Chinese Police Attack Mega-Church, Jail Pastors

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Police in northern China attacked a Christian mega-church and jailed its pastors.

About 50,000 Chinese Christians worship at the eight-story Golden Lamp Church in Linfen.

In September, 400 police and hired hooligans attacked the church. They smashed doors and windows, and took computers, Bibles and church funds.

Several church members were hospitalized with serious injuries.

Today, the gates to the church's complex remained locked. A police armored vehicle is posted outside the perimeter of the complex frequently.

The closure of the mega-church is a sign that the Beijing government is trying to reign in the rapid spread of Christianity over the communist nation. Church leaders have called the crackdown the harshest they have seen in many years.

Even though the Chinese constitution guarantees freedom of religion, Christians must worship in churches operated by state-controlled organizations. One is for protestants, the other group is for Catholics.

However, more and more Chinese are deciding to choose their own churches, which are illegal and subject to harrassment by police.

Christians worshipping in China's indepentent churches are estimated to be at nearly 60 million, compared to about 20 million who choose to worship in the state-run church.

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