China touts new churches, but rules crimp faithful

China touts new churches, but rules crimp faithful
Government still controls

By Michael A. Lev
Tribune foreign correspondent
Published March 3, 2004

“BEIJING — Government officials and local Christian leaders showed off plans Tuesday for the first new churches being built in the capital in more than 50 years–evidence, they said, of the freedom of worship that exists in China.

The full picture, however, is far more complex. While the government architect in charge of the projects spoke proudly of the sense of religious “aspiration” he hoped to evoke in his designs, there are many Christians in China who face harassment or persecution.

China’s communist government, which is officially atheistic, controls religion and permits Christians to worship only in state-run churches.”

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