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CHINA: ‘State-run Centre’ Targets Christians

CHINA: ‘State-run Centre’ Targets Christians

A leaked secret document has revealed the existence of a government body dedicated to church persecution in south-west China.

The document reportedly exposes a ‘state-run command-and-control centre’ operating at provincial level in Guizhou – or possibly at a higher level.

One of the churches in Guizhou that has suffered persecution is Huoshi Church in Guiyang city.

Three Huoshi members – Pastor Yang Hua, Wang Yao and Zhang Xiuhong – are in custody: Pastor Su Tianfu has been released on bail, awaiting trial; his family are under intense surveillance, as is Pastor Yang’s wife, Wang Hongwu. Pastor Yang has reportedly been tortured.

Huoshi (Living Stone), the largest house church in the city, has been banned from meeting as a body so has been forced to divide into small groups. Officials have been systematic in their efforts to identify church members; small groups have been evicted routinely from their premises.

Source: China Aid, Release International

Prayer Points

  • Pray for the release of all detained members of Huoshi Church; pray that all charges against them will be dropped.
  • Praise God that His church is growing in China, in spite of man’s efforts to stop the spread of the Gospel.
  • Ask God to raise up people to disciple new Christians in China and to strengthen the church.

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VIETNAM: Nguyen Van Ly Released

VIETNAM: Nguyen Van Ly Released

The Vietnamese government released Nguyen Van Ly ahead of a 23 May visit by President Barack Obama.

The 70-year-old’s latest imprisonment began in 2007, when he was convicted of propaganda against the state. In 2010, he spent 16 months at home because of ill health, but he was recalled to prison in 2011.

Although his health has reportedly deteriorated during the imprisonment, he is said to be doing well mentally and spiritually.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

 Prayer Points

  • Praise God for this wonderful answer to prayer and ask the Lord to help Van Ly overcome the difficulties he has had to endure while in prison.
  • Praise God Van Ly has been granted the strength to hold fast to his faith during his long stay in prison.
  • Pray the Lord will protect Van Ly and provide him with opportunities to share his testimony to encourage others in their faith.

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VIETNAM: Family of Imprisoned Pastor Persecuted

VIETNAM: Family of Imprisoned Pastor Persecuted

Pastor Nguyen Cong Chinh (45), a missionary pastor in Gia Lai Province in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, suffers both physical and psychological abuse in a Vietnamese prison because of his ‘illegal’ (Lutheran) faith and religious liberty advocacy.

Arrested numerous times since 2003, he was eventually sentenced in July 2012 to 11 years in prison for ‘undermining national unity.’

As if this were not enough, his wife, Tran Thi Hong, suffers endless persecution which she laments is becoming ‘intolerable.’ Police interrogated Tran Thi Hong on 11, 12 and 13 May. Violence is a routine part of the process.

On 13 May, as Mrs Hong was being beaten, her 18-year-old son tried to intervene to save her, only to be grabbed and violently choked by police, who then had him bound and arrested. He was released later that day.

Source: Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin

 Prayer Points

  • Pray Pastor Nguyen will be strengthened and upheld by the Lord; pray for his release. In the meantime, pray he will be used by the Lord to bring words of eternal life to others in prison.
  • Pray Mrs Hong and her son will not despair; may the Lord minister to them in their weakness and suffering and give them His peace.
  • Ask God to enable those in authority in Vietnam to act justly, with compassion. Pray their hearts and minds will be softened as they witness the conduct and attitudes of those they interrogate.

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VIETNAM: New Law to Control Religion

VIETNAM: New Law to Control Religion

Vietnam’s new “Law on Belief and Religion,” scheduled to come into effect this year, will add another layer of governmental repression and control to an already pressurised Church, says Vo Tran Nhat, Executive Secretary of the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights.

“They’re going to adopt a new law, a law on religion. This law is not a law on religion; it’s just a law on how to manage the control of religion,” he said in a video interview with World Watch Monitor.

Last year, Reg Reimer, a professor at the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, gave a thorough overview of the proposed law, saying “it is almost inevitable the new law will disappoint proponents of universal human rights.”

“The passing of this far-reaching new law on belief and religion will much more likely move the political system toward more micromanagement and control of religion, rather than toward more religious freedom as internationally understood,” he said.

There have been five revisions to the draft of the new law, the latest being tabled in parliament in November 2015. No date has been set for when the law will come into effect.

Source: World Watch Monitor

Prayer Points

  • Pray that no law will intimidate or inhibit the church in Vietnam, but that the church will follow the lead of its Head, Jesus Christ, in every situation.
  • Ask God to give wisdom and understanding to the church in Vietnam in their dealings with authorities.
  • Pray that government restrictions will create curiosity among Vietnamese about the Gospel rather than driving them away.

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CHINA: Human Rights Lawyer Zhang Kai Released

CHINA: Human Rights Lawyer Zhang Kai Released

Chinese human rights lawyer and religious freedom defender Zhang Kai was released on 23 March 2016, according to social media reports.

Zhang Kai was detained on 25 August 2015 and accused of “disturbing social order,” stealing and spying, among other crimes. During six months’ detention under “residential surveillance at a designated location,” Zhang had no contact with his family or his lawyer, and was then placed in criminal detention. On 25 February, Zhang was shown on state media giving a televised “confession” admitting to “disturbing social order,” “endangering state security” and behaving in an unprofessional manner. Activists believe this confession was made under duress.

According to a social media message posted by Zhang on WeChat, he has been released and is back in his hometown in Inner Mongolia. At this point it is not clear whether he has been released on bail and what conditions, if any, there are on his release.

Zhang Kai, a Christian, has provided advice and information to churches facing the forced removal of their crosses in Zhejiang Province and defended pastors detained in connection with their peaceful opposition to restrictions on their right to freedom of religion or belief.

Zhang Kai is among over 300 lawyers and activists, as well as relatives and associates, who have been interrogated, detained, imprisoned or have disappeared since July 2015.

 Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide

 Prayer Points

  • Thank the Lord for this wonderful mercy for Zhang, his family and fellow believers in China.
  • Ask the Lord to grant Zhang great wisdom to know how best to proceed in his work and ministry with the Chinese church.
  • Thank the Lord that in spite of man’s efforts to oppose the Gospel, the church in China continues to be faithful and continues to grow.

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