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 <http://www.ChinaAid.org>)
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).
SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE:
CHINA DEFIANTLY INTENSIFIES PERSECUTION
China Aid Association <http://www.ChinaAid.org> 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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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.