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Archbishop of Canterbury - Copyright Heathcliff O'Malley/REX
World News

Archbishop of Canterbury will visit China

by Hannah Tooley

He will be visiting the country following an invitation from SARA (China State Administration for Religious Affairs) and CCC/TSPM (China Christian Council/National Committee of Three-Self Patriotic Association of the Protestant Churches in China).

The aim is to build up friendly relations with the Chinese Church, and learn about the various faith communities in the country.

The visit is significant not only because it is the Archbishop's first to the area, but also because the Chinese government has partly or totally demolished hundreds of churches in the country over recent years, and imprisoned several Christians who worship outside state-sanctioned churches.

Justin Welby said: "I am very much looking forward to my first visit to China, and seeing the remarkable economic developments and rapid growth of post-denominational Christianity which is taking place there.

"I look forward to building on the friendship with the Christian church in China established by my three predecessors, as well as meeting representatives of other faiths."

The programme is still being planned but is thought to include visits to Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing.

The Archbishop will meet with a senior member of the Chinese government in the capital and give a lecture at Beijing University on religion and business ethics. He will also meet religious leaders.

In Shanghai he will speak at a church, tour the Wai Gao Qiao clean power station, and visit a Buddhist temple. In the eastern city of Nanjing he will visit an autism centre run by the Amity Foundation, a Christian charity.

Justin Welby is also expected to give a lecture on leadership at a church there and visit a home for the elderly.

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