Saturday, October 15, 2011

U.S. Congress Reports: 500 Members Of ‘Unregistered’ Church In China Under House Arrest

10/13/2011 China (CNS News) - In continuing religious freedom violations, the Chinese government placed 500 members of a Protestant church under house arrest between the fall of 2010 and the fall of 2011 reporting year, according to a Congress-mandated report on China released this week.

In April 2011, the report states, “public security authorities in Beijing repeatedly took into custody and placed under ‘soft detention’ members and leaders of the unregistered Shouwang Church as they attempted to worship outdoors.”

The incident occurred after the landlord of the building where the church meets was pressured by the government to prevent the congregation from accessing the property. As of April 29, all seven pastors of the church were still in custody, it says.

Releasing the Congressional-Executive Commission on China report at a press conference Wednesday, Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said it shows that “China’s leaders have tightened their grip on Chinese society and grown more aggressive in disregarding the very laws and international standards that they claim to uphold.”

Beijing tolerates Christian practice through “patriotic” movements, one Protestant and one Catholic.
“House churches” and other unregistered Protestant congregations that do not belong to the Three Self-Patriotic Movement (TSPM) have long faced harassment.

At least 40 unregistered Chinese bishops are in hiding, or in detention, home confinement or under surveillance, “or have disappeared under suspicious circumstances,” the report states.

“As a nation committed to freedom and democracy and the rule of law, the U.S. must redouble our efforts, work harder to hold China accountable for its actions and ensure that any push for enhanced economic ties with China does not come at the expense of our own economy, national security and our commitment to help the Chinese people secure human rights protections from their own government,” Smith said(Source).

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