen how the restructuring of the institutions will play out at the local level. There the clergy at the grassroots had to deal with representatives of both authorities in practice.
Voices from the Chinese churches and commentators saw the incorporation of the state BRA in the EFA as a signal for stronger party control over the religions (AsiaNews 3.04 .; May 7th; chinasource.org 2.04 .; gov.cn 03/24;Xinhua 21.03.). 
See the contribution in the information and the wording of the decisions on the restructuring of the BRA in the documentation.

April 1, 2018:
Wang Zuo’an becomes Vice Minister of the United Front Division
On April 1, it was announced that Wang Zuo’an had been promoted to one of the ten Vice Ministers of the United Front Division (EFA) while continuing his previous position as Director of the State Bureau of Religious Affairs (BRA). Born in 1958, Wang, who had already worked for EFA from 1983 to 1987, then moved to the BRA and has been its director since 2009. He was not re-elected to the Central Committee at the CCP's 19th Congress in the fall of 2017.
In a press conference on April 3 (see below), Chen Zongrong, previously Vice Director of the BRA, stated that on April 1, a meeting of the senior officials of the EFA as well as the BRA and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, both of which will be incorporated into the EFA , the new organizational structure had been formally announced. The readjustment process is in progress and a new EFA leadership team will be set up. The new structure will optimize the institutional mechanisms of religious work and strengthen the party's unified leadership over religious work. The CCP advocates and propagates atheism, but that does not mean that it cannot protect and respect freedom of religious belief, said Chen (AsiaNews 3.04 .; english.scio.gov.cn 3.04 .; fo.ifeng.com 2.04.).

April 3, 2018:
State Council Publishes White Paper "China's Policies and Practices in Safeguarding Freedom of Religious Belief"
The last time China published its first white paper on religious freedom was in 1997. The new white paper essentially reflects well-known positions in Chinese religious policy. It dispenses with the detailed description of the "shameful role" of the western missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries. Century, which gave the White Paper of 1997 a very conservative ideological character. It puts the number of religious followers in China at 200 million (1997: 100 million). In the press conference on the announcement of the document, Chen Zongrong, previously Vice Director of the State Bureau of Religious Affairs, said that the old figure of 100 million goes back to a statement by Zhou Enlai in the 1950s and that China's population has more than doubled since then .scio.gov.cn 3.04.).
See the translation of the White Paper in the documentation and the contribution in the information in this issue.

April 4, 2018:
Local authorities in Henan require all residents who believe in one of the five religions to register
In an announcement dated April 4 in the neighborhood of Pingyuan, which is believed to be part of the city of Anyang in Henan, residents who believe in Buddhism, Daoism, Catholicism, Protestantism or Islam are asked to contact the neighborhood quarter (i.e. the lowest administrative level) as soon as possible. to register. This was reported by the US-based organization China Aid, which also published a photo of the announcement. An employee of the Pingyuan Neighborhood Committee told China Aid on the phone to bring household registration and ID, name and personal information, religious affiliation and when converted, religious affiliation of family members, etc. Even those close to the partyGlobal Timeswrote that an employee of the neighborhood committee had confirmed the announcement and said that "the higher religious authorities" had asked the neighborhoods to "do a census" (chinaaid.org 04/11; globaltimes.cn 04/9;UCAN 13.04.). 
The registration of simple creditors has so far been completely unusual in the PRC. The revised “Regulations for Religious Affairs”, which came into force on February 1, stipulate that villagers 'and residents' committees must assist the government in managing religious affairs (Section 6). For the situation in Henan see also the headings “Christianity”, “Protestantism” and “Catholic Church”.

May 7, 2018:
State Bureau of Religious Affairs (BRA) publishes draft on "Measures for the Management of Collective Religious Activities of Foreigners in the Territory of the People's Republic of China"
It is a "draft for obtaining opinions" with a deadline of 7 June 2018. According to the draft, the new regulation affects religious assemblies of 50 people or more (§ 2). Collective religious activities by foreigners (krAA) must take place in registered sites for religious activities (temples / churches) or in provisional places for krAA approved by the religious authorities (§ 3). The application process by at least three elected representatives of the foreigners who want to carry out krAA, called "organizers", is new; these may "have no negative entries", enjoy no immunity in China and only act as organizers at one location (§ 5). The organizers submit the application to the religious organization of the respective religion and sign a contract with the temple / church in question, which is reported to the authorities for file entry (§§ 6, 7). Host temples / churches provide the clergy to lead the krAA; if it is really necessary for a foreigner to lead the service, this must also be reported to the authorities (§ 8). The procedure for applying for a provisional location for krAA (§ 9 ff.) Enables worship services for foreigners who follow religions that are not recognized in China, such as Jews, Mormons or Baha'i. Chinese citizens are not allowed to participate in krAA (§ 16). KrAA "must accept administration by the religious affairs authorities"; Host temples / churches or providers of temporary sites must proactively inform themselves about the krAA and immediately report illegal activities to the authorities (Section 18). If they violate laws and legal norms in their services for krAA, they will be punished according to the law (§24).
The basis of the new, not yet enacted measures are the still valid “Administrative Regulations for Religious Activities by Foreigners in the Territory of the PR China” (1994) and the “Implementing Regulations” for the same (2000, revision 2011). The Chinese text of the draft new regulations (中华人民共和国 境内 外国人 集体 宗教 活动 管理 办法 [征求意见稿]) and an English translation can be found at www.chinalawtranslate.com.

May 23, 2018:
Nationwide working session of the united front department to regulate the "excessive erection of large religious statues in the open air"
Wang Zuo’an, referred to in the report as "Vice Minister of the United Front Labor Department of the Central Committee and Director of the State Bureau of Religious Affairs," gave the keynote speech, and leaders of the United Front departments and religious authorities of all provinces attended. The meeting called for the regulation of the building of large religious statues in the open air to be made a priority in regulating the problem of the commercialization of Buddhism and Daoism (zytzb.gov.cn 25/05).
For this purpose, new directives were issued in November 2017 (see the translation in the documentation). Primarily this refers to giant Buddhist and Daoist statues, which you often have to pay to visit. In recent months, however, reports have also been made of the demolition of a Catholic Way of the Cross in Henan and a figure of a saint in Hebei (see entries from June 5, 2018 and May 2018 under the heading “Catholic Church”).
Since the revised regulations for religious affairs came into force on February 1st of this year. the construction of large religious statues outside of religious sites is forbidden and must also be approved by the authorities inside (Section 30).

