The Chinese government cracks down on ‘whistleblowing’ Christians.

By August 10, 2004

China (MNN)–A Chinese court has sentenced three Christians to up to three years in jail for leaking state secrets.

Voice of the Martyrs’ Nettleton explains what was really happening. “What they were actually doing was letting folks outside of China know what is happening to China’s Christians. That is considered, in China, by the Communist Party, to be a state secret. They don’t want the world to know that China is among the world’s worst persecutor of Christians.”

According to Nettleton, the government is alarmed at the rise of Christianity in China, in a communist and officially atheist nation.

Aside from trying to suppress believers, he says Beijing has been releasing a lot of misinformation. A report released August 5th cites government officials estimating the Christian population at only 16 million.

That’s far below the 80 to 100 million believers estimated by international mission agencies. As to why the numbers conflict, Nettleton says, “It is part of a massive misinformation campaign, by the Chinese government, about Christianity in China, about he Chinese church and about how they treat the Chinese church. The government’s best interest is to say that there are few, and they’re not mistreated. The truth is there are many and they are mistreated.”

Nettleton says in fact, the government suppression of the Gospel helps it flourish in the hardest pressed areas.

China is trying to enforce its insistence that Christians worship only in government-controlled ‘registered’ churches. Chinese officials deny violating religious freedoms, saying detained activists are criminals who violated Chinese law and threatened national security.

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