Just a few short weeks ago, the U.S. State Department issued its International Religious Freedom Report for 2016, which revealed that communist China, though it claims its citizens enjoy religious freedoms, still maintains an exceedingly heavy hand over people of faith.
According to Breitbart, the report stated that China’s government routinely “physically abused, detained, arrested, tortured, sentenced to prison, or harassed adherents of both registered and unregistered religious groups.” That includes members of Christian congregations known as “house churches” that didn’t have permission from the government to operate or maintain places of worship.
Sadly, this is nothing new for a country where atheism is demanded of those who are ranking members of the Communist Party or military. Though the Obama administration had designated China as a “Country of Particular Concern” for religious rights abuses in 2016, no real sanctions were ever imposed. That emboldened the Chinese government to feel free to crack down on those with unapproved religious faiths.
An example of this crackdown on the faithful was recently seen in late August in the town of Wangcun, near the city of Changzi in the Shanxi province. Several priests and members of an unofficial Catholic church were injured after being beaten in a clash with security officers while stopping wrecking crews from demolishing an old church the congregation owned, according to AsiaNews.