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Chinese police ban children from Christmas in Baoding

Police stopped traffic around the Cathedral. Families with children were sent away from church. Everything connected to Christmas was banned.

The area of Baoding traditionally has a large number of Catholics. The city is located in Hebei province, not far from the capital Beijing.

This year the police adopted extreme security measures for Christmas. The seat of the diocese of Baoding usually hosts many faithful at Christmas. Because of the restrictions many were not able to participate in the celebration. The traffic restrictions were harsh by not letting any vehicles into the historical city center where the Cathedral of Saint Perter and Paul is located. All the shops in the area were forced to close; Christmas sales and promotions were not allowed.

The police did not let families with children in to the church. The excuse was that there are too many people and it is not safe for children. The police stayed not only outside but inside of the church as well.

At local school and universities the students received notice to stay away from Christmas celebrations, to stay on campus during Christmas and that everything connected to Christmas was prohibited.

The situation was similar in Donglü, a popular pilgrimage destination near Baoding. Police forces were stationed in the village even a week before Christmas.

Despite these actions the government sent Christmas greeting to the Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics and the Chinese Christian Council. These are the government approved bodies of Catholic and Protestant Christian groups. They are praised for their way of handling religious affairs based on the guidelines of Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party that promotes the syndication of religion.

Source: AsiaNews

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