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Chinese house church seeks to sue government

ICC Note:

In a “test” of China’s claims of religious freedom, a house church is, for appears to be the first time, seeking to sue a local religious affairs authority for shutting down its services.

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9/19/08 China (ReutersIndia) A “house” church in China is seeking to sue a local religious affairs authority for shutting down a service in what activists called a breakthrough challenge.

“This is a test case about the extent of the religious freedom that the Chinese government says its people enjoy,” said Sharon Hom, executive director of the group.

The litigant, Wang Yi, said by telephone that this appeared to be the first time a house church had sought to press its rights in court and have a ban declared illegal.

China says it respects freedom of worship, but critics say in practice believers face harassment and sometimes detention. China has about 40 million active Christians, with numbers divided between the state-sanctioned and the underground and “house” churches.

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