Damian Thompson on “China’s Vile Persecution Of Christians”

China’s vile persecution of Christians

Posted by Damian Thompson on 07 Apr 2008  at 12:17 
I’m thrilled that China’s Olympic propaganda stunt turned into such a fiasco yesterday and sorry that someone didn’t throw the torch into the Thames. But this is not just about Tibet: it would have been nice to see huge crowds of Christians yesterday, protesting at the vile persecution of believers in mainland China.
Defiant faith: Bishop John Han was imprisoned on 11 occasions
Take a look at this picture from a video on the website of the wonderful Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need. It shows the late Catholic Bishop John Han Dingxiang of Yong Nian defiantly holding a cross above the caged balcony in which he was imprisoned by the government hosting the Olympics.

ACN reported his death last year as follows: “In September 2007, the authorities knew Bishop Han was dying but insisted that nobody from the Church would be present at his bedside. Operating in secret, the authorities had his body cremated within hours of his death and took his remains by night to a public cemetery. His headstone omitted the word ‘Bishop’ from his name.”

The Vatican is currently deep in negotiations with Beijing to secure the recognition of the “unofficial” Chinese Catholic Church loyal to Rome. I hope the wool isn’t being pulled over its eyes. Certainly, it’s convenient for the Chinese authorities that martyrs and dissidents such as Bishop Han are, shall we say, out of the way.

John Han had spent years doing forced labour before being ordained priest in 1986 and bishop three years later. He was imprisoned on 11 separate occasions and spent about 35 years of his life in prison, labour camp or house arrest.

I wonder what he would have made of Sunday’s events. I like to think he would have been cheering on the protestors.

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