"Illegal" Christmas in Small Chinese Town - Police Fight Villagers over Festivities

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Footage coming from a Christian NGO shows Chinese police literally fighting to put a stop to Christmas festivities in a small town. It's yet another display of the ruling regime's harsh suppression of religious freedom.

About one third of the 3,000 people of Xitan Village, in China's eastern Zhejiang Province, are Christian. Villagers were holding a Christmas celebration last Tuesday when, according to US-based NGO China Aid, police officials cut off the event's power supply and took over the stage.

Fights then broke out, with five people sustaining minor injuries, according to the Reuters news agency.

There are disputes between Christians—communicating through the NGO, China Aid—and local village chief Wang Xuetao. The latter has said that the Christmas event was an "illegal assembly" and that organizers had not applied for permission.

Christian villagers say they had obtained permission, and that the village chief himself had thrown the first punch in the onscreen scuffle.

A Christian villager named Wang spoke with Reuters, expressing disbelief that authorities had bothered to disrupt the small-town festivities. He is also quoted as asking, "Why is this religion suppressed in China?"

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