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Benedict XVI’s letter to Chinese Christians removed from the Internet

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The Chinese government’s censorship on the Internet has also extended to religion and the letter that on 30 June was sent to the faithful of that country by the Pope and – published on various websites – has been gradually withdrawn from the Internet.

According to Asia News, the sites that decided to publish the letter, mostly linked to the Catholic religion, were visited by representatives of the Beijing government who «convinced» them to withdraw the document from the network.

The publication of the letter sent by the Pope to the Chinese faithful was followed with some expectation, since the Asian government’s attempts to intervene in the management of the Catholic church in the country are well known.

Now they are members of that same church confirming the Government’s effort to control the dissemination of the missive where Benedict XVI recognized progress, with regard to the freedom of the Catholic church in the country, but called for more independence and launched an appeal for reconciliation.

Along with the removal of the letter from the sites where it became available after the Chinese translation, the Vatican guarantees that in the meantime it is also no longer possible to access its website in the country.

The Chinese government’s Internet policies have been followed internationally as they represent a strong political effort to control the use of this tool.

The authors of content considered against the regime have been severely punished by the authorities with arrests and punishments that reach the death penalty.

Relations between the Vatican and China have been severed since 1951 because the country’s political regime prohibits the appointment of bishops by the Vatican and maintains a «patriotic state» church.

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