MIDLAND, Texas, April 1, 2011 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Chinese government persecution of the church in China continued to worsen in 2010, the fifth straight year of escalating persecution, according to an annual report released Thursday by the Christian monitoring group ChinaAid Association.
Although the report was based on just 90 known cases of persecution of Christians and churches in China last year, ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu pointed out that these cases are just the tip of the iceberg. The Chinese government's stranglehold on information and the authoritarian regime's other security measures make getting a true picture of the extent of persecution impossible.
Nevertheless, the fact that the documented incidences of persecution came from all parts of China and involved people from all levels of society makes the report a useful guide.
The incidences of persecution rose nearly 17% from 77 cases in 2009, and the number of people persecuted increased by nearly 14 percent, from 2009's 2,935 people to last year's 3,343 people. The greatest increase was in the number of people detained, which soared by nearly 43%, from 389 to 556.
In addition to documenting an increase in both the incidences of persecution and the number of people persecuted in 2010, the report highlighted three new alarming trends. They were: full-scale suppression of Christian human rights lawyers groups; use of abuse, torture and mafia tactics; and a severe crackdown on official Three-Self Patriotic Movement churches that do not accept government control.
"Both the relentless persecution against those advocating for religious freedom and the central government's orchestrated campaign to forcibly prevent some 200 Chinese house church delegates from attending the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization show that China still has a long way to go toward true religious freedom and rule of law," said Fu, whose organization's main focus is Chinese government persecution of house churches.
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.