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China orders towns to monitor and count Christians
China's central government is putting pressure on officials to track the number of Christians living in their towns, according to a report.
The Communist Party of China has been cracking down on religion in recent months and has intensified its measures by ordering local governments to closely supervise and monitor its residents who believe in God.
Officials are expected to report to the government on a regular basis. The consequences are severe if the numbers appear to have been doctored.
A local official from Henan province told Bitter Winter, a magazine on religious freedom and human rights in China, "the government is taking the matter of religion very seriously now. Every day, they ask us how many people in our village believe in God.
"If we say there aren't any believers, they claim that we're concealing what we know and failing to report it. If it is determined that we didn't report the situation truthfully, we will be punished."
Local officials are expected to report back to local government twice a day. Another local official said: "It's like our lives are being threatened. After reporting someone, we have to restrict their movements and report their situation every day."
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