China Cracks Down On Christians At Outdoor Service Dozens of Chinese Christians have been detained after they worshiped outdoors. The action comes just days after the U.S. expressed concerns at a growing crackdown across China. Beijing has shrugged off the accusation, saying the U.S. is using human rights as a political instrument to defame other nations.
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China Cracks Down On Christians At Outdoor Service

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China Cracks Down On Christians At Outdoor Service

China Cracks Down On Christians At Outdoor Service

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

NPR's Louisa Lim, in Beijing, was there when the Christians were arrested.

LOUISA LIM: So the worshippers split into smaller groups. About 20 people walked to a nearby park, where they began their service.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

LIM: They sang of painful dark despair, and how faith had given them hope. More people kept arriving and joining the others. One young man, who asked that his name not be used for his own safety, came with news that five friends had been detained.

INSKEEP: (Through Translator) At first I wasn't scared. Now that I've heard people are being taken away, I am a bit scared.

LIM: As the worshippers prayed, a policeman appeared in the distance, speaking into his walkie-talkie. I asked the young man whether it would be worth it, getting arrested for this.

INSKEEP: (Through Translator) As long as they don't hang any other labels on me. If they say I was detained for my faith, it would be worth it. But if they say there are other political factors that would be far from the truth.

LIM: Unidentified Man #1: (Foreign language spoken)

LIM: Unidentified Man #2: (Foreign language spoken)

LIM: Unidentified Woman #1: (Foreign language spoken)

LIM: Unidentified Man #3: (Foreign language spoken)

LIM: But in the week that China shrugged off the U.S. human rights report, those words seemed almost symbolic. Sam Zarifi from Amnesty International says the message is clear.

SAM ZARIFI: The gloves are off. There's no question that at this point, Chinese authorities are sending all signals to their own citizens, and at this point quite overtly to the U.S. and the outside world, that the Chinese authorities will simply not tolerate any group that is, not just critical, but does not directly obey the Chinese communist party's control.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

LIM: Louisa Lim, NPR News, Beijing.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

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