June 1, 2018:
State Bureau for Religious Affairs (BRA) publishes "Measures for the Authorization and Management of Temporary Places for Religious Activities"
An important innovation through the revision of the "Regulations for Religious Affairs", which came into force on February 1, 2018, was the introduction of "Provisional Places for Activities" in Section 35. Details are now in the new, on February 22, 2018 dated “measures”. The application for this can be made by religious citizens if there is a need for collective religious activities, but the hurdles for the establishment of a regular site for religious activities (with an elaborate preparation phase, proof of finances, etc.) are too high. The prerequisite for the application is that there is not yet a place of the same religion in the vicinity. The permit is valid for a maximum of three years. The application is made by elected representatives of the faithful, who must also sign a declaration of commitment regarding compliance with the law, among other things. The application is submitted directly to the local religious authorities, who obtain the approval of the respective local religious organization, which is then responsible for supervising the provisional site and is authorized to issue instructions.Religious activities in provisional locations may not be conducted by persons without the official status of a religious officer or by foreigners, donations from abroad are not permitted (see the German translation of the "measures" in the documentation).
The main aim of the new regulations is likely to regulate informal meeting places that have formed as a result of migration and urbanization, such as the informal places of prayer described in Chinese specialist literature for Muslim migrant workers from northwest China in the outskirts of Shanghai, where there are no regular mosques. Apparently, they are also intended for collective activities by Protestants who have previously gathered in “privately built meeting places” (i.e. house churches), as was stated in a comment by Chen Zongrong (BRA) at a press conference (see entry from April 3, 2018 under the heading “Religious Policy”). However, for house churches that distance themselves from the “three-self church”, this is likely to be an only attractive alternative to a limited extent in view of the intended supervisory function of the latter.

June 8, 12 and 30, 2018:
"Four-in" campaigns for religious sites are opening in Ningxia and Beijing
After the campaign of the “four-in-one” mosques in the northwest of the PR China had already been started in May (see the entry from spring 2018 in the “Islam” section), it was expanded in June to include all five religions in some places. The "four in" (四 进) are: national flag, constitution and laws, socialist core values ​​and the excellent traditional Chinese culture. They should enter the sites for religious activities. In Ningxia, the opening was held on June 8th by Buddhists and Protestants, and on June 12th by Daoists and Catholics. Photos show celebratory flag-raising ceremonies. In Beijing, on June 30, a city-level "four-in-one" opening of all five religions took place in the square in front of the Haidian Protestant Church. From many provinces, however, there is no news of "four-in-one" campaigns.Radio Free Asia learned on July 4th from an employee of the State Bureau of Religious Affairs that the action was directed not at all but at certain religions and especially Islam. In the past few years, too, there have been repeated reports that religious sites in certain regions have been asked by the authorities to fly the national flag, e.g. in Tibet and in various places in Xinjiang, Zhejiang and Hubei; Nationwide campaigns are new (rfa.org 4.07 .; sara.gov.cn 4.07 .; tianzhujiao.me 21.06 .; zytzb.gov.cn 14.06 .; cf.China today 2016, No. 2, Chronicle, June 2016).
See also the entry from June 11, 2018 in the section "Daoism".

Religion in general

April 1, 2018:
South China Morning Post: First “apostle” of Chinese origin among the Mormons
TheSouth China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," in German for short "the Mormons," headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, now for the first time in its "Council of Twelve" elected two church elders who do not are white. The two are Ulisses Soares from Brazil and Gerrit Gong, an American of Chinese descent, his grandparents immigrated to the United States from China.
More than half of the Mormons do not come from the USA and so some Mormons spoke positively about the fact that the church leadership now reflects more the ethnic composition of its members worldwide through greater diversity. According toSCMP This is now seen as a sign that under the leadership of the new Mormon President, Russell Nelson, the Church will focus even more on globalization. Russell is said to be able to speak Chinese, and it is speculated that Gong's appointment will aid the development of Mormons in China. TheSCMP cites a Mormon church researcher, Matt Martinich, who estimates the number of Mormons in mainland China at around 10,000. Official numbers are not available because the PRC does not recognize Latter-day Saint Church of Jesus Christ as a religion.
Gong and Soares previously served in the "Council of Seventy" - which is subordinate to the Council of Twelve - whose members are, however, still elected for a limited time. The church elders in the Council of Twelve, on the other hand, are elected for life and the longest serving becomes the new church president. So it is now possible that a non-white person will one day also become President of the Church (SCMP 1.04.).

Daoism

April 26, 2018:
Daoist ritual laying the foundation stone for a nuclear project in Gansu Chinese Academy of Sciences apologizes
The ritual of laying the foundation stone for the construction of an experimental thorium reactor in Minqin County, Wuwei City, Gansu Province became known after a worker uploaded footage of it to the network. The said nuclear project is being carried out according to ThePaper.cn (April 29th) in cooperation between the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the province of Gansu, the Daoist priest is said to have been invited by the local construction company commissioned. On April 30, the CAS apologized on its Weibo microblog for not preventing its contractor from "deviating from the spirit of science" (for the related debate, see the post in the information in this issue).

June 11, 2018:
Chinese Daoist Association publishes appeal to hoist the national flag in all Daoist sites - to "Sinize Daoism"
The text is aimed at the Daoist associations of the provinces, districts and cities. All sites opened for Daoist activities with official approval are called upon to hang up the national flag in a clearly visible place on the site and thereby develop the positive power of patriotism. With the help of the national flag hoisting activities - so the text goes on - the Daoist sites are supposed to spread respect for the constitution and the laws as well as to instruct the believing masses to hold on to the Sinization of Daoism and to adapt actively to the socialist society (wording of the call with the title 关于 在 全国 道教 活动 场所 悬挂 国旗 的 倡议 at www.daoisms.org/article/sort028/info-36507.html).
"Sinization" has been a central demand of the party state to all religions, especially Christianity and Islam, since Xi Jinping's speech at the National Conference for Religious Work in 2016 at the latest.

