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ICC Note: Mainstream U.S. media agrees that the Chinese government has overstepped its authority, abusing the human rights and religious freedom of China’s citizens.  This article goes on to say that President Obama must take advantage of the visit of Chinese President Xi to raise this critical issue, which has seriously affected our bilateral relationship.

By WP Editorial Board

09/05/2015 China (Washington Post)

ALTHOUGH THE Chinese Communist Party is officially atheist, the country’s constitution allows “freedom of religious belief,” and the practice of formal religion has expanded in China, in fits and starts, for decades. The number of Chinese professing Christianity, in particular — estimated at more than 70 million — is rising so dramatically that, by some projections, China will have the world’s biggest Christian population by 2030.

The profusion of churches seems to have unnerved some Chinese authorities, who have undertaken a campaign to tear down hundreds of crosses, and in some instances entire churches, in Zhejiang, a coastal province where a prosperous Christian community and large numbers of churches have taken root.

The government’s move against churches, after years of widening religious tolerance, reflects its continued resistance to the rule of law and, with it, the potential for any challenge to the Communist Party’s monolithic grip on political power.

The government’s insecurity revealed itself in late August when a highly respected rights lawyer, Zhang Kai, who had taken up the cases of dozens of churches in Zhejiang protesting the demolition of their crosses, was detained by police. The fact that he is being held in secretive detention, with no access to his lawyers, colleagues or family, and on trumped-up charges — endangering state security and “assembling a crowd to disrupt social order” — only underscores the authorities’ fretfulness.

What’s more, Mr. Zhang was seized by police just a day before he was to meet with U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom David N. Saperstein, who was in China partly to discuss the travails of Christian churches. The detention came less than a month before Chinese President Xi Jinping is to meet President Obama at a U.S.-China summit, so it also represents a slap at the United States. Mr. Obama should not let it go unmentioned when Mr. Xi visits Washington.

[Full Story]