Just to show how brave the Catholics are for joining the events at Our Lady of Sheshan in Shanghai (see previous Article) here is an example of how the Chinese Government opposes these events. One gets the feeling that if restrictions are lifted from religious practices the faith will really blossom in China.
Police surrounded a Chinese village on Sunday to prevent pilgrims from joining a Catholic parade to honour the Virgin Mary, who locals say appeared in the village a century ago.
Authorities placed roadblocks on main roads leading to the small village of Donglu, just a few hours drive from Beijing, where locals – about 90 per cent of whom are Catholic – are fiercely devoted to Mary.
“Police don’t let any outsiders into the village during May… it’s been like that for years,” a local believer who identified herself as Maria said, standing by the towering spires of a church which dominates the village’s skyline.
Donglu’s Catholics believe that the Virgin Mary appeared in the sky above the village in 1900, terrifying attackers from the anti-foreign Boxer uprising, which also targeted Catholics, into an awestruck retreat.
“More than 100 years ago, everyone felt the power of Mary to protect the village, and each generation has passed on the story,” Maria said.
A police lock-down lasting the entire month of May, when celebrations dedicated to Mary reach their peak, was established in the 1990s, after tens of thousands of pilgrims from China and abroad gathered in the village, locals say.