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CHINA: Government Passes Restrictions

CHINA: Government Passes Restrictions

Christians in China ask for prayer as the government continues to further restrict Christian activity.

In February, churches were ordered to report their religious activities to authorities. In March, the Communist Party disbanded its Religious Affairs Bureau and the Communist Party’s Central Committee absorbed the duty of managing religious life in China. In April, the government banned the online sale of Bibles — a setback in a country where printed Bibles were already difficult for many to obtain.

President Xi Jinping continues to increase his control over religious life and promote Chinese nationalism. The Communist Party may also be working on a new Bible translation, meant to inject Chinese values into Scriptures.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

  • Pray for Christians in China, that they will be willing to stand firm under the increasing pressure.
  • Pray for those involved in Bible distribution work. May the word of God bring strength and encouragement to believers.
  • Ask the Lord to be at work in the hearts and minds of President Xi Jinping and members of the Communist Party.

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CHINA: Communist Party Readies Crackdown on Christianity

CHINA: Communist Party Readies Crackdown on Christianity

The Communist Party has just enacted much tougher laws that criminalise Christians if they do not pledge loyalty to the state.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned that all religions now have to become “Chinese” and the new laws will attempt to bring churchgoers and their leaders under party control.

The new laws will put the state firmly in charge, giving the Communist Party the ability to hire and fire church leaders and change religious doctrine to make it more Chinese.

That means churchgoers will have to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party first, which according to a local church leader, Pastor Wang cannot be done. “Jesus Christ is my only belief, my only loyalty is to Jesus Christ,” he says. “God says you should love your enemies, if they are hungry give them food to eat if they are thirsty give them water to drink, so we will pray for the non-believers. Let the spirit of Jesus move them and conquer them.”

Chinese authorities have already started the crackdown in the Christian heartland in the southern province of Zhejiang. It’s been extensive and brutal. In the past two years they have torn down nearly 2,000 crosses and in some cases demolished churches. Church leaders and their followers have been arrested and imprisoned.

The Chinese Government admits there are about 25 million Christians registered at state-run churches where pastors are appointed by the state and theology approved by the governments Religious Affairs Bureau. Accurate estimates of unregistered worshipers are difficult to obtain, but experts say their numbers vary between 40 million and 70 million. It is said by 2030 China will have the world’s biggest Christian population.

 Source: ABC Online

 Prayer Points

  • Join with our Chinese brothers and sisters in praying for the Communist Party members.
  • Pray the believers will be bold and not be discouraged. Pray they will continue to seek opportunities to meet with one another.
  • Pray for those believers in danger of arrest and interrogation; ask the Lord to grant them wisdom when dealing with authorities and strength to stand firm in their faith.
When Will Mummy Come Home?

When Will Mummy Come Home?

Du Hongbo always thought he would be the one sent to prison. Instead, he has been a single dad to his two young boys for the past two years while his wife has been in prison.

In 2014, Du Hongbo was a full-time Christian worker, and his wife, Cheng Jie, was serving as director of the Hualin Foreign Language Experimental Kindergarten in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The couple had two young children, aged three and one.

In February that year, while Du Hongbo was helping a house church in another part of China, about 20 police officers showed up at the couple’s home and arrested Cheng Jie. Du Hongbo immediately rushed back home. “I had no idea what was happening,” he said.

A government cover-up
Cheng Jie was detained for several months before the government officially charged her with illegal business practices related to her work at the kindergarten. In June 2014, three others were arrested in connection with the case, and in August authorities accused the kindergarten of violating China’s “Law of Education” by “forcing citizens to believe in a religion.” Authorities also claimed the four arrested had been profiting from the sale of school books.

The charges focused on the school’s curriculum, which taught character and values to the young students but was not overtly Christian. The educational materials make no mention of God or Jesus, merely using stories and games to teach children about honesty and trustworthiness.

However, the Hualin Kindergarten had been founded by the Liangren Church, so authorities saw the school as an extension of the church’s activities. The kindergarten was forced to close, and there are no plans to reopen the school.

God is in control
“Before God called me to serve Him, we knew such things could happen in this world,” Du Hongbo said. “When I made a decision to serve the Lord full time … I was thinking they would put me in jail. It was beyond my imagination that they would put my wife in jail.”

Cheng Jie remained in prison a full year before her case finally went to court, and her absence has been deeply felt by her husband and children.

Speaking to a VOM worker last year, Du Hongbo said, “My heart is depressed every time I see my two kids. I don’t know how to take care of kids. When they ask me, I don’t know how to answer. The kids need their mum.”

Du Hongbo hit a low point in February 2015, during Cheng Jie’s trial. When one of the defendants’ lawyers argued that the judge was biased, the judge threw him out of the courtroom.

And later, when the lawyers protested that they had been denied access to trial documents, they were all thrown out. “I was angry,” Du Hongbo recalled, “but now I am past it. I believe that God is in control. The situation is teaching me to come back to the Lord, to depend on Him, to look upon Him, not the lawyer or something else. For the last year, I used human effort. I was looking for friends to see how things were going with her and how to help her. I didn’t really get any result, so God was teaching me to come back to Him, to look upon Him. Of course, I wish for my wife to come back home so our family can be reunited, but all I can do now is just pray to God and wait for His time.”

Preaching the Gospel in prison
Du Hongbo had been eagerly anticipating his wife’s release from prison in February, and Cheng Jie has now been reunited with her family. “I’m really happy,” he said, adding that Cheng Jie was worried that her kids wouldn’t recognise her.

During the past year, he was able to visit her about once a month for 30 minutes, though he never took the boys. They talked over a microphone, but he couldn’t see her and the guards were always listening.

He said she had been forced to get up at 5am and work until 10 pm. Other Chinese prisoners have confirmed the long work hours, denial of treatment for medical problems and limited, poor quality food.

Cheng Jie told her husband that she had shared her faith with other prisoners. Specifically, she led four prisoners who were under a death sentence to faith in Christ. One is due to be executed soon, and Cheng Jie said she hopes to visit that new believer soon, if possible.

Du Hongbo expects the family to have to relocate. VOM will continue to support them, as we did throughout Cheng Jie’s imprisonment. Cheng Jie will have difficulty getting a job now, and she will always be monitored by local law enforcement.

The couple’s commitment to the Lord, however, will not change. They plan to remain in ministry. “My calling from God is to serve Him full time,” Du Hongbo said. “That means I won’t look for a job. When we move, we will still preach the Gospel.”

CHINA: Pastor Yang Hua Threatened by Authorities

CHINA: Pastor Yang Hua Threatened by Authorities

Pastor Yang Hua, who has been held for more than six months on charges of “divulging state secrets,” has recently received a series of threats from prison officials.

Pastor Yang told his lawyer that prosecutors had threatened his life and those of his wife and sons, inflicted physical harm and demanded his cooperation.

In a recent letter to his wife, Pastor Yang encouraged her to trust God’s plan and continue doing His will as she raises their two sons alone. Yang and his lawyer are filing a lawsuit against the officials.

Source: The Voice of the Martyrs USA

 Prayer Points

  • Lift Pastor Yang to the Lord, asking for His hand of protection to be on Pastor Yang, his family and his legal team.
  • Pray for the prison officials and authorities involved; may the Lord change their hearts to be compassionate and just.
  • Thank the Lord for the faithfulness of Pastor Yang; may his testimony be used by the Lord to spread the Gospel, even from prison.

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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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