(Clearwisdom.net) Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on May 2, 2007, that the US Commission on International Religious Freedom released its 2007 Annual Report on May 2. The report takes the Chinese Communist Party regime as a government of "particularly severe violation of religious freedom," and re-designated China as a CPC (country of particular concern) in 2007.

The report said that the CCP regime continued suppressing the Falun Gong spiritual movement in the past year. "Beginning with the banning of Falun Gong in 1999, the Chinese government has conducted a violent campaign against [slanderous words omitted]. Tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners have been sent to labor camps without trial or sent to mental health institutions for reeducation. Falun Gong practitioners claim that nearly 6,000 practitioners have been sent to prisons [note: the number is much higher] and over 3,000 have died while in police custody. Some human rights researchers estimate that Falun Gong adherents comprise up to half of the 250,000 officially recorded inmates in reeducation through labor camps. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture reported that Falun Gong practitioners make up two-thirds of the alleged victims of torture. Given the lack of judicial transparency, the number and treatment of Falun Gong practitioners in confinement is different to confirm."

Commissioner of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom Ms. Prodromou said at the press conference that the CCP regime continued to "engage in systematic and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief" in the past year.

This year, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom designated China as a "country of particular concern," or CPC. Since 1999, the Commission has recommended that China be designated as a "country of particular concern," or CPC. The State Department has followed the Commission's recommendations and named China a CPC. The basis of their decision is that "Every religious community in China continues to be subject to serious restrictions, state control, and repression. The most severe religious freedom abuses are directed against Tibetan Buddhists, Uighur Muslims, "underground" Roman Catholics, house church and unregistered Protestants, and spiritual groups such as the Falun Gong. These abuses involve imprisonment, torture, and other forms of ill treatment. Prominent religious leaders and others continue to be confined, imprisoned, tortured, "disappeared," and subjected to other forms of ill treatment on account of their religion or belief."

The Commission's report said that in recent years, the CCP regime has strengthened its strike on some independent religious organizations, and continued a campaign to root out what it has viewed as "foreign infiltration," a campaign that has, in some cases, targeted individuals and religious organizations that attempt to maintain affiliation with co-religionists abroad.

The report said that in the past year, the CCP regime began "a crackdown targeting human rights activists, lawyers and others who attempted to use the Chinese legal system to defend the rights of Chinese citizens, including those who sought to manifest their right to freedom of religion. For example, prominent civil rights attorney Gao Zhisheng was arrested on August 15, 2006 and held without charges for over a month. Gao was well known for his defense of religious leaders, his criticism of the crackdown on Falun Gong, and his outspoken open letters appealing to Chinese leaders to respect measures of their own law that protect human rights. On December 12, 2006, Gao Zhisheng, who had not been permitted to meet with his lawyer for the duration of his detention period, was tried in secret and forced to plead guilty on charges of incitement to subvert state power. His three-year sentence was eventually suspended and he was placed on probation for five years. During which time he will remain deprived of his political rights and under tight surveillance." Other human rights activists who have been subjected to harassment, imprisonment, interrogation and arrest included Guo Feixiong, Fan Yafeng, Teng Biao and Li Jingsong and others.

Fu Xiqiu, in charge of Christian China Aid Association headquartered in Midland in Texas, said that exchange activities between China's domestic religious people and religious organizations abroad were seriously interfered with in the past year. A well-known missionary from North America, a former Beijing University professor named Feng Bingcheng was arrested around April 25, 2006, when he gave sermon in Beijing, and subsequently deported.

Mr. Fu also said that there occurred violent incidents of destroying underground churches in Zhejiang and other places in the past year. On July 29, 2006, a relatively large church in Xiaoshan area was dismantled. Several thousand armed police, local police, people from judicial system and Bureau of Religious Affairs committed the violent act. More than 30 people were arrested, and some even had their ribs fractured. Six of them were sentenced to prisons, three of them are still serving the term, because they were in charge of the church.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom is an independent body that was set up according to the US 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. It aims to investigate the state of religious freedom in other countries, and make the best possible recommendations for improvement to the US President and the Congress.