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(PHOTO: REUTERS/CHRIS BUCKLEY)Detainees stand behind prison gates in Nanyang on the outskirts of Beijing.
A Roman Catholic priest has warned that China's ultimate goal is "eliminate all religion," urging the Vatican to reconsider a major deal with the Communist government.
Father - Paul - Hebei - Province - Priest
Father Paul of Hebei province, as the priest was identified by International Christian Concern, was responding to discussions about how Chinese Catholics should feel about the deal, when he said that the current Chinese regime's "ultimate goal is to eliminate all religion."
As evidence, Paul pointed to the revised Regulations on Religious Affairs that were implemented in February, and have seen church closures, congregants being detained, Bibles burned, and students being forced to sign documents renouncing their faith.
Minorities - Muslims - Crackdowns - Detentions - Camps
Other religious minorities, including Muslims, have also faced widespread crackdowns, including detentions at so-called "re-educational" camps.
Paul's warnings, which came in response to a recent Religious Affairs Committee seminar, also pushed back against government officials who are demanding that Catholics regulate their religious activities to protect government interests.
Vatican - Deal - Question - Refers - Government
The controversial Vatican deal in question refers to allowing the Chinese government to select its own bishop candidates. The Holy See announced in September that it had reached a provisional agreement in order to end seven decades of conflict with China.
While supporters of the move have said it would lead to improved relations between the church and China, activists and other Christians have insisted that the Vatican shouldn't be legitimizing the atheistic regime.
CSW - Timing - Agreement - Government - Vatican
"CSW is deeply concerned about the timing of this provisional agreement between the Chinese government and the Vatican," said Christian Solidarity Worldwide's East Asia Team...
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