.- Beijing officials have decided to build a church in the Olympic Village for religious services during the 2008 Olympic Games, following the long-standing tradition established by host countries. This will be done despite the usual restrictions on religious practices imposed by the Communist regime.
“Everything will be done according to the practices adopted by other Olympic cities,” said Liu Bainian, vice president of the Patriotic Catholic Association of China—the official state-run Church—in statements published by China Daily.
In addition to the church, Beijing has begun offering language courses to local pastors to enable them to celebrate Mass in other languages. Officials will also open a center for religious services in order to respond to the spiritual needs of Olympic athletes.
According to the newspaper, the government recently organized a several day-long seminar which was attended by 60 volunteers from the largest religious groups in the country: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Christianity.