By Stoyan Zaimov for the Christian Post
China Aid has reported in its 2015 Annual Report of Religious and Human Rights Persecution in China that as many as 20,000 people suffered religious persecution by the Communist Party throughout the year. Despite imcreasing persecution, however, the number of Christians in the country continues to grow.
"In 2015, China Aid documented 634 cases of persecution in which 19,426 religious practitioners were persecuted, representing an 8.62 percent increase from 2014's 17,884 religious practitioners persecuted," the report stated.
"A number of factors led to the increases, including a widespread, barbaric round up of China's human rights legal professionals, activists and family members in July 2015," it added.
Christians have particularly been targeted in the ongoing church and rooftop-cross demolition campaign, which has taken down hundreds of crosses and places of worship in the past couple of years. Hundreds of Christians, including pastors and lawyers, have been arrested for speaking out against the ongoing persecution, though the Chinese government has claimed it is only tackling "building code" violations.
The demolition campaign has continued throughout 2016, and has led to several casualties such as the killing of a church leader's wife in central Henan province who was buried alive for standing up to the government-ordered demolition of a church.
China Aid warned that it is not only Christians who are being persecuted, noting that followers of Tibetan Buddhism and Islam "likely experienced even more intense government persecution" at the hands of the atheistic Communist Party.
Despite the hardships that Christians faced throughout the year, the report states that Christianity continues to grow.
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