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Ricky Wong/REX
World News

Charity voices concern for Chinese Christians

by Hannah Tooley

The government released a report in June entitled "Progress in China's Human Rights in 2014", by the Information Office of China's State Council in Beijing.

It covered a range of topics including the campaign to remove Christian crosses from churches around the country.

ICC says it has received information contrary to the government report, saying it gets almost daily reports detailing the government's destruction of churches and the forced removal of crosses from hundreds of others, despite the strong public response of local Christians.

The charity stresses that the report does not mention of the Chinese government targeting meetings of Chinese believers, including services of China's government-controlled and recognised "Three Self Patriotic Church."

ICC claims that the persecution and harassment of Christians has increased over the last 12 months.

The "Three Rectifications and One Demolition" campaign in Zhejiang Province was created to fight alleged "illegal structures," but the ICC says it has been used to justify the demolition of Christian churches and to remove Christian crosses.

China Aid estimates as many as 1000 crosses have been removed and approximately 50 churches destroyed in the Zhejiang campaign.

Chris Warner, ICC's Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said: "If China would spend as much time on actually improving its human rights record as it does on defending itself against legitimate criticism, it could greatly improve the lives of Chinese citizens who only seek rights guaranteed to them in the Chinese constitution.

"In recent months, Chinese Christians have been detained and sentenced to multi-year jail sentences for daring to question the legality of the harassment conducted by local authorities.

"This is the reality that China does not want to accept."

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