Buddhism

April 2018:
Another plan to go public for the holy Buddhist mountain Putuoshan is halted after a protest
The Putuoshan is located not far from Shanghai on an island belonging to the city of Zhoushan (Zhejiang Province) and is one of the four holy mountains of Chinese Buddhism. In 2017, 8 million people visited the place. The Putuoshan Tourism Development Company, which operates the island's tourist infrastructure such as ferries, cable cars and the sale of smoked articles (not the monasteries themselves) and which, according to a report by Kai Strittmatter in theSüddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) various city and provincial authorities are involved, applied for listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in early April. In the securities prospectus were loud Apple Daily the annual income from Putuoshan tourism is estimated at 386 million yuan, according to SZ, another 612 million should be raised through the IPO and invested in infrastructure for tourism such as the construction of thermal baths. Only half a year earlier, the State Bureau of Religious Affairs, together with other authorities - including the State Bureau of Tourism and the Chinese Commission on Securities Supervision - had issued "Some Views on Further Regulation of the Problem of Commercialization of Buddhism and Daoism" that specifically forbid "using sites for Buddhist or Daoist activities as corporate assets for an IPO" (see documentation).
On April 11, the official Chinese Buddhist Association (CBV) website published an article entitled “The 'Putuoshan IPO' Violates the Legal Rights and Interests of Buddhism”. Although on the surface the actual Buddhist property, the temples themselves, are not included in the share package, Buddhism is the most important resource for the attraction of the place. so the article. The IPO will inevitably lead to a vulgarization of Buddhism and damage its reputation. If the Putuoshan goes public successfully, this will trigger a chain reaction; other Buddhist and Daoist mountains such as the Wutaishan, the Jizushan, the Wudangshan or the Longhushan would certainly follow. The author wrote that the IPO was a clear violation of the new state regulations. He called on the relevant authorities to "resolve the matter appropriately". Later in April, the Putuoshan Tourism Development Company stopped its IPO at the request of the securities regulator.
Two other Buddhist mountains, the Emeishan in Sichuan and the Jiuhuashan in Anhui, have been listed on the stock exchange since 1997 and 2015, respectively. In the summer of 2012 there was already a discussion about a planned IPO of Putuoshan (economist.com April 26; sueddeutsche.de April 23; contribution from the CBV website to http://fo.ifeng.com/a/20180411/44945154_0 .shtml; saChina today 2012, No. 3, Chronicle, July 3, 2012).

Islam

Spring 2018:
Sinization in Ningxia: Action against Arab-Muslim architectural elements
In the Ningxia Autonomous Region, around a third of the population belongs to the Chinese-speaking Muslim Hui nationality. After thisGlobal Times already in September about the action of the authorities against "pan-halal-Tendenzen ", including the removal of Chinese-Arabic signs, reported in Ningxia, reports of the removal of Arabic stylistic elements, especially from secular buildings, but also from mosques in the autonomous area, have accumulated in recent months. If you drive south from the capital Yinchuan today, "the roadside is now littered with onion-shaped domes, green, gold and white, freshly removed from market buildings, hotels and parks," according to a report by theSouth China Morning Post (SCMP) from May 14th. According toSCMP Much Arabic decor had only been added in the last decade when the Ningxia government tried to attract tourists with the Hui culture. The report attributed the many new mosques built in the “Arab” style not least to the fact that most of the old mosques built in the style of Chinese temples had been destroyed in the Cultural Revolution. New buildings in the oriental style made of concrete are cheaper and more spacious, and some Muslims regard them as “real”. Imams and government sources in Ningxia said theSCMPthat new mosques in the Arab style would no longer be allowed in the future.
The U.S.-based organization China Aid brought a photo of a party document from Dazhanchang Township on February 20, which contained an eight-point plan of action by Zhongning County in Ningxia for religious sites. It states, among other things, "Arab and Saudi buildings are to be removed, Sinised mosques are to be built" and "Arab-style minarets are to be torn down by the end of March". In Yinchuan it got loud SCMP The reputation of the muezzin was also banned because of noise pollution. The measures raised concerns among the Hui in Ningxia that similar repressive measures could be used in their region as in Xinjiang (chinaaid.org 20.02 .; SCMP 14.05.; UCAN 27.03.). 
In April 2017, at a conference on mosque building styles in Xi’an, the problem of "Arabization" in mosque construction was criticized (cf.China today 2017, No. 2, Chronicle, Islam, 6-7. April 2017).

May 18, 2018:
Sinisation of Islam: Chinese Islamic Association (CIV) launches “Four-In” mosques campaign - all mosques are to fly the national flag
With a ceremony at the Beijing Dongsi Mosque and a written appeal to all regional Islamic associations and mosques, the official umbrella organization of Muslims started the “Four-In” Mosque (“四 进” 清真寺). According to the call of the CIV, the following four things should be put into every mosque: 1. The national flag; 2. Constitution, laws and legal norms; 3. the socialist core values; 4. the exquisite traditional culture of China. The national flag should be hoisted in a clearly visible manner all year round in all mosques that are required to do so. The mosques must study the constitution and laws, especially the regulations for religious affairs, and correctly handle the relationship between state and religious law. You can also hire a lawyer to protect your rights (!). The core socialist values ​​must be posted in the courtyard of every mosque for believers to learn; they are to be interpreted and disseminated through interpretation of the Koran and preaching and can be practiced through charitable services. Mosques should open to visitors, they can order someone who introduces this patriotism, love of peace, tolerance, respect for women etc. in Islam. Traditional Chinese culture should be studied by the clergy in the form of the classics and included in mosque lessons (jingtang jiaoyu, "Library Education"). The works of the Chinese Muslim scholars of the past (meaning the so-called "Islamic Confucians",Huiru 回 儒) must be consulted in mosque lessons and when interpreting the Koran. So much for the call of the CIV.
At the opening of the action, Wang Zuo’an, previously director of the State Bureau of Religious Affairs and now vice minister of the CP's United Front Department, said the "Four In" Mosques are a concrete contribution to the sinization of Islam. According toXinhuaSimilar opening ceremonies were held for the “four-in-one” Mosques in Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia and Xinjiang - that is, in the northwestern provinces with a high Muslim population. During June the campaign expanded to other parts of the country and religions (CIV appeal at www.chinaislam.net.cn/cms/news/jujiaoredian/201805/19-11988.html; AFP 05/21; chinaislam.net.cn 19.05;Xinhua May 18; zytzb.gov.cn 19.06.).

