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Monday, November 26, 2012

China: Weibo and Advancing Freedom of Religion or Belief

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

CHINA (ANS) -- “Popular Chinese microblog, Weibo, has been used by people to express religious beliefs and to voice criticisms, for example of some local government actions. Indeed, the government may be using Weibo to monitor the behavior of local authorities.”

Weibo logo

This was stated by Magda Hornemann, of Forum 18 News Service (, who added, “Freedom of religion or belief has been a popular topic as seen in discussions about connections between the Constitution and religious freedom.”

A Peking University scholar wrote: “Without religious freedom, there can't be a real Constitution!”

“But,” said Hornemann, an expert at Forum 18, “there seem to be different levels of interest in discussing religious freedom from Weibo users of different beliefs. And criticisms of the state, especially of central political leaders, are limited and indirect.

“There is no indication that Weibo has been used to mobilize collective action to address specific religious freedom violations.”

Hornemann stated, “But there is a freedom to express beliefs on Weibo that would have been unthinkable in China not very long ago. It appears that Weibo is advancing religious freedom in China to some extent. But it is not yet (if it ever will be) an effective means for people to mobilize to actively defend their rights to freedom of religion or belief.”

Dan Wooding, 71, who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 49 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS) and he hosts the weekly “Front Page Radio” show on the KWVE Radio Network in Southern California and which is also carried throughout the United States and around the world. Besides this, Wooding is a host for His Channel Live, which is carried via the Internet to some 192 countries. Dan recently received two top media awards -- the “Passion for the Persecuted” award from Open Doors US, and as one of the top “Newsmakers of 2011” from Plain Truth magazine. He is the author of some 45 books, the latest of which is “Caped Crusader: Rick Wakeman in the 1970s.” To order a copy, go to: Caped Crusader - Amazon

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