Beijing, Critic of Religion, to Build Religious Worship Center in Olympic Village

September 4, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: International Herald Tribune

Wire Service: AP

BEIJING: Beijing 2008 organizers say they plan to build a multi-faith worship center in the Olympic Village, a striking move in a country that heavily restricts all religious activity.

"All will be arranged in accordance with the practices ... adopted by other Olympic host cities," Liu Bainian, vice president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, was quoted as saying in the official China Daily newspaper.

Liu said Chinese Catholics were preparing to welcome visitors to churches in Beijing and the six other host cities with multi-lingual priests.

The Communist Party-controlled association governs China's Catholic churches, while other state-controlled bodies keep watch over the country's Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, and Protestants.

Worship in non-state recognized churches and temples is illegal and other religions such as Judaism have no official recognition.