BEIJING: China ordained a new bishop on Thursday in its state-approved Catholic church, a move that could aggravate efforts to mend ties with the Vatican.
Wang Renlei, the vicar general of the Xuzhou diocese in the eastern province of Jiangsu, was ordained in a ceremony that lasted for two hours and was attended by about 1,000 people, said Liu Bainian, the deputy chairman of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.
Well. Coming in a country that for years has actively promoted atheism and persecuted other religious groups that did meet official government standards, this is quite a feat. But, when we realize that this is just the third bishop officially allowed for one billion people, it really doesn't mean that much. Nevertheless, we'll be generous about it and count it as a step forward.
In the midst of all of this hoopla and fanfare, we see that the Chinese government has executed a minister and 11 of his followers.
BEIJING: The leader of a Chinese Christian sect and at least 11 of his subordinates have been executed for ordering the murder of members of a rival religious group, as authorities sought to suppress big underground churches that they deemed cults.
Xu Shuangfu, the founder of the Three Grades of Servants Church, which once claimed over a million followers in China, was put to death last week, his lawyer, Li Heping said.
It goes on to say that the Chinese government's charge was murder. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't; but, my gut tells me it wasn't.
Li argues that the evidence against Xu was based entirely on the confessions of fellow sect members, whom he says were tortured to admit to crimes and implicate Xu.
My thinking is, it could very well be that the Chinese government had something to do with the Eastern Lightening killings. By doing that, it trumped up a case against the Three Grades of Servants, which the government felt was much more of a threat. Killing the lesser knowns to get at the better knowns, sends a strong message to all the knowns that dare to defy the wishes of the state. So, if we use a bit of reason here, we can see they killed two birds with one stone here. (No pun intended.)
The persecution of these groups serves as one step. The execution of their members is another. Unfortunately, these are steps backward. So, to my good friends that challenged me on my earlier statements on the Chinese system vs. the American one, this kind of thing is precisely why I stand by one of my earlier statements:
I cannot see how their system is better. I wouldn't trade what I have here, for what they have there.