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Published On: Mon, Apr 27th, 2015

China: Christian persecution risest to the highest level in a decade

Persecution of Christians in China reached its highest level in more than a decade last year as the government cracked down on church growth, according to a new U.S.-based advocacy group report.

China Aid Association (CAA) reported 572 cases of religious persecution in 2014, mostly Christian – a 300 percent increase over the previous year’s 143 cases.

The number of people affected in those cases jumped from 7,424 to 17,884 people. More than 1,592 were church leaders, compared with 800 the previous year, CAA reported.

“In 2014, the scope, depth, and intensity of persecution against religious practitioners far surpassed that of 2013,” China Aid reported. “The increase in government-sanctioned persecution against religious practitioners and human rights lawyers and advocates reflects the overall political transformation that is occurring within the Communist Party in China (CPC), namely an orchestrated effort to consolidate power and suppress dissent and any perceived threats to the Chinese government, including the growth of religion in China.”

Among church leaders persecuted, 449 were detained, compared with 54 the previous year, according to the report.

In 2014, the number of people sentenced for activity related to their faith reached 1,274, compared with just 12 the previous year.

Authorities last year engaged in 71 cases of verbal, mental or physical abuse of believers, an increase of 343.75 percent over the previous year’s figure of 16, CAA reported. In those instances, 242 people were abused, an increase of 384 percent compared with 2013’s figure of 140.

Chinese flag, Beijing, China. 2009 Photo/Daderot

Chinese flag, Beijing, China. 2009 Photo/Daderot

Overall, in six categories combined, numbers of religious persecution last year increased 152.74 percent compared with 2013, CAA reported.

Statistics indicated a crack-down growing over the last several years, as the overall figure was 250.85 percent worse than in 2012, 296.64 percent worse than in 2011, 465.19 percent worse than in 2010, 549.48 percent worse than in 2009, 673.31 percent worse than in 2008 and 1,331.76 percent worse than in 2007, according to CAA.

A government campaign to eradicate church buildings exceeding size limits in Zhejiang Province accounted for some of the increase in cases of persecution. The campaign included actions against church buildings belonging to the government-sanctioned Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM).

“In reality, the campaign indiscriminately removed and demolished crosses on church buildings and, in many cases, demolished the entire church building, regardless of whether the building had been previously approved by the Chinese government,” the CAA reported.

Communist authorities consistently cited “attacking cults” as a pretext for launching large-scale campaigns against Christians and house churches, the report said.

“The CPC’s handling of the majority of cases has disregarded the rule of law and standard legal procedures,” the report noted. “A large number of ‘anti-cult’ trials were conducted in secret, and many of those accused were not permitted to hire legal counsel and were forced to accept government-appointed lawyers. The Chinese government has also intimidated and pressured family members of those accused of so-called ‘cult activities’ to not raise their legal cases and incidents of persecution publicly; thus many remain unknown.”

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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