China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims has made mainstream media headlines recently. Yet, Uyghur Christians in the remote north-west corner of China are suffering even worse persecution – and their story remains largely untold.
Up to 1 million Uyghurs are reportedly detained in massive detention camps in Xinjiang where prisoners are submitted to 24-hour brainwashing and other torture.
There are reportedly only between 700 and 1,000 Christians in the Uyghur homeland that is Xinjiang province. And they are singled out for much harsher sentencing because they have converted from Islam.
Among the Christian Uyghurs behind bars is Alimujiang Yimiti (also known as Alimjan Yimit), a pastor with a Muslim background. His role in the church, it is assumed, is one of the reasons he was given a particularly harsh 15-year sentence in 2008.
He was convicted of “leaking state secrets” after two phone conversations he had with an American Christian friend were tapped. It’s understood that he shared no sensitive or secret information during those chats.
He has been held in a prison where inmates are made to wear earphones tuned to communist propaganda all day every day and are forced to memorise and repeat what they hear. Yet, Alimujiang’s faith remains strong, according to Bob Fu, Director of ChinaAid.
“[Alimujiang] told his family that he thanks God for sending him to that prison,” says Bob, “so that he can continue to share the Gospel and live out the Gospel in these dark prisons.”
Recently, his wife Gulinuer and their two sons have been banned from making their usual monthly visits to see Alimujiang in jail – because they are deemed to have become “uncooperative”. In other words, they have refused to deny Christ. Gulinuer is now being followed and monitored every day by security officials – but continues to raise her sons as Christians.
Sources: ChinaAid, Release International
- Thank the Lord for the way He has sustained the faith of Alimujiang after such a lengthy time in prison. Ask for the Lord’s protection to be upon his mind, body and spirit.
- Pray for Gulinuer and her two sons as they endure considerable difficulties.
- Ask the Lord to use Alimujiang mightily in prison. Pray he will be greatly encouraged as he sees the Lord at work in the prison.
Post your prayer in the comments below.
The wife of a church leader in the central Chinese province of Henan was buried alive with her husband underneath the rubble of their freshly demolished church, where she suffocated and died.
On 14 April, a demolition team was instructed to begin the demolition of the Beitou Church in Zhumadian, Henan Province to pave the way for new developers to take ownership of the lucrative property. The church leader, Li Jiangong and wife Ding Cuimei, stood in front of the bulldozers in an attempt to stop the destruction of their church. As a result, Ding Cuimei, was buried beneath the dirt by the demolition team.
The two government workers buried both of them underground, resulting in Cuimei’s suffocating to death. Li Jiangong dug his way up to the surface but unfortunately was unable to save his wife.
“Bury them alive, I will be responsible for their lives,” a member of the demolition team was heard to have said. The two responsible individuals were later on criminally detained by the local authorities because of pressure from the media.
Sources: China Aid, International Christian Concern
- Pray the Lord may bring an overwhelming sense of peace and strength to Li Jiangong and his family as they come to terms with their great loss.
- Pray that God will be with the believers of Beitou Church; pray that they will find comfort in God’s love during this difficult time.
- Pray this tragedy will be used by the Lord to bring attention to the plight of the suffering church in China in addition to furthering His kingdom.
CHINA: Human Rights Lawyer Zhang Kai Released
CHINA: More Crosses Forcibly Removed in Zhejiang
CHINA: Lawyer Criminally Detained as Father Goes Missing
Please pray for our brother in Christ in China, human rights lawyer Zhang Kai, who was placed under ‘criminal detention’ on 26 February.
On the same day, Zhang’s father was summoned to the offices of the Wenzhou Municipal Public Security Bureau – and has not been seen since. Until 26 February, Zhang was being held in an unregistered or illegal ‘black jail,’ his home for the past six months.
Zhang Kai is being held because of his involvement with Zhejiang churches which the authorities have targeted for demolition or cross removal for more than two years. He was arrested in August in Wenzhou city, where he was helping churches mount a legal challenge.
Zhang was originally charged with “endangering national security” and “gathering crowds to disturb the social order.” There has since been concern that these could be replaced with the more serious charge of ‘spying.’
Sources: China Aid, Release International
- Please pray for the immediate release of Zhang Kai and his father.
- Pray that the Chinese authorities will end their persecution of churches in Zhejiang and of lawyers defending religious rights.
- Pray that churches in Zhejiang will find a fresh unity as congregations of all denominations are targeted for attack.
VOM’s partner office in the UK has launched a petition calling on the Chinese Government to release Zhang immediately. Please sign the online petition and forward to your contacts to sign also.
CHINA: Pastor Jailed for Social Media Prayers is Freed
CHINA: Church-Run Kindergarten Director Released
Restricted Nations: China
New security laws recently passed by the Chinese government could further limit religious freedom on the Chinese mainland and beyond. China Aid warns that the wording of these new laws is “intentionally vague” and may prompt greater “persecution and abuse based on perceived threats to national security.” Among its provisions are further restrictions on “foreign influences” and what they consider “cults.”
The new security laws also expand China’s restrictions on religion into Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Some Hong Kong-based pastors fear that they might be penalised for activities such as serving mainland Christians via the Internet, hosting their visits, or even preaching to people from mainland China who are presently living in Hong Kong.
On 1 July, the same day the new laws were enacted, Hong Kong pastor Wu Xiaohe was summoned by the Religious Affairs Bureau in Shenzhen city and told he could no longer invite mainland Chinese Christians to Hong Kong for training. Officials told him that “at least 300 more religious leaders” would receive similar summons.
Sources: China Aid, Release International
- Ask God to continue overseeing the growth of His church in this part of the world, calling even those who would try to hinder religious freedom.
- Pray that the country’s officials will no longer see the church as a threat to national security but rather as a positive force for the good of society as a whole.
- Pray for wisdom on behalf of the Christian leaders as they strive to carry out the Great Commission.
CHINA: Officials Beat Pastor’s Wife