Asia

China's Christian Crackdown

Animosity toward unregistered religious activity intensified before the Olympics and isn't going to fade soon.

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"China's image as a global power, which it hoped to burnish by hosting the Olympic Games, was tarnished by its continued repression of unsanctioned and ethnic minority religious groups and other human rights advocates," says Scott Flipse, director of East Asia & Pacific programs at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

China Aid Association reports that while imprisonments dropped in 2007, the number of arrests went up by 6.6 percent. The group says authorities arrested 693 Protestants for affiliating with unregistered churches. More than three dozen received prison sentences of more than one year.

The 2007 incidents were relatively consistent with China's human rights record, says Flipse. But upcoming analysis of 2008 is likely to show a spike in rights violations, he says. Watchdog groups such as China Aid Association, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, and Compass Direct expected a crackdown on house churches in October. Flipse said, "Unsanctioned ...

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