May 22nd and June 6th 2018:
Global Timesreports on criticism of Islam at universities
On May 22nd, the party-affiliated reportedGlobal Times on complaints allegedly made online by students at Northwest Minzu University in Lanzhou (Gansu) that they were being disturbed in their exam preparations by Muslim fellow students praying on campus at 3:00 a.m. (during Ramadan). One ofGlobal Times Interviewed university spokesman said the university bans all religious activities on campus, but also said, “Students, other than members of the Communist Party and the Communist Youth League, have the right to exercise their beliefs according to the law in off-campus religious sites practice".
An employee of the Nanjing Agricultural University deniedGlobal Times (June 6) that the course on Islamic culture given by a Pakistani doctoral student at the university had spread religion - this was criticized by Marxism expert Xi Wuyi from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on her blog on May 30. The course was discontinued six months ago because the lecturer was not qualified to teach at Chinese universities, according to the employee (Global Times 22.05.; 6.06.).

April / May / June 2018:
New reports confirm the dramatic proportions of Xinjiang re-education camps
According to reports fromRadio Free Asia (RFA), Human Rights Watch et al., Since April 2017 in Xinjiang, as part of measures to “de-extremize”, masses of Uyghurs and Kazakhs have been sent to centers for “re-education” without trial (jiaoyu zhuanhua 教育 转化) who show “strong religious convictions” or “politically incorrect” views (cf.China today 2017, No. 3, Chronicle, Islam, September 10, 2017). Adrian Zenz from the European School for Theology and Culture in Korntal, an expert on Chinese minority policy in Tibet and Xinjiang, demonstrated the large extent of the re-education camps in a study in May 2018. In it, he evaluated accessible public sources, such as online project tenders from governments at various levels in Xinjiang for the construction or equipping of “training centers for transformation through education” or similar facilities as well as job advertisements. Zenz came to the conclusion that one could conservatively assume around 200,000 inmates in Xinjiang's re-education camps; it could also be just over 1 million.It is possible, according to Zenz, "that Xinjiang's current re-education system is larger and larger in size and capacity than the entire previous [abolished in 2013] Chinese system of re-education through work."
The dramatic increase in re-education measures in Xinjiang is generally attributed to Chen Quanguo, who became party secretary of Xinjiang in August 2016 (Adrian Zenz, study from May 2018: www.academia.edu/36638456/_Thoroughly_Reforming_them_Toward_a_Healthy_Heartin_Rasinjiang_Pasiang_Pinjiang_Rasiang_Pin_Chinical_Attitude_-_Chinicalation;AP 18.05.; AP toSCMP 17.05.; AsiaNews 13.04.; German wave June 20, https://p.dw.com/p/2zucA; rfa.org June 14-27;Reuters 18.04.; SCMP 2.04.; Washington Post 16.05.; Xinhua 13.03.). 
See the post in the information.

Christianity in general

April 2018:
Dramatic Increase in Action Against Christian Churches in Henan Province - Churches Ban on Minors
There are increasing reports from Henan that the authorities are banning children from attending Christian services and religious instruction, taking action against unregistered congregations, dismantling crosses and much more. Both Protestant and Catholic communities are affected, as are the official churches. To justify the sudden pressure that began in early February and increased significantly (at least according to Catholic reports) in April, reports pointed out that Henan is the province of China with the most Protestant Christians and that the house churches there are growing rapidly. On the Catholic side, heard loudAsiaNews the church there mostly to the underground.UCAN referred to rumors that Henan's new party secretary, Wang Guosheng, who has been in office since mid-March, wants to realign the province within a year after his predecessor came under criticism, among other things, for the many Christian churches in the poor Xihua and Luoxi districts and the increase in house churches. Ying Fuk-tsang from the School of Divinity at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, on the other hand, wrote that after observing official reports from Henan, the crackdown against the Christians in the province had been in preparation for two years (i.e. since the National Conference on Religious Work in 2016). According to Ying, the party sees itself in the "fight for the next generation".
The ban on minors from attending church services is not covered by any known law (America Magazine 1.05 .; china.ucanews.com 04/19; la-croix.com 4.05 .; rfa.org April 19; UCAN April 18; May 10, 11, 24). See.China today 2017, No. 3, Chronicle, Christianity, August 29, 2017; 2018, No. 1, Chronicle, Islam, January 2018; Chronicle, Catholicism, beginning of February 2018 as well as the contribution in the information.

April 4, 2018:
Apple Daily: Bibles are disappearing from online stores
According to a report in the Hong Kong newspaperApple Daily (Ping Kuo Jih Pao) the Chinese government has apparently stopped selling Bibles through online stores. The Bible is no longer available in many online shops such as Taobao, JD.com, Weidian, Dang Dang Wang, Amazon.cn, soApple Dailynot even the versions printed by the official churches.
Although the Bible is printed in China, it has so far not been available for purchase in commercial, but only in church bookshops or online. The action is certainly also related to the new legal regulations on religions and increased pressure, especially on Christianity and Islam (Apple Daily 4.04. toBBC monitoring; nytimes.com 5.04.).

April 7, 2018:
Harbin's only "functioning" Orthodox church will be reopened for worship after renovation
Pokrov Church in Harbin has been closed for renovation since 2014. The opening service with a hundred believers was held by Priest Yu Shi, who was consecrated for work in China in 2015 after studying in Saint Petersburg with the permission of the Chinese Religious Office. "On the question of the Orthodox Church, China and Russia have no problems of principle," quoted theGlobal TimesZhang Baichun, an expert on the Orthodox Church at Beijing Normal University. There are still a few smaller issues to be resolved, such as the issue of ordination, sending more theology students to Russia and Orthodox services in some cities, said Zhang. In China, the Orthodox Church has so far only been approved by the state locally in some placesGlobal Times 11.04.). 
For the Pokrov Church and other Orthodox churches in Harbin, see the contribution by Piotr Adamek in the Historical Notes.

