China: Christians arrested and sent to labour camps

 Residents of a village of the Guangxi province (southern China) yesterday accused the local police of arresting people found in possession of Bibles, and sending them to forced labour camps, as part of a campaign to eradicate "illegal religious organisations". A report containing these charges was sent by residents of the Xilin county to the France Press agency. They say that during the night of April 27, around 40 police officers stormed the villages inhabited by Christians, searching homes for Bibles and other religious material. The news is confirmed by the arrest reports, which indicate that three people of the villages of Weishan and Tianbao were taken from their homes and sentenced without trial to 18 months in a labour camp run by a company. After several unsuccessful attempts, on October 21 the families of the detained people were able to visit their loved ones. According to the Hong Kong-based Human rights information centre, the national campaign aimed at eliminating "illegal religious organisations" could end up affecting, directly or indirectly, 50-million Chinese. Religious communities in China are only tolerated if professed in structures recognised and controlled by the government. Source: MISNA

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