Two recent news releases from China Aid Association* (CAA) document a shocking escalation of persecution in China. There seems (to RLP) to be a direct correlation between increasing Russian-Chinese-Central Asian solidarity and growing persecution of unsanctioned Protestant Christians in those states. The dictators are uniting to protect their totalitarian regimes through alliances that reduce the influence and leverage of Western human rights and religious liberty advocates. Furthermore, China is systematically strengthening its assault on 'cults' (which includes house churches) through ideological training of cadres. These are very concerning developments. But God is in control of his-story for his glory! So we will confidently and dependently approach his 'throne
of grace' (Hebrews 4:14-16).
CAA reports that in Henan Province on 1 July, 70 Christians in a house church fellowship were holding a baptismal service for 60 new believers when they were raided by police. Pastor Wang Baode and nine others were sentenced to 15 days' administrative detention, whilst all others present were fined, probably unofficially as no receipts were issued. On 7 July Pastor Cai Zhuohua faced court in Beijing charged with 'illegal business operations' for printing more than 200,000 Bibles and other Christian books. (As they were given away and not sold, there was no 'business'.) He is in prison awaiting sentence. On 22 July, 100 High School students were arrested at a Vocational Bible School in Hebei Province. The Public Security Bureau (PSB) interrogated them for hours before releasing them with the order not to gather again. On 26 July, a 400-member
house church fellowship in Shanghai was ordered to close.
On 2 August, two touring American theology students were arrested along with 43 South China Church pastors and believers in Zaoyang City, Hebei Province. The two Americans were interrogated for seven hours and their personal Bibles, books and notebooks were confiscated. The SCC believers were imprisoned. All but two have since been released, having suffered torture, humiliation and beatings. A 17-year-old evangelist, Mr He Baobao, had to be hospitalised. The two still in prison are Ms Gu Junqing (38) and Ms Ren Daoyun (60) who had hosted the SCC meeting in her home. Eye witnesses told CAA Ms Ren was severely punished by the Domestic Security Squad of the Zaoyang PSB, being savagely and repeatedly beaten into unconsciousness.
On Sunday 7 August, a house church in Hejing County, Xinjiang Province, was raided during worship. Some 30 believers were arrested by the Domestic security Protection Squad. Ten of the women were then stripped and paraded naked. Those who refused to remove their clothes were savagely beaten. One woman tried to kill herself by beating her head into a brick wall, such was her humiliation. Three church leaders, Mr Song Jun, Mr He Jiangwei and Ms Liang Fanglan are still held incommunicado.
On 11 August, 35 High School and University students, along with several church leaders, were arrested at a Sunday School teacher training class in Jiangxi Province. Police confiscated money and church property, without receipts. All those arrested have been released but six will be prosecuted for criminal offences. On 15 August, five American church leaders were arrested along with 27 house church pastors. The group had simply been enjoying Christian fellowship together. Where they are being detained is not known.
(* China Aid Association )
PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR:
* 'mercy and grace' in this time of great need, especially for those in prison(Hebrews 4:14-16; 13:3), asking God in his mercy to protect them from brutality and grant them justice.
* all those who have suffered, that God will give them healing, strength and grace to love and pray for their persecutors without bitterness, the ultimate spiritual victory.
'Be alert and always keep on praying for the saints' (Ephesians 6:18 NIV) in this spiritual battle.
* God to so use the integrity, gospel witness, and supernatural grace of China's persecuted believers that their persecutors will be convicted of sin and ultimately be drawn to Christ.
* revival to sweep through the Chinese Communist Party at every level, and for God to intervene in the life of CCP chief, President Hu Jintao, that he might humble himself before the Lord, renounce his sins, do what is right, and acknowledge that 'Heaven rules'. (2 Chronicles 33; Daniel 4).
China Aid Association has documented shockingly intensified persecution in China. This drive appears linked to two things: the Chinese Communist Party's renewed systematic assault on 'cults' (including house churches), and the CCP's renewed strategic alliances with Russia and Central Asia which reduce the influence of Western human rights and religious liberty advocates. In the last two months hundreds of Christians have been arrested. Some are imprisoned where torture and savage beatings are routine. Others are brutally beaten, humiliated and 'fined'. On Sunday 7 August, ten Christian women were stripped and paraded naked by security officials after a house church raid. Those who would not co-operate were savagely beaten. Many of those arrested, interrogated and beaten have been youths doing Bible study or training for lay ministry. Please pray for China.
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World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Religious Liberty
The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray specifically and regularly for religious liberty issues, and in particular to uphold the Church where it is suffering persecution.
RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.