Major Crackdown on Christians in China Reported

Monday, August 8, 2005

Monday, August 8, 2005
By BosNewsLife News Center

BEIJING, CHINA (BosNewsLife)-- Christian Freedom International (CFI), a leading human rights organization, expressed concern Monday, August 8, about "a major crackdown" on Christians in China.

"Communist China is--once again--cracking down on "house church" Christians," CFI said.

It quoted investigators as saying that since last May 22 police and Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers raided about 100 house churches in the Jilin Province. "Almost 600 house church believers were taken into custody. Many were released after hours of intense interrogation, but about 100 of the leaders are still held in different detention centers," CFI said.


Also in May, some 20 house church leaders were arrested while conducting a Bible training lass in Shanxi Province, the organization claimed. "On June 24 about 100 pastors from several Major cities including Kaifeng, Xinxiang and Jiaozuo City were taken away and detained at Qi County Detention Center. After hours of intense interrogation many pastors were eleased. Nine of them, including Pastor Chen Dongming, Pastor Wei and Pastor Jin whose first names are not available, are still jailed."

Human rights watchers say this is the tip of the iceberg after earlier reports that the Chinese Communist authorities had issued a secret order to crack down on house churches, the reference to Christians who worship outside the state-run churches. "This is also a wakeup call to the world community that it's time to seriously reconsider its appeasing policies toward the issue of China's religious freedom," said Bob Fu, president of China Aid Association, another advocacy group.


"Members of unregistered religious groups, including Protestant and Catholic groups, are subject to restrictions, including intimidation, harassment, and detention. In some localities, "underground" religious leaders report ongoing pressure either to register with the State Administration for Religious Activities (SARA, formerly known as the central Religious Affairs Bureau) or its provincial and local offices, still known as Religious Affairs Bureaus (RAB), " CFI added.

They also report facing pressure to be affiliated with and supervised by official party organizations linked to the legally recognized churches, CFI said. "Some local officials in Henan Province often mistreat unregistered Protestants, and some local officials in Hebei Province tightly controlled Catholics loyal to the Vatican."

The United States State Department has since 1999 designated China as a "country of particular concern" for religious freedom violations. Human rights groups say China's record on human rights will be a key test on whether it is able to organize the Olympic Games in 2008. CFI urged its supporters to write protest letters to the Embassy of the People's Republic of China 2300 Connecticut Ave NW Washington DC 20008.

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