Protestantism

End of March to June 2018:
China Aid: Reports of government action against Protestant communities in Henan
As the US-based organization China Aid reported, citing local Christians, the authorities in Henan have been taking action against house churches since February 1, and 100 house churches in the city of Nanyang had been closed by March 19, 2018. On May 26, China Aid announced that religious site registration forms were being distributed to house churches in Henan and Anhui. In early June, the organization reported that the Ningling County Government had ordered the removal of all church crosses. The destruction of Christian decorations, such as tiles with the inscription "Emanuel" on the outside of houses, has been reported, and one Christian wrote that officials were now tearing down Christian pictures in the houses too, for example in his mother's bedroom. In Lushan County, the religious authority gathered 700 preachers from the registered "Three-Self Churches" and asked them to study the "Regulations on Religious Affairs", increase the percentage of churches with their national flag hoisted from 95% to 100% and attend church to ban children under 18, China Aid said in mid-April; The local religious authorities in the villages have also assigned special teams to monitor religious activities, and the village cadres are now responsible for managing them. Sunday schools in the official churches have been closed by the authorities, according to another witness. According to China Aid, cases have also been reported in which authorities tried to persuade Christians to give up their beliefs under threat of consequences, such as the cancellation of social benefits to secure the subsistence level or pensions, children no longer allowed to go to school, officials from their position dismissed or family businesses would be affected (chinaaid.org March 26; April 10, 11, 18, April 30; May 26; June 3).

27./28. March 2018:
"Outline of the Five-Year Work Plan to Advance the Sinization of Protestant Christianity in China (2018-2022)" is published
The extensive document signed by the National Committee of the Three-Self Movement of Protestant Churches in China and the Chinese Christian Council is dated December 2017. On 27./28. On March 23rd, these two Protestant governing bodies held a launch ceremony for the "five-year work plan" in Nanjing. Representatives from the State Bureau of Religions and the CCP's United Front Division were also present.
From the international reporting on the five-year work plan, special attention was paid to the passages that refer to the Bible. In Chapter 2, under the “main tasks”, the following is found: “Digging out the content from the Bible that is in harmony with the socialist core values, and jointly creating an easily understandable reader [...]”, as well as: “It must Biblical scholars are consciously trained in order to lay a solid basis so that a new translation of the Bible or the compilation of [new] Bible commentaries can be tackled. ”As a task for the year 2019, the plan envisages, among other things, the anniversary 100 years of the Union Version of the Chinese Bible “with a Sinization of Bible exegesis. Embark on compiling a Bible commentary written by Chinese Christians to provide theological support in advancing the Sinization of Christianity. ”The role of Christian music and art is also highlighted. The five-year work plan also contains purely political projects, e.g. the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the CPC's founding in 2021 (text of the 推进 我国 基督教 中国 化 五年 工作 规划 纲要 [2018–2022] at www.ccctspm.org/newsinfo/10284, English Translation at www.ucanews.com/news/protestant-five-year-plan-for-chinese-christianity/82107).

10-11 May 2018:
Sino-German interreligious consultation in Shanghai
On May 10th and 11th, the Chinese Christian Council (CCC) invited to a Sino-German interreligious consultation on the subject of "Different religions - common future" in Shanghai. A 15-member delegation from Germany, consisting of representatives from the Protestant and Catholic Church, the Islamic Association DITIB, as well as from politics and science, formed the German part of the consultation. It was supplemented locally by employees from the consulate and leaders of the German-speaking communities in Shanghai and Beijing. From the Chinese side, representatives of all five officially recognized religions were there, as well as officials from the religious authorities, the Shanghai city administration, science and the Amity Foundation, a total of 23 people. All speeches and discussions were simultaneously translated by the CCC's international contacts team. After the actual consultation, the German delegates from the Amity Foundation in Nanjing and the religious authorities in Beijing were invited to an extensive supporting program that ended on May 15th.
The event was a continuation of the German-Chinese interreligious consultation in Hamburg and Berlin from 8-11. May 2016; see.China today 2016, No. 2, Chronicle, 8-11. May 2016).
Isabel Hess-Friemann

June 4th 2018:
Death of the evangelical theologian Chen Zemin
At the age of 101, the long-time director of the United Theological Jinling Seminary in Nanjing (Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, NJUTS) and close companion Bishop K.H. Tings. Professor Chen aspired to indigenous Chinese theology. Most of today's leaders in the church structures and training centers of the Chinese Christian Council have gone through his school (see obituary in the information).

June 11, 2018:
AsiaNews: New wave of arrests and deportations of Korean missionaries
AsiaNews reports that two South Korean Protestant missionaries were arrested again in Wenzhou who were working there as "underground pastors" in a church that does not belong to the "Three-Self Movement". The church rooms were searched by the police and closed for a week. Last month alone were loudAsiaNews Thirty Korean missionaries arrested and tried in Ningxia Autonomous Region and Shanxi, Hebei, and Henan Provinces. The website ofChristian Today reports the number of Korean missionaries currently working in mainland China at over 4,000. Since April, so writesAsiaNews, the Government Department for Religious Affairs has stepped up controls on foreign believers, with a clear focus on missionaries from South Korea. Pastor Eric Foley of Voice of the Martyrs Korea is fromAsiaNews cited that raids on Korean missionary activities had increased significantly in the past 18 months. Approximately 1,000 missionaries were expelled from the country between 2013 and 2017, and the number would likely be many more if the new regulations in force since February 1 are fully implemented (AsiaNews 11.06.).

Catholic Church

March 19, 2018:
Inner Mongolia: Underground priest has to leave the community and work as a farmer
Underground priest Ding Zhanmin, pastor in Beishaliang, Hohhot Diocese, Inner Mongolia, became - likeAsiaNews - Forced to leave his community on March 19 by officials from the Baotou District Religious Bureau and escorted to Xilin Gol, also Inner Mongolia, to work as a farmer. Representatives of the united front had repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to persuade Father Ding to join the Patriotic Association by means of threats and bribes. Father Ding's congregation was then to be taken over by the official church. According to testimony from witnesses around the priest - soAsiaNews - the underground priests would be urged to join the Patriotic Association; it is emphasized that "even the Holy See has made compromises".AsiaNews explains: "Since the so-called dialogue between China and the Holy See was initiated, the rumor has actually spread that membership in the Patriotic Association is no longer a problem." Many priests of the underground church would have the Holy See for clarification asked but received no answer. Priest Ding had already been arrested once in January 2012 along with four other priests (AsiaNews 26.03.).

