The Chinese government is at it once again – this time, launching the biggest crackdown against human rights advocates since 1983.
That according to Bob Fu, president of the Midland, Texas-based China Aid organization.
This latest wave of persecution is extensive and involves the arrest, detention, interrogation, and even disappearance of more than 200 attorneys and human rights workers in more than 24 Chinese provinces and municipalities.
The roundup began last July 9 with the arrest of human rights lawyer Wang Yu. After she disappeared, more than 100 attorneys signed a letter demanding to know her whereabouts. That’s when many of the signatories were targeted and some also “went missing.”
The Chinese government contends many of the lawyers have received support from foreigners and are involved in a plot to cause public disturbance throughout China.
Why is the crackdown happening now? The new National Security Law grants officials more flexibility in targeting perceived threats to Chinese Communist Party rule. Also, the recent economic downturn may be to blame. Party officials fear a few lawyers–and perhaps Christians–could easily stir up public sentiment against the government at a time when many citizens are suffering from unemployment, or financial loss.
In addition to the crackdown against the human rights lawyers (many have taken religious liberties cases) is a continued crackdown against government registered, Three Self Patriotic Churches. Several have been destroyed in recent months, and at least 1,200 (according to China Aid sources) have been forced to remove crosses from atop their church buildings.
However, there is some good news. The Chinese church will continue to grow despite–and because of–this latest round of persecution. Keep praying–and watch my interview with Bob Fu to learn more.