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China café

Religion in Chinese public life can be a delicate balancing act. My neighbours still managed to put on an early Christmas service—complete with a deafening brass band

By Mark Kitto   January 2009

A service for Emmanuel

The heart of Moganshan village sits in a bowl on the east side of the mountain, 30-odd metres below the summit. It is a large and natural amphitheatre, with excellent acoustics. So I heard the brass band long before I saw it, blasting out a tune that sounded uncannily similar to “When the Saints Come Marching in.” A big bass drum was driving the music, sometimes to a resounding conclusion, sometimes to a faltering stop in the middle of a bar. My curiosity was stirred.

When I reached a vantage point on Ridge Road I was…

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