March 25, 2018:
Chinese Catholics donate to disaster relief
After the first nationwide donation day on Palm Sunday 2017, the Chinese Catholics in 21 dioceses donated a total of 157,000 euros for disaster relief, the action supported by Jinde Charities was carried out again on Palm Sunday, March 25th. The funds raised last year were used by Jinde for materials, health care, psychological support and reconstruction in the regions of Hunan, Jilin, Guizhou and Hualien (Taiwan) (Fides April 6; see.China today 2017, No. 1, Chronicle, Catholic Church, March 18-29, 2017).

March 26, 2018:
Bishop Vincent Guo Xijin of Mindong briefly "taken away" by authorities
On the Monday of Holy Week, the “underground” bishop and his secretary were picked up at home after a conversation with the local religious office. He could return to the diocese one day later or at least before Easter. According to one ofUCAN According to the local source quoted, the authorities wanted to prevent Bishop Guo from celebrating the Chrism Mass with the priesthood of the diocese on Maundy Thursday, because this would have expressed his authority as a bishop. At Easter 2017, Bishop Guo was abducted for twenty days. In January there were not officially confirmed reports that the Vatican had asked Bishop Guo to resign as local bishop so that the ecclesiastically illegitimate Bishop of Mindong, Zhan Silu, could be recognized by the Pope (cf.China today 2018, No. 1, Information, Chronicle, Sino-Vatican Relations, January 22, 2018) (AsiaNews 03/27; nytimes.com 3.04 .;UCAN 28.03.).

From April 1, 2018:
In Henan Province, authorities are stopping minors from going to church in numerous places - pressure from schools
According to one ofAsiaNews The list published on April 20 (see below) in the diocese of Zhengzhou, government personnel fetched the children from the church on April 1 - Easter Sunday - during mass and have since guarded the church doors every Sunday to prevent children from entering. At Qixian Church in Kaifeng Diocese and Anyang Cathedral, posters were posted with the words “No access for minors”, and there, too, police check the church doors every Sunday. A Catholic kindergarten was also closed in the Diocese of Anyang and parents were asked to register their faith in their children's school. On April 18, children's Bibles were confiscated from a church in the Diocese of Xinxiang, according to the list.
According toUCAN Two elementary schools in Linzhou and Xingyang, Henan Province, sent an "open letter to all parents of elementary and middle school students in the city" on April 11th and 12th. With reference to the principle of the separation of education and religion, it stated that religion should not interfere in the education of citizens and public education; If organizations or individuals guide, support or allow minors to believe in a religion or to participate in religious activities, these are illegal acts (AsiaNews April 20; china.ucanews.com 04/17; rfa.org April 19;UCAN 18.,20.04.).

April 8, 2018:
Announcement by the official Catholic governing bodies of Henan Province bans religious education and church attendance for minors - “red line” that must be taken seriously
The official Catholic governing bodies - Patriotic Association [PV] and Ecclesiastical Affairs Commission - announced that all religious education for minors is forbidden throughout the province and believers are not allowed to take their children to church to worship. They referred to a demand made by the provincial government on April 3 to separate education and religion.In the past, these questions were mainly about "propaganda and education", but now they are a "red line" and must be taken seriously, otherwise the site in question will be closed and the status of the religious official annulled - it says in the April 8 circular addressed to the subordinate Catholic governing bodies of Henan (see wording in the documentation).Radio Free Asia interviewed Priest Wang Yuesheng, chairman of the Henan Primary; He first referred to the principle of the separation of education and religion, but then said when asked that they had already contacted the central government on this matter and that "we will not give up the fight for our rights" that the matter had two sides (AsiaNews 04/17; rfa.org/cantonese April 19).

April 20, 2018:
AsiaNews publishes appeal with list of attacks on Henan Catholic Church
The appeal for prayer for the Catholic Church in Henan, which was also circulated in the Catholic Chinese networks, listed attacks by the authorities on churches in 7 of the 10 dioceses in the province, over which too UCANreported. In addition to the ban on minors from going to church (entry dated April 1, 2018), this list included the following incidents: On April 17, a church in which an underground priest resided was demolished in the village of Hutuo, Gongyi city in the Luoyang diocese, the priest expelled and the underground tomb of the bishop of Luoyang, Li Hongye (1920–2011), located in Hutuo, destroyed. Several crosses in the province have been forcibly removed. A church in Puyang Diocese was destroyed, and officials in Qingfeng County forced community leaders to report the names and personal details of parishioners. In the diocese of Shangqiu, officials went from house to house and announced that one should no longer believe in a religion, those who believe in a religion should not go to school, the old people's allowance would be reduced, and who would still not be allowed to go to school obey, lose office and job - it said in the list.
On April 24, in Zhumadian Diocese (the eighth diocese of Henan from which assaults were reported), authorities sealed the Gadazhang Unregistered Catholic Church, whose pastor is officially registered. According to AsiaNews, the Catholic Church in Henan mainly exists underground, there is only one government-recognized bishop in the province, Bishop Zhang Yinlin of Anyang, several bishopric seats are vacant (AsiaNews April 20; china.ucanews.com April 17, 18, 19;UCAN 18.,20.,25.04.).

May 2018:
Dismantled statue of Chinese saint
Shortly after the statue of St. John Wu Wenyin was erected in a solemn ceremony attended by 35 priests and numerous believers on May 3, 2018 at the Dongdongtou Church in Yongnian Parish, Handan Diocese (Hebei Province), it had to be restored removed. Wu Wenyin was born in Dongdongtou Village in 1850 and was a catechist in the parish. He was tortured and executed during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. On October 1, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized him in Rome. He is the only saint in the Diocese of Handan.
After aUCAN known source, the authorities urged the church to dismantle the statue after the installation caused an uproar on the Internet. This is seen as a further step towards increasing reprisals (Fides 05/17;UCAN 24.05.).

