Christianity crackdown: Police in China raid SUMMER CAMP – ‘We are EXTREMELY concerned’

Friday, August 17, 2018
By Paul Martin

POLICE in China have stormed a Christian summer camp for young people as Beijing continues its heavy-handed crackdown against the faith.

Fri, Aug 17, 2018

Officers shut down the week-long youth retreat in the northern Gansu province and ordered two parish priests who were running the event to return home.

Around 80 children aged between 10 and 14 were taking part in the event in the city of Tianjin when police raided the campsite, Catholic news agency UCAN reports.

After police arrived, the summer camp’s two organisers were accused of holding an illegal Christian event and escorted from the campsite, according to UCAN.

Officials in Tianjin then requested two state-approved priests be dispatched from the government-controlled Catholic Church agency to take over the retreat.

A source told UCAN: “There are people in the government who want to break the current situation.

“They do not allow the underground church to exist and must convert it to be open.”

The closure of the camp comes as Beijing continues its attempts to suppress the Christian faith.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has labelled the religion “Western infiltration” which has the potential to undermine the ruling Communist party.

Officials have resorted to increasingly harsh measures to stop people practising the faith, including banning children from attending church services and limiting the availability of the Bible to a version approved by the state.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has condemned Beijing’s actions, which the organisation says has resulted in some congregations being forced to “sing patriotic, pro-Communist songs in church services and to fly the national flag”.

CSW’s chief executive Mervyn Thomas said: “We are extremely concerned about the restrictions on both registered and unregistered church Christians in China, and we further condemn the arbitrary detention of citizens in connection with their religion or belief, including Christians, Muslims and those of other faiths.”

The strict regulations over the Christian faith are mainly imposed in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province, where officials have branded the religion “not Chinese enough”.

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