Displaying items by tag: China
The war in Ukraine and the poor global economy have enabled dictators, regimes, and terrorists to take advantage of the situation while the world’s attention was distracted. This will worsen in 2023, to the detriment of Christians. Ask God to protect China’s Christians as the crackdown on house churches accelerates. Pray for all the minorities in Myanmar, where the 2021 political coup has led to many attacks and bombings of churches. The internally displaced use churches as shelters. Iran has also taken the opportunity to crack down on churches, Christians, and Muslim-background believers this year. Pray for Christian arrests and torture to diminish in 2023. Indian Christians need our prayers for an end to the anti-conversion laws being enforced in Hindu communities. Afghanistan has no national income and no natural resources, and all assets are frozen worldwide. Christianity is illegal. Those forced to stay or needing support to find safe havens need God's protection.
The Chinese New Year in 2023 is celebrated on 22 January. Prayer Alert intercessors are invited to join thousands of believers from many churches and Christian ministries across the world who will be uniting online for a 24-hour prayer meeting. Your prayers will be covering key cities and regions of the Buddhist world. The time is ripe for asking the Lord of the Harvest to send forth labourers to every unreached people group in these cities and nations. It is an opportunity to unite and intercede as one, exalting Jesus Christ as King throughout the Buddhist world. Chinese New Year is a special time for families to gather together, and you are invited to pray for an hour (or more) during this 24-hour period for all the Gospel movements throughout the Buddhist world and China. See also
On 27 November thousands protested in Shanghai against Covid restrictions, shouting slogans against the government. In Beijing, Tsinghua, and Nanjing, students were arrested. The unrest began when lockdown was blamed for ten deaths in a tower block fire. Protesters held blank white banners, symbolising defiance against censorship. Such direct criticism of the president and government could result in harsh penalties, but by 30 November protesters in Guangzhou were throwing debris and glass at police wearing hazmat suits and clutching riot shields. The government has drastically misjudged growing discontent over zero-Covid restrictions. Millions have endured three years of movement restrictions and daily Covid tests. The anger has galvanised university students, factory workers, and ordinary citizens, all calling for President Xi to step down. Televised reports of the World Cup in Qatar have helped millions of Chinese to realise that Covid and social freedoms are not incompatible. On 1 December China finally shifted its stance and eased some virus restrictions as the vice-premier announced that the country was facing a ‘new situation’.
Despite increasingly repressive rule under the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), dissent occurs regularly and is geographically widespread, according to a new analysis by Freedom House. It recorded 668 instances of dissent in China from June to September, as people spoke out against stalled housing projects, labour rights violations, fraud, Covid policies, and state violence, among other grievances. The analysis found that ¼ of cases involving people who engaged in dissent faced authorities’ reprisals - including violence, intimidation, detention, and censorship - illustrating CCP’s efforts to restrict organised collective action. Contrary to what China wants the world to believe, individuals throughout the country are standing up to Beijing’s machine of censorship and repression to make their voices heard. More Chinese are courageously exercising their fundamental rights to free expression and assembly. Some are achieving concessions from private companies and local officials, which is troubling to the increasingly oppressive party.
Persecution in China has filled the headlines recently. Authorities raided several house churches and arrested leaders within China, and harassed Chinese believers seeking shelter in Thailand. Asian Access reported, ‘These specific cases follow a broader trend. Over recent years the government is more concerned about the rise and influence of underground churches. People are monitored or put under house arrest.’ During Covid the government focused on China’s health, giving new momentum to underground churches which thousands were joining. As the pandemic waned the government began doing more reviews of online formats. There is in-depth discipleship in many places but Chinese believers are not afraid of persecution or pressure; they’ve been through this before. Their plan is Jesus. They want a better society by having people follow Christ and then improve their lives - better marriages, families, better commitment to their communities.
2,500 US stealth fighters and Philippine marines have blasted imaginary enemies in combat drills, mock amphibious assaults, and other coastal tactics. These drills were the first joint large-scale military exercise under the newly elected president. His predecessor was an outspoken critic who threatened to cut ties with Washington and was against military exercises which could offend Beijing. Held simultaneously with these drills were exercises between US and Japanese forces around Hokkaido island, involving 3,000 military personnel. The USA said the drills ensured that it was ‘prepared to respond rapidly to crises throughout the Indo-Pacific’. Japan’s Ground Self-Defence Force said they would strengthen response capabilities. These drills came as Washington and Beijing engage in heated rhetoric over the status of Taiwan and claims to islands and waters in the South China Sea. See the next article, Taiwan billionaire.
Robert Tsao, a retired billionaire, is pledging one billion Taiwan dollars (£28m) to create a civilian army to help his countrymen and women fight China. The aim is to train up three million civilian ‘warriors’ - a seventh of the population - in three years. Office workers, students, shopkeepers, parents could all learn to pick up a gun; he wants 300,000 sharpshooters. He acknowledges the task is ambitious, but vows it could be done. Born in China but raised in Taiwan, he created the United Microelectronics Corp semiconductor company, making his fortune in an industry Taiwan is now globally known for. As a businessman, he had many dealings in China. An ardent student of history, he has been a high-profile voice in policy debates for decades. He is now among an increasing number of Taiwanese who feel they need to prepare for a possible invasion. See previous article, on military drills.
Sixty members of a Chinese church have submitted applications for asylum in Bangkok, after being denied refuge in South Korea. They had fled the communist regime to escape religious persecution. Pastor Pan’s church has been on the run for years. He said the persecution is growing worse. The group remains stateless, jobless, and homeless, but not without faith. ‘We're thinking of our children's future. We refuse to put their education in the hands of the Communist Party, to give them an atheist education, and to turn their backs on God. So we are willing to pay this price to flee China to allow them to keep going to church school and to know God. Although we don't know what we will encounter in the future, what our God gives us is the best. He will lead us through these issues; God always has the best plan and arrangement.’
Xing Hongwei is a member of China's Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC). He was arrested in a worship service raid on 14 August and suffered greatly whilst in detention due to his medical condition. He has been freed on bail and enjoyed a celebration meal with his family. Mr Hongwei was originally arrested after more than twenty police officers raided an ERCC church service at a tea shop. Sixty church members were locked inside the building and released only after they provided their identification. Mr Hongwei was arrested because he refused to comply with the authorities' demands. ERCC, which is heavily persecuted, announced Mr Hongwei's release in a prayer request update. His faith became firmer during his time in detention and he jokingly said that he successfully went on a diet, which he could not have achieved if outside.
Russia has to buy military hardware from North Korea and Iran as sanctions squeeze its ability to supply weaponry. Iran and North Korea, also targets of sanctions, have deepened ties with Russia since Putin invaded Ukraine. Kim Jong-un accused the West of pursuing a ‘hegemonic policy’ that justified Russia's use of force, and vowed to deepen ‘comradely friendship’ with Moscow. Putin said the two countries would expand their ‘comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations’. Last week the Biden administration said the first shipments of Iranian-made drones had been delivered to Russia, and Russian operators are in Iran receiving training on the Mohajer-6 and Shahed series weapons. Many of the drones have been beset by mechanical and technical problems since delivery. Iran officially denied delivering weapons to either side of the conflict, but the USA said Tehran was planning to supply Moscow with potentially hundreds of drones, some with combat capabilities for its war in Ukraine.