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CHINA: Joint Prayer Network in Beijing Banned by the Government

CHINA: Joint Prayer Network in Beijing Banned by the Government

A joint prayer network in Beijing has been disbanded by the local government. Many pastors within the network were summoned and asked to shut down their churches.

The Beijing Ministerial Joint Prayer Network (BMJPN) was founded in 2004 by Pastor Jin Mingri from one of the largest house churches in Beijing, Shouwang Church. He has gathered dozens of pastors to regularly pray for church revival and missions. While it started in Beijing, now there are pastors from different provinces who are actively involved in BMJPN.

Recently the authorities have summoned many pastors who are part of the BMJPN to the local religious affairs bureau to receive interrogation. They informed the pastors that BMJPN has not registered with the government, so its activities are considered “illegal religious activities.” They should be banned from preaching online and they were asked to dismiss their churches.

A pastor told Gospel Herald (Hong Kong) that he will not dismiss the BMJPN. He is also prepared to see churches forcibly shut down by the authorities. Many churches have been gathering in smaller groups these days, both due to the pandemic and the increased crackdown.

During the pandemic, China has further tightened its grip on house churches; it first used the excuse of COVID-19 to stop in-person gathering, now not only does it pressure the church to stay closed, it is also clamping down on online services and gatherings.

Source: International Christian Concern

  • Thank the Lord for the courage of the believers in China. Pray they will remain faithful as they face escalating opposition.
  • Pray these prayer network members will see the Lord at work in these difficult times and rejoice, even in the midst of their sufferings.
  • Pray for those in authority who oppose the Gospel, that they will experience the new-found hope and joy found through a relationship with Christ.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

CHINA: Protestant House Church Pastor Detained without Trial

CHINA: Protestant House Church Pastor Detained without Trial

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities arrested Pastor Hao Zhiwei in July 2019; however, she still awaits trial. Four months after Hao’s arrest, officials charged her with swindling 2.24 million yuan ($469,340) in church offerings. CCP authorities also accused two church staff members, Hong Ying and Wang Yuanxiang, of fraud but because they “confessed”, they warranted leniency. Prosecutors have not set a trial date for Hao.

“The case is set to have a far-reaching legal impact that could see other house church pastors like Hao come under more legal scrutiny on top of the existing administrative regulations over religious affairs,” Si Weijiang, Hao’s lawyer, said.

Hao’s trial was originally set for January and then apparently postponed until August but there is still no notice of when it will take place. The coronavirus pandemic has also caused delays.

Hao’s husband died two years ago, her two sons, aged 13 and 17, are without both parents.

According to Hao’s 17-year-old son, identifying himself as Paul, “The government is indefinitely postponing the trial as they continue to look for evidence so they can frame my mother by building a fraud case against her that never existed in the first place,” He said he was staying on campus at a university in eastern Zhejiang province but his brother lives at home in Ezhou with a part-time domestic helper.

After authorities arrested Hao and her two co-workers, they contracted to demolish the church to make way for expansion of a steel plant. To justify destroying the church, the local religious affairs department issued a notice in July last year stating that because the church was too close to a power plant, it had to be demolished. Amidst the separation from his mother and the church demolition, Paul stated that he and his brother are at peace. “We have faith in God that he will never give us a trial that we cannot bear.”

Si said Hao refuses to plead guilty and if convicted, faces a minimum of 10 years in prison. He expressed concern that a conviction could set a precedent for CCP authorities to use charges of financial irregularities to prosecute other house church leaders.

Sources: ChinaAid, South China Morning Post

  • Remember Hao, her sons and her fellow church members. Pray they will continue to rely on the Lord and His purposes and not lose heart.
  • Pray that God will sustain Hao while in prison and ask Him to provide her with spiritual enrichment while she endures. Ask God to hasten her trial and secure her release.
  • Pray for the authorities responsible; that they will not fear the Gospel but will submit to the Lord’s merciful and sovereign hand.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

 

USA: Bob Fu and Family Subject to CCP Harassment

USA: Bob Fu and Family Subject to CCP Harassment

Late last month, Dr Bob Fu (also known as Xiqiu Fu), the founder and president of ChinaAid, prayed publicly at the National Mall in Washington DC, asking God to make members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) repent.

Prior to praying, Dr Fu learned that the Chinese Communist Party had just dispatched agents in the United States to harass his family. “Heidi, my wife, called me,” he said, “and told me that the Chinese Communist Party ‘has sent their spies to our house. Now they are harassing me and our children.'”

When the prayer meeting ended, Texas police officers dispersed harassers, some waving signs that read, “Xiqiu Fu started the coronavirus.”

ChinaAid is an international human rights organisation which exposes religious persecution by the CCP and promotes religious freedom for all.

