In China, the recent thawing of relations between East and West has led to the re-emergence of the Christian Church after 30 years in virtual exile.
In China, the recent thawing of relations between East and West has led to the re-emergence of the Christian Church after 30 years in virtual exile. The authorities have invited back priests who were thrown out of the country after the Communist take-over in 1949, and Christians in Peking were allowed to celebrate Easter in their churches.
SYNOPSIS: One Easter service was held at the Church of the Immaculate Conception.
About five hundred Chinese and foreign Catholics attended the Mass.
The Church has estimated there are about two-and-a-half million Roman Catholics throughout China.
Shanghai radio has criticised the disgraced Gang of Four for persecuting religious believers and undermining the Communist Party's policy on religion.
The Cathedrals in Shanghai and Canton are being repaired ready for reopening.
During the Cultural Revolution, all religious organisations were abolished. Religious workers were persecuted,. churches and temples were smashed and large quantities of religious objects, books and records were destroyed The Church's valuable work in providing education, social and welfare services were disrupted.
Now religious patriotic organisations as they're called are being allowed to develop, and encouraged to assist China reach its new agricultural, scientific, industrial and military goals.
About two-hundred-and-fifty Catholics from twenty-seven countries - diplomatic staff, visiting delegations, and foreign students received the Communion at the end of the Mass. A similar Easter service was held in a protestant church in another part of the city.
The Vatican continues its policy of detente started by the late Pope Paul. Now after years of repeated appeals to China, its attempts at improving relations with the Communist World are showing signs of success in China.