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China: hundreds of churches and temples shut down

 Communist officials in China's eastern province of Zhejiang have shut down hundreds of temples and churches belonging to congregations worshipping outside the government's officially sanctioned religious groups, a human rights group has said. The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said 392 Buddhist temples and Christian churches were 'closed' as part of a campaign against "key members of illegal religious groups" in Zhejiang's Deqing county. The centre said four churches and 24 temples had been destroyed outright while 92 temples had been confiscated for use as "entertainment centres." It also reported that Liu Fenggan, a Christian, who had travelled to the province to look into the situation, had been detained by police. The centre did not give any other information about this. Communist China officially endorses religious freedom but only recognises the authority of state religious organisations. It broke off relations with the Vatican half a century ago. The Vatican estimates Communist China has about eight million Catholics loyal to the Holy See. There are an estimated five million in the State-backed Catholic Church. Source: MISNA