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China Religious Freedom - 2003-05-21

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom listed China as a “country of particular concern” for the third time in its annual report. The report said the Chinese government remains a particularly severe violator of religious freedom, and groups and individuals within China continue to suffer from repression because of their religious beliefs. Bob Fu, director of the Association of Assistance to China, noted that thousands of people who were members of underground churches in China have been arrested and jailed in the past year, and many people who were released by courts were sent to labor camps. Human rights activist Harry Wu pointed out that education through labor has been used by the Chinese government to deal with those who refused to join the nation’s “patriot churches.” Wu said that prosperity in China will not last unless people’s freedom and rights are truly protected.