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Christian persecution in China 'worst since Cultural Revolution'
A report by a Christian charity's found believers in China are being persecuted "at a frequency unseen since the Cultural Revolution".
China Aid's Annual Persecution Report for 2016 was referring to the time of political change when Mao Zedong attempted to eliminate Christian, traditional and capitalist elements of Chinese society between 1966-1976, resulting in the deaths of approximately 30 million people.
It's report found incidents of Christian persecution in China rose 20 per cent from 2015 to 2016, while the number of believers imprisoned went up by almost 150 per cent.
In addition, Christians being sentenced for crimes went up by a third and the number abused by authorities or citizens went up almost 70 per cent.
Persecution includes the forced demolition of churches and removal of church crosses, the execution, forced organ harvesting or imprisonment of Christians and lawyers supporting them, and only allowing Christianity within state-monitored churches - a policy forcing millions of believers to worship in houses or underground. Believers have also been fined and had their bibles confiscated.
China is currently ranked 39 in the 50 worst countries in the world for Christian persecution.
Bob Fu, President of China Aid, said: 'The key findings of what happened last year and the reports from these first two months of 2017 have shown the situation of religious freedom is rapidly deteriorating.
"We call upon both the persecuted faithful in China and the international community to be increasingly vigilant and persevere in facing this harsher year.
"China Aid will continue to walk closer with the persecuted and oppressed faithful in China by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused, and equipping the leaders."
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