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World News

China cracks down on Christian funerals

Chinese authorities have put tight restrictions on Christians holding religious funerals for their loved ones.

A new law came into effect on 1st December in Pingyang County, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, bans religious customs and rituals during funerals.

It aims to "get rid of bad funeral customs and establish a scientific, civilized, and economical way of funerals."

Bitter Winter, a Chinese religious freedom magazine, reports that similar laws are being passed in other parts of China.  

One of the policies states that "clerical personnel are not allowed to participate in funerals," and only "no more than ten family members of the deceased are allowed to read scriptures or sing hymns in a low voice."

The daughter of a Christian man told the magazine that police stormed into her father's funeral and arrested her while she was praying for her mother.

It's been reported she was released from jail only after her dad was buried without a Christian funeral two days later. 

An elder of a Three-self church in Henan's Shangqiu city, where the woman's father attended, said: "Pastors can only sneak into believers' homes for a hurried prayer. The situation is quite adverse, and some believers don't even dare to accompany the deceased to the graveyard."

In 2018, local authorities in Henan passed a law which bans groups such as choirs and orchestras from holding religious activities outside places of worship. 

The magazine said such a law is used to intrude on Christian weddings and funerals. 

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