Persecution of Christians varies in Vietnam, but most frequently occurs in the Central Highlands and in remote rural areas. Persecution includes imprisonment, harassment, discrimination, threats and attacks.
Recently, with the help of our supporters, Voice of the Martyrs Australia has been able offer support to two Vietnamese Christian women, persecuted for their faith.
The first woman was beaten and driven out of her home and village. When she accepted Christ, the local authorities came to destroy her house. Her husband was afraid and became angry with her. He forced her to leave her house and her children behind. She is now temporarily living with a christian family in another village.
VOM supplied funds to ensure that the woman’s immediate needs including food are taken care of. According to our contact (who delivered the funds) the woman was overjoyed and moved to tears when she received the love gift from us. She thanked our supporters for helping her in her time of need.
The second woman was given comfort and financial assistance on the death of her husband. He had been a prisoner of faith for three years, and had been unwell ever since. Our Vietnamese contact visited the woman the day after her husband died. She brought with her the financial gift and words of condolence from us. Our concern, care and support have been a great comfort to the woman and her children in their time of grief.
If you would like to financially support the work of Voice of the Martyrs, please go to: vom.com.au/donate
Dr Li Baiguang, an internationally renowned human rights defence lawyer, was pronounced dead on Tuesday morning. He is said to have died at 3am in the Chinese government military hospital in Nanjing, hours after checking in for a stomach complaint.
The hospital said he had bled to death due to a liver condition. Dr Li, who was only 49 and neither drank nor smoked, had been in good health shortly beforehand. Other human rights campaigners have died in similarly suspicious circumstances.
Dr Li was an outspoken legal advocate for Christian pastors who have been arrested for their faith.
In October, he was abducted by Chinese officials in Zhejiang province, beaten and threatened with dismemberment for defending farmers whose land was seized by the government. Earlier this month, Dr Li said he felt threatened after attending the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. While he was out of the country, Chinese authorities interrogated his pastor.
He leaves a wife and eight-year-old son.
February saw a tightening of restrictions against Christians in China, which will impact registered churches as well as house churches.
In the build-up to the new regulations, some 1500 crosses have been torn down, churches have been demolished, offerings seized, and pastors arrested. Many human rights lawyers, including Christians, have also been arrested. They have been denied visits by their families or legal representation.
The new Regulations for Religious Affairs are intended to clamp down on extremism. They forbid religious organisations from using religion to ‘harm national security or disrupt social order’.
Despite the increasingly open persecution of Christians in China, the growth of Christianity there seems unstoppable. Some sociologists project that number of Chinese Christians will exceed 220 million by 2030 – making China the largest Christianised nation in the world.
Sources: Release International, China Aid
- Commit to the Lord the family of Li, his church and colleagues. Ask God to comfort them in their time of grief and shock.
- Pray the details of Li’s death will be made known. Pray the Lord will raise up others to be a voice for the oppressed in China.
- Praise the Lord for the steadfast faith of Chinese believers and the growth of the church.