John Evans & Art Toalston

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Persecution: Chinese expand their tactics, report says

WASHINGTON (BP)--The Chinese government intensified its pressure against Christians in 2010 for a "fifth straight year of escalating persecution," according to ChinaAid Association, a Christian human rights organization based in Washington.       Beatings, torture, arrests, harassment and church demolitions are among the 90 recorded cases of persecution, a nearly 17 percent increase over 2009, according to a report released by ChinaAid on March 31. [QUOTE@left@180=In a new tactic, the Chinese government is punishing Three-Self Patriotic Movement Churches (official churches) that fail to submit to its complete control.]      The cases "are just the tip of the iceberg," according to a ChinaAid news release. "The Chinese government's stranglehold on information and the authoritarian regime's other security measures make getting a true picture of the extent of persecution impossible. Nevertheless, the fact that the documented incidences of persecution came from all parts of China and involved people from all levels of society makes the report a useful guide."       The report suggested the increase in persecution may have been triggered by the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiabao and the thwarted attendance by more than 200 delegates from Chinese house churches at the Lausanne Congress on Global Evangelization in South Africa.       The report stated that Chinese authorities, in addition to continuing to target house churches and their leaders in urban areas, are adopting three additional tactics of persecution: