The US State Department has criticized the Chinese government for reportedly shutting down a Christian church service held in memory of the nearly 70,000 people who died in a 2008 earthquake.
According to TheHill.com, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement:
"We are deeply concerned by the Chinese government’s reported harassment of the Early Rain Covenant Church, in Chengdu, Sichuan Province after they planned to hold a memorial service on May 12, for the victims of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.”
"The United States government joins the people of China in mourning the loss of tens of thousands of lives in the tragedy, and notes the value of memorializing their lives and calling for full accountability to prevent or mitigate future disasters," Nauert continued.
Nauert’s statement also called on Chinese government officials to protect the religious freedom of its citizens:
"Regarding reports that Chinese authorities confiscated Bibles, we call on China to uphold its international commitments to promote respect for religious freedom for all persons."
Over 200 Chinese Christians were reportedly arrested, and three have yet to be released, according to the church’s pastor, Wang Yi.
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Publication date: May 16, 2018