Christians Imprisoned in China for Religious Beliefs Up 131.8 Percent

ICC Note:

According to China Aid, Christians imprisoned in China for their religious beliefs is up 131.8 percent from last year. Arrests and disappearances have increased in the last year. Many underground pastors have been put under house arrest, forced to go into hiding, been sent to labor camps or put under constant surveillance. When will Christians be able to freely worship in China?   

12/4/2012 China (NewsLeader) – In China there are more than 1,000 labor camps. There are more Christians in jail for their faith in China than in any other country.

ChinaAid, an organization that tracks persecution of Chinese Protestants, reveals that in 2011, the number of Christians detained for their religious beliefs had soared 131.8 percent from 2010. Arrests and disappearances of Christians intensified immediately preceding the recent Party Congress in China.

The Cardinal Kung Foundation (which monitors persecution of Catholics) reports that the situation for Catholics in China is worse than it was five years ago, and states that almost all underground bishops (those loyal to the Vatican, as opposed to priests who are members of the government-controlled Patriotic Church) are either in jail, under house arrest, hiding, in labor camps or under severe surveillance.

Throughout communist rule in China, Roman Catholics have demonstrated that it is possible under the most difficult circumstances to follow one’s conscience. Who are some of the people who have resisted communist pressure to deny their faith during the communist era in China?

Father Beda Chang, S.J., was born in 1905 into a family whose ancestors for several generations had been devout Catholics. After refusing to accept communist ideology, he was arrested Aug. 9, 1951, and secretly persecuted. After three months’ imprisonment by communists, his health had been entirely destroyed. He died at 46.

On July 2, 1951, Father Hsiao Chin-Sheng was imprisoned at Peking. He was described by friends as having undergone “a good deal of torture and suffering.” Hsiao served prison terms of a total of 29 years. He died on June 2, 1992, at 78.

Shen Tuo-Ts’ai was a member of the Catholic Center. On April 12, 1958, authorities aggressively entered the Shen home and forced family members into face-to-face “struggle sessions.” He was sent to Ch’ing Hai province for labor reform, after which he became ill. He died of pneumonia on Nov. 26, 1958.

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