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Chinese Christians Face Religious Issues

A report from Independent Television News looks at how religious freedom and tolerance issues are affecting China's growing Christian population.

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  • LINDSEY HILSUM, ITV News Correspondent:

    Some say this is Shangri La, Mount Meili, the holy mountain in China's Yunnan Province.

    Shangri La was a fictional Tibetan monastery run by a Catholic priest. In amongst the Buddhist stupas, beyond the lost horizon, there are today real Catholic communities. Christmas is coming, and mass is being held at the tiny church in Cigu.

    These are the descendants of Buddhist peasants who converted 150 years ago when European missionaries brought the Bible.

    It's not been easy. In Cigu village, the older people remember the Swiss missionary who was allegedly murdered by Buddhist monks in 1949, and more recently the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s, when the Chinese Communist Party suppressed all religion.

  • BAIDOLO CAI (through translator):

    During the Cultural Revolution, I could only pray in my heart. Everybody took bits and pieces from the church, and the church was destroyed. Priests were chased away. Two or three of us would gather and worship in secret at home.