European Parliament to China: End Religious Repression

Asks for Information on Missing Bishops and Priests

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STRASBOURG, France, SEPT. 9, 2005 ( The European Parliament called on the Chinese government to put an end to religious repression and to provide information on missing bishops, priests and a Protestant pastor.

The joint resolution, adopted by a 78-5 vote on Thursday, asks that China respect international standards of human rights, as well as religious rights, guaranteeing democracy, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of the media and political and religious freedom in China.

It urged the Chinese government to abolish the difference between approved and non-approved worship communities, as suggested by the U.N. Commission on Religious Intolerance since 1994.

Among the Catholic clergy the European Parliament asked about, it listed these prelates:

— Bishop James Su Zhimin of Baoding
— Auxiliary Bishop Francis An Shuxin of Baoding
— Bishop Han Dingxian of Yongnian/Handan
— Bishop Cosma Shi Enxiang of Yixian
— Bishop Philip Zhao Zhendong of Xuanhua
— Bishop Shi Enxiang of Yixian

Also mentioned is pastor Zhang Rongliang, a founder of the 10-million-member Chinese Church for Christ, who was arrested Dec. 1.

The Parliament also calls for the unconditional release of all Chinese Catholics and other Christians incarcerated on account of their religious convictions, and that the authorities immediately cease all kinds of violence toward them.

The European Parliament invites the Council and the Commission to raise these issues of concern during the forthcoming EU-China human rights session, as part of a thorough assessment of its effectiveness.

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