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Chinese campaigns to control Christianity worsened in 2019, watchdog says

Beijing, China, Mar 10, 2020 / 04:11 pm (CNA).- The Chinese government’s campaign to develop “religion with Chinese characteristics” has increased persecution of the country’s Christians, the human rights watchdog ChinaAid has said.

A 53-page report released Feb. 28 by the Texas-based NGO accuses Chinese officials of destroying churches, imposing strict regulations on religion, and encouraging both non-religious people and officially recognized churches to inform on illegal house churches.

Government policies “encourage reports of illegal religious activities, mainly targeting house churches,” it said.

“Encouraging snitching is a common method applied by the Chinese Communist Party to reinforce its rule,” said ChinaAid. “Authorities used money incentives to motivate non-believers to report house churches’ so-called ‘illegal religious activities’, attempting to produce conflicts and tension between non-Christians and Christians and increase the mistrust between the two people groups.”

Some regions of China have a ratings and review system which deducts points for non-compliant churches. If churches refuse to address violations or score under 50 points for two consecutive years, they can lose their registration as official religious sites. Christian churches that bear religious logos or bear crosses can lose five points, as can churches that do not fly the national flag.

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