May 15, 2018:
Largest cathedral in North China inaugurated
In Chengde, Hebei Province, a complex with a cathedral, sisters' convent and bishop's residence for Bishop Guo Jincai was built for US $ 11 million (70 million yuan). Bishop Guo has not yet been recognized by Rome, but is one of the seven bishops who are to be legitimized after the conclusion of a Sino-Vatican agreement. The majority of the cost of the 15,000 square meter complex was paid with funds from the Catholic Patriotic Association of Hebei Province and the Catholic Administrative Commission of Hebei. Hebei Province has 1 million Catholics and Chengde Diocese 30,000, most of them farmers.
Bishop Guo presided over the inauguration mass on May 15, at which ten bishops concelebrated: in addition to Bishop Guo, these were Bishop Ma Yinglin (chairman of the Bishops' Conference), who was also not recognized by Rome, as well as the recognized bishops Fang Xingyao, Shen Bin, Meng Qinglu, Fang Jianping, Li Shan, Pei Junmin and Yang Yongqiang (all vice presidents of the Patriotic Association and / or the Bishops' Conference) and Bishop Sun Jigen of Handan. Over 800 believers and government officials attended the ceremony.
After the fair, a symposium was held at which government officials - loudlyUCAN - Expressed the hope that the Diocese of Chengde under the leadership of Bishop Guo would continue to hold up the flag of "love for the country and the Church" and adhere to the principle of independence and promote Sinization. Bishop Guo said that the new complex reflected the party and government's care and support for patriotic religious communities and individuals. He assured that he would follow the guidelines of President Xi Jinping's socialist ideology in the new era (UCAN 25.05.).

16./17. May 2018:
"Five-year development outline for the Sinization of Catholicism" adopted by the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and Bishops' Conference
A “five-year development plan for the Sinization of Catholicism” (天主教 中国 化 五年 发展 纲要) was adopted after discussion by acclamation at the 4th Joint Meeting of those responsible for the 9th term of office of the Chinese Catholic “One Association One Conference”. It was evidently a revised version because changes were explained. Nothing else was known about the content of the document (chinacatholic.cn 22.05.).

June 5, 2018:
Authorities destroy Stations of the Cross in Anyang Diocese, Henan Province
The 14 stations of the cross made of slate with representations of the suffering of Jesus in Chinese style were forcibly removed by the authorities with excavators and heavy equipment. The Way of the Cross led to the pilgrimage site of Our Lady of Carmel, loudlyUCAN the only Catholic pilgrimage site in the province. The pilgrimage church in the village of Tianjiajing, Linzhou, was built in 1903-1905 by order of the then Vicar Apostolic of North Henan, Stefano Scarsella PIME, in gratitude for the protection from the dangers of the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. The church was badly damaged by the Japanese during World War II and during the Cultural Revolution. Later, many Catholics made pilgrimages to the site again, loudlyUCAN On July 16, 1986, there are said to have been around 10,000 pilgrims from 3 provinces, whereupon the government of Henan declared the pilgrimage site illegal in 1987 and only allowed a few pilgrims (AsiaNews 9.06.; UCAN 8.06.).

12./13. June 2018:
Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association and Bishops' Conference hold session on theological seminars
The aim of the “seminar work” session in Chengdu was to strengthen the “course of a doctrine of the independent, autonomous and self-governing church” at the seminaries - according to the report on the website of the two bodies. The first item on the agenda was an exchange of experiences on political education at the seminaries. Subsequently, one dealt with “vocational research” for the first time (in view of declining appointments). In addition to leading representatives of the official Catholic double body, those responsible from 9 Catholic theological seminaries (locations were not named) as well as representatives of the State Office of Religions and the United Front Department of the Central Committee took part in the meeting (chinacatholic.cn 20.06.)

June 15, 2018:
Bishop Josef Li Mingshu of Qingdao has passed away
The bishop of Qingdao Diocese in Shandong Province died at the age of 93. He was ordained bishop there on August 13, 2000 with the consent of the Vatican and the Chinese government. The diocese of Qingdao was the former mission area of ​​the Steyler missionaries. Today the diocese has 12 priests and a religious community with 12 sisters. The succession of Bishop Li has not yet been settled (see the obituary in the information).

Sino-Vatican Relations

22-23 March 2018:
Symposium "Christianity in the Chinese Society: Impact, Interaction and Inculturation" at the Papal Gregorian
Religious scholars from state academies and universities of the People's Republic of China, Western sinologists and theologians from the Pontifical Gregorian University and the Holy Spirit Seminary in Hong Kong gave lectures. Bishop Yang Xiaoting of Yulin, a vice chairman of the official Chinese Bishops' Conference, raised the issueUCAN the role model function of the Catholic Church in Chinese society through its social services, this is an important form of adaptation. Cardinal John Tong (Hong Kong) spoke in his welcome speech about the indispensability of dialogue. Attendees included Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Holy See Secretary for Relations with States (making a speech) and Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, who is reported to have led at least the last Vatican delegation to Beijing. According to the program, co-organizer was the Yuan Dao Study Society from Hong Kong, which in the past few years has already co-organized such conferences between Catholic and Chinese scholars and representatives of Chinese religious policy in Hong Kong and Beijing. In this composition and in this location, the symposium was certainly something new. It was soAmerica Magazine, "Seen by observers as a clear sign of the improvement in Sino-Vatican relations" (America Magazine 28.03.; Hong Kong Sunday Examiner 14.04.; UCAN28.04.; Vatican insider March 22; Poster and program of the conference).

End of March:
Media speculate about the "Easter Week Deal" between China and the Vatican
The speculation was based on a blog post by Cardinal Joseph Zen (Hong Kong), who wrote on March 15 that he would not give up until "the unfortunate signing happens, which is rumored to be on March 23 or 27" . On the other hand, the Chinese cited party affiliatesGlobal Times on March 28th, Bishop Guo Jincai said that an agreement could be signed by the end of this month, that the negotiations had reached the "final stage" and that the timing would depend on "technical issues". Guo is general secretary of the official Chinese bishops' conference and one of the seven bishops not recognized by the Pope.Global Times But also wrote that Wang Meixiu from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences does not share Guo's optimism, on the one hand because of the need for clarification on the question of illegitimate bishops, on the other hand, according to Wang, “legal and political changes in China must also be included in the considerations ". The newspaper referred to the new "Regulations for Religious Affairs" and the assumption of the tasks of the State Bureau for Religious Affairs by the party's united front department. On March 28, Lu Kang, spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry, said China was ready to meet the Vatican halfway to encourage constructive dialogue (CNN 1.04 .; globaltimes.cn 03/28;UCAN 21.03.; 4.04.).

