This is the patron saint of gangsters and police
Hong Kong has a varied cast of ancient deities.  But there is one god so popular that both police and gangsters worship him: Duke Guan, also known as Emperor Guan. He is based on a historical figure, named Guan Yu. Duke Guan features prominently in Hong Kong popular culture, from the famous Young and Dangerous film series to TV dramas. Shrines to Duke Guan are commonly found in restaurants, shops, police stations and even thieves’ lairs. There are also numerous martial temples and shrines dedicated to the deity in Hong Kong, as well as across mainland China, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.  The New Territories, an area in Hong Kong, alone has 13 temples dedicated to Duke Guan, compare
This is the patron saint of gangsters and police
Decoded app exposes how China carries out ‘predictive policing’ in Xinjiang
A report by Human Rights Watch has revealed details of a mobile app being used by authorities in China’s far western region of Xinjiang to identify target groups for enhanced surveillance and monitoring. The document, released on Thursday, sheds light on the technologies – from big data analysis to facial recognition and artificial intelligence – employed by China’s security agencies to build an extensive system for social control in the predominantly Muslim region. The report said it provides “a detailed description and analysis of a mobile app that police and other officials use to communicate with the Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP)”. The app analyzes information about local p
Decoded app exposes how China carries out ‘predictive policing’ in Xinjiang
Beijing says the Dalai Lama must reincarnate according to Chinese laws
Tibetan Buddhist belief holds that when the Dalai Lama dies, his soul will be reincarnated in the body of a child. China has no problem with that – as long as it’s the right kind of law-abiding child, its foreign ministry said on Tuesday. Historically, successive Dalai Lamas have been found within the borders of Tibet. But that tradition could be coming to an end, since the current spiritual leader of the Tibetan people left China following a 1959 uprising against Communist Party rule. The 14th Dalai Lama, now living in exile in India, said in an interview with Reuters this week that the Chinese government would try to find a successor it approves of. But the 83-year-old said that a truly p
Beijing says the Dalai Lama must reincarnate according to Chinese laws
‘One more Christian, one less Chinese’: official vows to rid faith of Western influences
A senior Chinese official who oversees state-sanctioned Christian churches has pledged to rid the Protestant faith in China of any Western “imprint,” calling for further “sinicization” of religion. Xu Xiaohong, chairman of the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, a government-controlled body that runs state-approved Protestant churches, on Monday attacked what Beijing perceived as “Western influence.” “[We] must recognize that Chinese churches are surnamed ‘China,’ not ‘the West’,” Xu told delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. “The actions by anti-China forces that attempt to affect our social stabi
‘One more Christian, one less Chinese’: official vows to rid faith of Western influences
China doubles down on bringing religions into line
Beijing has vowed to push ahead with its controversial campaign to “Sinicize religion,” defying growing international condemnation over its sweeping crackdown on Muslims and Christians. Delivering his annual government work report on Tuesday, Premier Li Keqiang told the national legislature that “we must fully implement the [Communist] Party’s fundamental policy on religious affairs and uphold the Sinicization of religion in China.” The push to “Sinicize religion” – introduced by President Xi Jinping in 2015 – is an attempt by the officially atheist party to bring religions under its absolute control and into line with Chinese culture. The campaign has coincided with an intensified clampdow
China doubles down on bringing religions into line
Inside the Sunning of the Buddha
The Monlam Great Prayer Festival starts three days after the Lunar New Year, which fell this year on February 5, and takes place over almost two weeks. It is considered the most important event of the calendar for Tibetan Buddhists. Every year thousands of visitors and worshippers gather at the Labrang Monastery in Xiahe, in China’s northwestern Gansu province. The monastery, the largest of the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism, is home to China’s greatest number of monks outside of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The celebrations include the Sunning of the Buddha ceremony, in which a vast thangka painting of a Buddha is unveiled on a mountainside for all to see.
Inside the Sunning of the Buddha
Christmas is banned? Beijing certainly didn’t get the memo
China’s relationship with Christmas is complicated. While a handful of cities reportedly banned Christmas celebrations this year, Christmas festivities were on elaborate display in bigger cities like Shanghai and Beijing on Tuesday. Still, Christmas in China 2018 is less cheerful and bustling than in recent years, as the ruling Communist Party stresses “traditional Chinese values and cultures” amid a growing tide of cultural nationalism stoked by the country’s trade war with the United States. And celebrating Christmas religiously was more challenging for Christians from China’s “underground” churches, which have been hit by a broad crackdown on unofficial places of worship.  Christmas decor
Christmas is banned? Beijing certainly didn’t get the memo
Christmas is canceled in a northern Chinese city
Bucking a trend in China among young people in celebrating Christmas, a Chinese city has declared Santa Claus persona non grata. Officials in Langfang, in the northern province of Hebei, have ordered the removal of all festive decorations and banned shops from holding Christmas sales to “maintain stability,” according to a notice. In cracking down on Christmas celebration, the city takes issue apparently with its religious association, not the festive activities. The city’s notice called on the public to report anyone “spreading religion” in parks and squares.  The statement, which has been widely circulated on social media, did not specify Christianity. But it would be in line with the Chin
Christmas is canceled in a northern Chinese city
Winter is coming for China’s underground Christian churches
The sound of footsteps storming up the stairs jolted the children’s Bible class. Outside, roads leading to the church were cordoned off. The Rongguili Church, in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, is widely known as the beacon of faith in south China, attracting thousands of worshippers of all ages every week. But on a recent morning, it was a lightning rod for the Chinese government’s toughening crackdown on unauthorized religious activities. On Saturday morning, more than 60 police officers and officials stormed the children’s Bible class and began a raid on the church that continued well into the evening. The Rongguili Church was the third prominent unregistered Protestant church to
Winter is coming for China’s underground Christian churches
Inside the city of nuns
High in the mountains of China’s western Sichuan province, more than 10,000 Buddhist monks and nuns live in the austere surroundings of the Yarchen Gar monastery. Here, they follow the teachings of leader Asong Tulku, who counsels meditation and atonement for his disciples, and is revered as a living Buddha. Established in 1985 by Lama Achuk Rinpoche, Yarchen Gar – officially known as Yaqing Orgyan – is located in Baiyu county, in western Sichuan’s Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. At 13,000 feet above sea level, the difficult-to-reach monastery boasts one of the largest congrega­tions of monks and nuns in the world. Because most of the devout here are women, Yarchen Gar has been called t
Inside the city of nuns