Friday, October 31, 2008


Pictured: The 1,500-ton Catholic church moved 248 ft and rotated 90 degrees to make way for a new road.

Rather than demolish St Dominic's Cathedral in Fuzhou, China, engineers have moved it 75 meters from its original position and turned its accommodation for priests 90 degrees.

Part of the 1,500-tonne church building was taken 75.6 meters from its original position to move it out of the way of a construction project.

The accommodation for priests will then be rotated 90 degrees to make way for a new road. Engineers set the two storey building on 400 wheels to run on rails before gradually turning it.
Planners decided on the action rather than demolish the Catholic cathedral in the Fujian provincial capital.


Dr Zhou Tianyong

The head of China's Communist Party central leadership school has said the country will have a form of democracy by 2020 with an increased role for civil society including religious groups and other NGOs.

The Age reports Zhou Tianyong, 50, deputy head of research at the powerful Central Party School, the party's top think tank and training academy for leaders, told London's Daily Telegraph that a 12-year plan to establish democratic reforms including "public democratic involvement at all government levels" and "extensive public participation" in policymaking and drafting of legislation was on track.

Dr Zhou, an eminent economics professor noted within the party for his liberal views, said the Government was determined to reform despite setbacks caused by "infighting" within government bureaucracies.

He also said a transition to democracy was "essential for relations with Taiwan and a possible peaceful reunification."

Dr Zhou also predicted an increased role for civil society as represented by non-government organizations, charities and business and religious groups.

He was a key author of the Party School's Storming the Fortress report, released in February, which warned that China faced social and economic instability if the Communist Party did not reform itself, curb corruption and heed the public's desire for greater democracy.

The report called for systematic liberalization including greater media and religious freedom by 2020.

The document was finished after the 17th Party Congress late last year, at which President Hu Jintao promised more extensive democratic and human rights, but was not released until this year.

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