The recently concluded fourteenth Congress of the Communist Party of China confirms that the country is moving toward a form of “social capitalism” that party cadres no doubt believe will lead their country into greater affluence than ever before. “Nei jin wai sung” a commonly used four-character phrase, best describes the reforms: economic release, political tightening.

But not all of China’s citizens are basking in the prospect of economic prosperity. What is not amplified in the international press is the fact that China remains politically entrenched in policies that repress individual freedoms. Most Chinese Christians would say that 1992 ranks as one of their more difficult periods since the Cultural Revolution ended in 1976.

For Wang Wai Yee (her name has been changed to protect her identity), a young Christian woman arrested September 8 for attending a house-church meeting, the economic reforms are meaningless.

After spending 12 exhausting days in a filthy prison cell, the days and nights marked by endless hours of interrogation, she was finally allowed to return home.

Some 120 believers arrested together with Wai Yee that fateful day in the village of Guo Fa in Central China, were reportedly beaten, intimidated, and threatened by Public Security Officers, who attacked the group en masse. Wai Yee was fortunate, considering that most of her fellow Christians may remain in detention for months—simply for having attended an unregistered church service.

When Wai Yee returned home in mid-September, it was to a house she barely recognized. The authorities had stripped her home bare of all her belongings. Furniture, clothing, blankets, and cooking utensils were gone. Items deemed of little worth had been carried outside and burned, ...

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