Jews Said No Longer Persecuted - Meanwhile Christians
Beaten In China
LONDON (AP) --For the first time in two millennia, Jews around the world are free from official persecution, Britain's former chief rabbi said Monday.
Marking the 60th anniversary of Kristallnacht " when Nazis rampaged through Germany, arresting or killing Jews and destroying their property, Lord Jakobovitz said Jewish fortunes "have altogether been reversed'' in the years since the Holocaust.
"For the first time in over 2,000 years of the Jewish experience, there is not a single Jewish community anywhere in the world where Jews are officially persecuted because they are Jews,'' he told a gathering of Jews at Westminster Central Hall.
China Arrests Over 140 Underground Christians
BEIJING (AP) --Chinese police have arrested over 140 members of underground Christian churches and beaten their leaders in what one dissident says is a new crackdown on worship.
The underground Roman Catholic Church remains loyal to theVatican and rejects the state-approved Catholic Church, autonomous from Rome, that was set up by the Chinese government in the 1950s.
The worshippers were arrested at meetings in underground churches on Oct. 26 and Nov. 5 in two separate places in central Henan province, according to a letter from a church member.
After jailing the worshippers, police beat at least 13 who were identified as leaders, and their fate was unknown, said the letter, which was released Tuesday by the New York based 'Human Rights In China' group.
"These two acts of religious persecution are not isolated. Even greater religious persecution will unfold over the next two months," said the letter, written by David Zhang.
A spokeswoman for China's Religious Affairs Bureau, which oversees the religious police, said she had not heard of the arrests and had no immediate comment.
Although Chinese leaders have shown a willingness to discuss religious tolerance with President Clinton, U.N. human rights chief Mary Robinson and other western dignitaries, police intimidation of so-called 'house churches' persist.
China forbids worship outside of institutions approved by the state, in the case of Christians, the China Christian Council.
But as two decades of free market reforms discredited communist ideology, the number of religious believers in China has soared.
Although the China Christian Council claims worshippers number 11,000, estimates by missionaries and members of the unofficial church run as high as 80,000.
The meetings in Henan attracted followers from all over China,said the letter.
It said police surrounded the gathering on Oct. 26 in Liuwan village outside Wugang city and then suddenly attacked at night, taking away the 40 people, including Han Rongqin, Cheng Meiying and nine other leaders of the house church movement.
On Nov. 5, 60 miles to the northeast, police in Nanyang city broke up a house church service and arrested leaders Lu Lianquan and Zhang Fushan along with more than 100 worshippers.