March 29, 2018:
Holy See spokesman denies that the Vatican is about to sign an agreement with Beijing
Vatican News reported this, writing: “In response to questions from journalists on [Green] Thursday, Greg Burke said there was no 'imminent' agreement between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China. He added that Pope Francis was in 'constant contact' with his advisors on the situation of the Church in China and was following the progress that was being made in the dialogue between the two sides ”(Vatican News 29.03.).

April 3, 2018:
Sino-Vatican Relations at the press conference on the State Council's White Paper on Freedom of Belief
Many questions about the negotiations between Beijing and the Vatican were asked at the international press conference. Chen Zongrong and Xiao Hong, as representatives of the previous State Bureau for Religious Affairs, initially limited themselves to the line that there is an effective channel for dialogue and that China is ready to improve relations through constructive dialogue. As a journalist fromLianhe Zaobao (Singapore) said some Catholics felt restricted in their religious freedom because the government did not allow the Pope to appoint bishops in China, Chen said that China's constitution made clear provisions on this. “China's religious organizations and affairs are not subject to any foreign force. This means that foreign organs are not allowed to interfere in China's religious affairs in any way, ”said Chen. He could not agree that it restricts the freedom of religious belief “if we do not allow Rome to completely control the right to appoint bishops” (english.scio.gov.cn 3.04.).

April 30, 2018:
Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin in an interview withVatican insider
There are successes and setbacks in the dialogue with the Chinese government; it is important to keep going, said Parolin. “If the government were not communist and respected religious freedom, there would be no need to negotiate. Because then we would have what we want, ”said Parolin. The goal is "freedom for the Church so that she can lead a normal life that is also in unity with the Pope". It is fundamental that "the official community [of the Church in China], which is subject to the control of the government, and the so-called underground community - each going their own way today - are united". We hope to reach an agreement on the appointment of bishops, Parolin said. “And we hope that the agreement will then be respected. We have the will to do that and we hope that the Chinese government also has this will ”(www.lastampa.it/2018/04/30/vaticaninsider/parolin-a-great-sign-of-hope- for-korea-vuqyEwvhuYvkuoVZRUq6JN / pagina.html).

May 24, 2018:
Day of Prayer for the Church in China - Appeal of the Pope and pilgrimage numbers from Shanghai
On May 23rd, at the end of the general audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis said: “Tomorrow, May 24th, the annual feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary 'Help of Christians' will be celebrated. She is particularly venerated in the Sheshan Shrine in Shanghai, China. This occasion invites us to unite spiritually with all Catholic believers living in China. Let us pray for them to Our Lady that they will live the faith with generosity and peace and that they will be able to perform practical gestures of brotherhood, harmony and reconciliation in full communion with the Successor of Peter. Beloved Disciples of the Lord in China, the universal Church prays with and for you so that despite difficulties you may continue to entrust yourselves to God's will. Our Lady will never let you lack her help and protect you with her motherly love. "
According to an overview on the website of the Diocese of Shanghai, over 17,400 pilgrims from pre-registered pilgrimage groups were registered for the pilgrimage to the Marian Basilica on Mount Sheshan between April 29 and May 31, not counting their own diocesan pilgrimage on May 15. The registered groups of pilgrims came almost exclusively from Shanghai and the neighboring provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang - national pilgrimages are often prevented by the authorities. In the previous year, 19,300 pilgrims had come, including significantly more groups of pilgrims from more distant provinces (w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/audiences/2018/documents/papa-francesco_20180523_udienza-generale.html; catholicsh.org May 24; cf.China today 2017, No. 2, Chronicle, Sino-Vatican Relations, May 21 / May 24, 2017).

approx. 1st half of June 2018:
New round of Sino-Vatican talks in Rome - Vatican is also said to have expressed concerns about tightening Chinese religious policy
According to Reuters- Report from journalist Philip Pullella (who also interviewed Pope Francis in June) said "Vatican and diplomatic sources" on June 15 that the Vatican and Chinese delegations had met in Rome "in the last few days" to discuss the issue to speak of the appointments of bishops. The Vatican also expressed concern about the tightening of restrictions on religious practice, including the fact that "unaccompanied minors" (sic) in some regions access to churches is forbidden.
This is the first time the Vatican has leaked that it had raised issues of religious freedom in China in internal talks with Beijing.The last meeting of the two delegations took place in China in December 2017 (Reuters 15.06.).

June 20, 2018:
AsiaNews publishes passages from theReuters-Interview with Pope Francis
"Dialogue is a risk, but I prefer the risk of certain defeat not talking to each other"

AsiaNews published the China-related excerpt from the recording of the interview with Pope Francis held by Philip Pullella, which was therefore held two days earlier and byReuters was not published in this form. We quote here in our own translationAsiaNews:
Q. How is the rapprochement with China?
A. We are at a good point, but relations with China are three different routes. First there is the official route, the Chinese delegation comes here, there is a meeting, and then the Vatican delegation goes to China. Relationships are good and we've managed to do good things. That is the official dialogue.
Then there is a second dialogue everyone with everyone. 'I am the cousin of the minister who told me to say that ...' and there is always an answer. 'Yes, well, let's go forward.' These side channels are open, say, on a human level, and we don't want to burn them up. We can see goodwill from both the Holy See and the Chinese government.
The third path, which for me is the most important in approaching China, is cultural. Some priests work in Chinese universities. Then there is the culture, like the exhibition we did in the Vatican and in China. It's the traditional way, like that of the great, like Matteo Ricci.
I like to think of relations with China as this, with many facets, not just the official diplomatic ones, because the other two are very enriching. I believe things are going well. In your question, you mentioned two steps forward and one step back. I believe the Chinese deserve the Nobel Prize for patience because they are good at it, they can wait, the time is theirs, and they have centuries of culture ... They are wise people, very wise. I have a lot of respect for China.
Q. How do you respond to concerns like Cardinal Zen?