Dr Fu, born and raised in China, a student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, converted to Christianity while in China. During this time, he worked in a government job during the day and led house church services at night. When authorities discovered Dr Fu’s ministry, they imprisoned him and Heidi. With help from then President Clinton, Dr Fu exiled to the US.

Although the CCP demonstrated animosity for Dr Fu in the past, they never threatened him so blatantly. Rarely do foreign citizens so openly threaten American citizens in the United States.

Dr Fu and his family are in a safe location, protected by local police and federal law enforcement agencies. The situation is being investigated.

Source: ChinaAid, MRT

  • Thank the Lord for Bob Fu’s faithfulness is pursuing justice for the oppressed in China for so many years. Ask God to bless him and ChinaAid’s important work.
  • Thank the Lord for the assistance and protection the Fu family have received and pray for the investigation.
  • Pray for the church in China, that it will remain courageous and faithful, in spite of the ongoing oppression from the CCP.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

CHINA: Low Income Families Ordered to Abandon their Faith or Lose Financial Aid

CHINA: Low Income Families Ordered to Abandon their Faith or Lose Financial Aid

In the Chinese government’s continuing persecution of Christians, poor families are now being told to renounce their faith or lose welfare benefits.

The Chinese economy has been deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic, especially low-income households struggling to make ends meet.  Now government officials are ordering Christians who receive welfare payments to replace crosses, religious symbols, and images inside their homes with portraits of China’s communist leaders. “All impoverished households in the town were told to display Mao Zedong images,” a local pastor said. “The government is trying to eliminate our belief and wants to become God instead of Jesus.”

A church member in one of the villages recalled how authorities entered his home and destroyed a calendar with an image of Jesus on it, then replaced it with a portrait of Mao instead. “Impoverished religious households can’t receive money from the state for nothing, they must obey the Communist Party for the money they receive,” he explained.

Enforcing the new regulation started several months ago across China. In April, the government of Xinyu City in the south-eastern province of Jiangxi withheld a disabled Christian’s funds (about $20) because the believer continued to attend worship services. And in Jiangxi’s Poyang county, an elderly Christian woman was taken off the government’s aid list because she said “Thank God” after receiving her monthly cheque (about $40).

In May, a government official in the eastern province of Shandong barged into the home of a Christian and posted portraits of Mao and President Xi Jinping, then said, “These are the greatest gods. If you want to worship somebody, they are the ones.”

Another elderly woman from Henan’s Shangqiu city lost her welfare benefits in April after officials found a cross displayed on her house door. “They tore it down immediately,” the Christian said. “Afterward, both my minimum living allowance and poverty alleviation subsidy were cancelled. I am being driven to a dead end. I have diabetes and need injections regularly.”

Earlier this year, the communist regime resumed removing crosses from churches throughout China, in addition, portraits of Mao and Xi have replaced images of the Holy Spirit.

Sources: CBN News, Bitter Winter, Australian Prayer Network

  • Pray to the Lord, our provider, on behalf of these brothers and sisters and ask Him to supply their needs.
  • Pray the people of China will be in no way deceived about their leaders – that they are entitled to be worshipped. Pray people will come to know and love the One true God.
  • Thank the Lord the church in China continues to grow. Pray the believers will be courageous as they face escalating opposition.

Post your prayer in the comments below.

CHINA: Officials Alter a Bible Story in University Textbook

CHINA: Officials Alter a Bible Story in University Textbook

The story of the woman caught in adultery, as told in the Gospel of John is a powerful story of mercy, forgiveness and divine authority.

In the official textbook Chinese Professional Ethics and Law, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has used the story as an illustration but the plot has been heavily altered to better adapt to its philosophy.

In the textbook, the modified passage now reads: “The crowd wanted to stone the woman to death as per their law. But Jesus said, ‘Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.’ Hearing this, they slipped away one by one. When the crowd disappeared, Jesus stoned the sinner to death saying, ‘I too am a sinner. But if the law could only be executed by men without blemish, the law would be dead.

’”This malicious distortion seriously misrepresents and defiles the image of Jesus Christ in Christianity.

The textbook infers that if only people without sin can enforce the law, the law will become powerless. It implies that because illegal behaviours of Chinese judicial officials in law enforcement are unavoidable, they should be tolerated.

Christians in China are protesting against the textbook.

The CCP has pressured the Christian community in China for years, trying to reinterpret the biblical doctrine and theology to conform to the socialist values Xi Jinping advocates. Until now, however, Chinese officials rarely, so openly presented an altered biblical passage in an official textbook.

Sources: China Aid, Open the Word

  • Ask the Lord to strengthen His church and to guard it against subtle and blatant heresies of any kind.
  • Ask God to use this shocking distortion of His Word to encourage people to examine the Gospel for themselves.
  • Pray the nation of China will be flooded with His precious Word and the transforming power it brings.

Post your prayer in the comments below.