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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

New churches in Beijing: First since 1949

The Seattle Times: Local News: New churches in China not seen as major shift

Courtesy Seattle Tmes and APVisitors to The Uygur Letter may sometimes wonder if it is about the Uygur and Tibetans or about China. This is particularly understandable especially given that the National People's Congress is in it's annual sessions and I am giving it plenty of coverage.

Being someone who is interested in the Uygur people of Xinjiang and the fate of the Tibetans one has to also be a "China Watcher" for obviously what the Government does and what trends in policy they implement effects the subjects of this missive.

But having that in mind it is all too easy to be a "China Basher" because many of their policies have acted to not only impinge on the Uygur peoples and the Tibetans human rights but have caused suffering, death and destruction to be visited upon them.

So I attempt to see the good as well as the bad and to be as impartial as possible. Here for example is an article that is a positive. For the first time since Mao came to power in 1949 two new Christian Churches are being built in Beijing, China's capital.

I have spoken at length in these pages of religious persecution and denial of basic religious freedoms especially as the concern the Uygur and the Tibetans. I have said there are two ways to practice religion in China, the Government's way or no way, but it can be practiced and that has to be a positive. Without foundations there can be no building.

So I applaud news of two new Churches in Beijing. I see it as being a significant because it is in Beijing and it is the first in over 50 years. It is certainly good for the Chinese whom, as the article quotes one Christian, are happy in relative terms with the situation now as compared with the Cultural Revolution period.

A journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step.