The world must “step up” to China in the name of religious freedom, a Catholic life peer has warned.
Lord David Alton of Liverpool raised concerns about the country’s “determined crackdown” of all unregistered churches after a lawyer revealed that authorities in the south-western Chinese province of Yunnan had jailed a group of Protestant Christians for up to 13 years for involvement in an “evil cult”.
According to defence attorney Xiao Yunyang the Christians had been found guilty of “using an evil cult to organise to undermine law enforcement”.
“The judges in Yunnan were really evil,” the lawyer told Radio Free Asia (RFA). “They didn’t pay any attention to the arguments that no illegal acts had been committed, and that there was no harm of any kind to society.”
Lord Alton warned that this particular report was an example of the country’s clampdown on unregistered churches before new regulations come into force on 1st February. He said China’s behaviour and the new regulations would challenge the British Government.
“It will be a real test of the British Government’s avowed commitment to freedom of religion and belief to see what steps they and Washington take to monitor this repression,” Lord Alton told The Universe.
Read more on this story in this week’s Universe.
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Picture: A retired bishop waits to hear confession from members of the congregation before Mass at an unofficial Catholic church in Youtong village, Hebei Province, China. (CNS photo/Thomas Peter, Reuters).