MIDLAND, Texas, Feb. 2, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Chinese authorities stepped up their longstanding opposition to Christianity in China in 2011, China Aid Association said in its annual report released on Wednesday, citing figures that showed a dramatic worsening of government persecution of Christians and churches.
Those statistics included a 131.8% increase in the number of Christians detained for their religious beliefs. “This trend of worsening persecution has persisted for the past six years,” the group said, adding that Christians were not the only target.
“In the year just ended, China’s Communist regime has succeeded in creating an atmosphere of terror among the Chinese people — throughout the country but particularly in Beijing — by skirting the nation’s judicial system to punish its own citizens, in violation of the nation’s laws, through abduction, forced disappearance, torture, mentally and physically destructive abuse, treating family members as guilty-by-association, etc. In 2011, more than 100 influential lawyers and human rights activists — both Christians and non-Christians — had “disappeared,” or been “tortured, put under surveillance or sentenced,” the report said.
A new government practice in 2011 was targeting churches and individuals who were significantly impacting society — including the 1,000 member Shouwang Church in Beijing, which has been forced since April 2010 to hold worship services outdoors because government interference has made it impossible for them to buy or lease a meeting space, and leading legal activists such as constitutional law expert Dr. Fan Yafeng, who has been under house arrest since December 2010, and award-winning human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who “disappeared” into official custody for 20 months before being sent to a remote prison in far western China to serve a three-year sentence.
The report highlighted the worrying increase in the use of torture against detainees, citing a 33.3% increase over 2010 in the number of cases of abuse of all kinds, including torture.
ChinaAid, which was founded in 2002 to draw international attention to China’s gross human rights violations against house church Christians, monitors and reports on religious freedom violations in China. Drawing on a wide network of sources throughout the country, ChinaAid issues frequent news releases on cases of religious persecution in China. The Midland, Texas-based organization also assists victims of religious persecution to assert their rights and works to promote the rule of law in China.
Contact: Bob Fu, President, Bob@ChinaAid.org; Mark Shan, Spokesperson, Mark@ChinaAid.org; both with China Aid Association, 888-889-7757; 267-205-5210 cell; LA Office: Eddie Romero, 323-521-6777, ChinaAid.LA@gmail.com;www.ChinaAid.org; www.MonitorChina.org.