A Chinese Christian refugee in New York, working with Christians in China, has compiled an extensive new archive documenting brutal religious persecution that has caused more than 100 deaths and thousands of injuries.

Activist Li Shi-xiong, head of the New York City-based Committee for Investigation on Persecution of Religion in China, believes these documents establish that communist rulers at the highest levels take an active role in persecuting house-church Christians. In the past, top leaders in China have blamed repression on overzealous local officials.

The New York committee timed its unveiling of the archive to influence President Bush during his February trip to China.

The archive is a 10-foot-high stack of 22,000 testimonies about persecution of Chinese Christians. It includes court transcripts, internal government documents, and photographs. Experts call it the largest collection ever assembled on the persecuted church in China.

"The secret documents alone are extremely rare and incredibly important," says Carol Hamrin, a star China analyst who recently retired from the State Department. The mammoth collection, which Li calls a "truth bomb," includes 5,000 detailed testimonies of Chinese Christians describing their arrests, interrogations, and jailings. Many accounts include photographs of the persecuted believers, including injuries they suffered while in custody. Some case files include official arrest and court records. The largest number of testimonies comes from central Henan Province, where persecution has dramatically escalated since 1999. Li's group has also collected partial reports on 17,000 others, mostly Christians, persecuted for their religious beliefs.

Li is also documenting the cases of 117 religious ...

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