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China Launches Major Crackdown on House Churches, Labels Them a 'Cult'

Contact: Tracy Oliver, Media Coordinator, 267-210-8278, Tracy@ChinaAid.org; Mark Shan, Spokesperson, 617-943-1340, Mark@ChinaAid.org; both with ChinaAid, 888-889-7757, info@ChinaAid.org; www.ChinaAid.org, www.MonitorChina.org


BEIJING,  Dec. 7, 2010 /Christian Newswire/ -- In a grave and troubling setback, Chinese authorities last week launched a crackdown directed at Christians who belong to China's vast network of unregistered house churches, calling a "cult" one of the fastest-growing populations of Christians in the world, according to top-secret information obtained by ChinaAid Association.

The all-powerful Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party launched "Operation Deterrence" on Dec. 1. According to the Politburo's top-secret instructions, the crackdown on the largest component of the mainland Chinese church is to continue through March 2011, and the party's Central Committee for Comprehensive Management of Social order, the foot soldiers of China's security apparatus, have been notified to collect information about house churches throughout the country and turn these reports in to their superiors. A long "blacklist" of church leaders and influential believers reportedly has been drawn up.

Perhaps unbeknownst to China's atheist Communist leaders, the start of the crackdown coincides with Advent, marked by Christians worldwide as the season leading up to the celebration of the greatest historical event of Christianity: the birth of Jesus Christ, the son of God, to save mankind from sin and eternal damnation.

Operation Deterrence harks back to the previous era of hostilities and often brutal government persecution that had for decades driven unknown hundreds of thousands of believers "underground," worshipping in secret and fearing for their lives and freedom.

That could result in the more practical and immediate -- and chilling -- possibility  that the same measures that have long been used against practitioners of Falungong, which the Beijing regime labeled a cult in late 1999, can now be employed against house church Christians. The Chinese government's brutal systematic campaign against Falungong since July 1999 has earned it worldwide censure.

Beijing authorities very effectively turned the tide of public opinion against the non-violent, meditating Falungong practitioners by using the same re-labeling tactic they are now adopting with the house church Christians. Originally regarded as an apolitical qigong exercise group, Falungong was reclassified by the government as "an evil cult," "a sect" and "superstition," and a subsequent all-out government media campaign eroded any public opposition to the government's crackdown on Falungong.

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