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Religious Freedom Is China ‘s Paper Dove

Steve

ICC Note: A look at some of the recent persecutions that have happened in China .

1/25/07 China For full story….(ThreatsWatch.org) Even though China passed last year their Regulations on Religious Affairs – “regulations that state Chinese citizens have a constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of religious belief” – China ’s persecution of worshipers – particularly Christians – is experiencing a crescendo rather than recess. Fred Stakelbeck has a detailed look at the situation.

In China ’s Hebei province, the Catholic population has come under attack. In December, a Rome-based, Catholic news agency reported that nine priests of China ’s underground Roman Catholic Church were arrested during Christmas prayer celebrations for meeting in a location not sanctioned by Beijing . Earlier, the brutal beating and hospitalization of several nuns by a group of local police officials and street thugs provided another example of how religious freedoms continue to suffer under the oppressive fist of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

In addition to the recent arrests and beatings, six Catholic bishops have either disappeared or been detained over the past several months. Bishop Jia Zhiguo was detained by state officials for not keeping activities such as the celebration of the Mass and distribution of sacraments more “discreet.” Christian religious training schools have been raided in Jiangxi province in an effort to discourage membership and the publication of religious literature such as Bibles and their possession have been strictly prohibited.

This month, the arrest of three female Christian church leaders in northeastern China by about 30 police officers and security officials from the government’s Religious Affairs Bureau for violation of the government’s policy of permitting worship only in official churches gained international attention. The three women were subsequently sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention and submitted to involuntary “re-education.” Taken collectively, these are not innocuous actions, rather, they point to a continued trend by Beijing to suppress and intimidate.

While many Chinese military analysts have referred to the United States as a ‘Paper Tiger,’ religious freedom is clearly China ’s ‘Paper Dove.’