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Gone Without a Trace: Chinese Christians Pay a Price for Speaking Out


A number of Chinese Christians and the lawyers that represent them are being detained by the country's national government, with little or no word on their status. 

"People [have] disappeared," Andrew Boyd of Release International told Premier UK, a Christian publication.

"They are taken away, put in black detention centers or unregistered places," he said. "Nobody can get to them, they're families can't, they can't get legal support. They're put under continual pressure and in some cases, including Christian lawyers, they are tortured.

One Christian activist has been jailed for more than seven years for what the government calls crimes against the state.

Hu Shigen served as an elder at Holy Love Church in the city of Jinhua in the Zheijiang province. According to the state broadcaster CCTV, Shigen admitted to "subversion, damaging national security and harming social stability."

Boyd said that many times Christians are tortured and brutally beaten before they are brought out to make a televised confession.

It is a tactic that many expect will become more common as Christians speak against the communist regime.

Hu and many other Christians have been protesting the government's removal of church crosses. To date they have torn down close to 1,800 from churches in the Zheijang province.

"There have been Christian lawyers who have been speaking out on what they consider to be injustice within China, particularly the program of tearing down crosses," Boyd said.

Boyd explained that more than 300 lawyers have been arrested this year and at least 20 are still being detained.

"You're standing up and saying that the state is doing things wrong and the only reason you're doing it must be foreign influence," he said.

"Hu's ideology and his behaviors have seriously harmed the country and social stability," prosecutors said. They accuse Hu of working with others to "organize activities that manipulated public opinion and disturbed public order."

Boyd added that these claims are a move to silence any criticism of the government's program.

"For Christians who respond to Jesus Christ as Lord of Lords and King of Kings, the Communist Party in China cannot get their heads around that because they're atheist," he said.

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