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China's crackdown on Christian freedomThe 62-year-old Chinese shopkeeper had waited nearly his entire adult life to see his dream of building a church come true – a brick house with a sunny courtyard and spacious hall with room for 200 believers. Under President Xi Jinping, China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival. Experts and activists say as he consolidates his power, Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was put into the Chinese constitution in 1982 .Over the last several months, local governments across the country have shut down hundreds of private Christian "house churches".Officials once largely tolerated the unregistered Protestant house churches that sprang up independent of the official Christian Council, clamping down on some while allowing others to grow.The church inside a commercial building had served about 100 believers for years.
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