Displaying items by tag: Asia

Thursday, 01 December 2022 21:14

China: Covid policy tipping point

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’.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 01 December 2022 20:53

India: Modi scolds Putin

Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, has called for the Ukraine war to end. He warned that geopolitical struggles could ‘lead to humanitarian crises’. In a thinly veiled swipe at the Russian president, he said, ‘Our era need not be one of war. Indeed, it must not be one!’ The comments echoed his previous criticism of Mr Putin in September. India has abstained from condemning Moscow’s actions in Ukraine at the UN as the government balances its ties with Russia and the West, but has shifted its stance as the war intensifies and energy and food shortages pose greater global threats. Mr Modi said the world’s greatest challenges ‘can be solved not by fighting each other, but only by acting together’. India hosts the next G20 summit, whose theme is One Earth, One Family, One Future.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 24 November 2022 21:15

Indonesia: earthquake disaster

A magnitude 5.6 earthquake hit Indonesia, killing 271 with hundreds still missing 3 days later. Around 22,000 houses were damaged. 169,000 people were affected, 1,000+ injured, and 58,000 scattered to evacuee points. One village was buried under a landslide. Landslides and rough terrain blocked roads and damaged bridges, preventing rescuers for 24 hours from reaching survivors with excavators and equipment to move concrete and dig them out. Pray for patients needing immediate treatment or surgery; for the health ministry implementing emergency triage procedures; for frame tents, folding beds for carrying patients, operational kits, medicines, masks for adults and children, and body bags. See Six-year-old Azka Maulana Malik was rescued from the rubble of his family home three days after the earthquake destroyed the area. There are still 151 people missing. Pray that more people, not bodies, will be found in the debris, as monsoon rain hinders rescuers.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 24 November 2022 20:51

Iraq / Lebanon: headed down a chaotic path

Governments in both Iraq and Lebanon struggle to function and pass legislation. Political parties tied to ethnic and religious groups vie for control. Iran-backed militias hold more power than the military. There are many parallels between Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq because the nation-state borders were drawn around them by colonial nations around a hundred years ago. Ethnic groups thrown together by these borders often find it difficult to make their own voices heard and cooperate. It is an ongoing process that is only successful if there has been a dictator or authoritarian government. There is government corruption. Young Iraqis are dissatisfied and  are opening their eyes to opportunities for truth. South Iraq is seeing a time of harvest among the Shia community.  Even though they face persecution by larger religious groups, they are boldly proclaiming the Gospel repeatedly to all peoples and all backgrounds or ethnic minorities or majorities in their communities. God is doing amazing things in the south.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 17 November 2022 21:15

Israel: Netanyahu to form government

The veteran politician has the official mandate to form a new government, paving the way for his comeback as the head of what is widely expected to be the most right-wing coalition in the country’s history. However, the 73-year-old promised to serve all Israelis, ‘those who voted for us and those who did not - it is my responsibility’. After unprecedented political gridlock forced five elections in under four years, Netanyahu’s Likud party and its ultraorthodox and ultranationalist allies received a clear majority in parliament. He must now build a coalition with his allies and quickly wrap up the negotiations. His next moves will be closely scrutinised as unease mounts in some quarters over his policy plans and the goals of his controversial governing partners. Violence has soared between Israel and the Palestinians recently, causing the deadliest period in years in the West Bank, with near-daily army raids and increased attacks on Israelis.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 17 November 2022 21:08

India: prayer needs

India’s religious diversity is under threat from the spread of religious intolerance as well as government policies and laws. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh arm of the BJP promotes a Hindu nationalist agenda and is dividing communities on religious grounds, leaving the nation’s religious minorities unsettled about their future. Pray for India’s government today: transform their hearts to treat every individual and community with respect and to protect their right to freedom of religion or belief. Pray also that the appointment of India’s first president from an indigenous community, President Draupadi Murmu, will bring positive changes for all India’s indigenous communities. Heavenly Father, we pray for Your protection over all the nation’s religious minorities. We pray that those in power will respect and acknowledge the right of everyone to freedom of religion or belief. Where there is unrest, bring peace, and where there is persecution, we ask for impartiality.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 17 November 2022 21:05

Qatar: World Cup prayer request

Christians in Qatar are inviting the global church to join with them in praying for a move of the Holy Spirit during the World Cup, which begins on 20 November. The country is number 18 on the World Watch List. Although foreign Christians can worship in relative freedom, Qatari Christians are forbidden from having their own churches or even entering a church. Converts can also face extreme pressure from their family and community. Despite these challenges, the church in Qatar is growing - and there is the expectation that it will continue to do so during the World Cup. ‘We’re expecting a big move of the Holy Spirit during the World Cup,’ says a church leader for expats and migrant workers. ‘We already see the move of the Holy Spirit in Qatar. God is visiting people in their dreams. God is doing miracles. God is doing healings among the Qatari people.’

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 17 November 2022 20:53

China: protests continue despite restrictions

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.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 17 November 2022 20:41

North Korea: prayer needs

Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, once called ‘Jerusalem of the East,’ can no longer claim that title as the Juche doctrine is now its religion, with the Kims as its deities. Christian church information is limited. It survives as an underground church where meetings are held in secret. If members are caught, they will go to prison or a labour camp. Intense media control means that few North Koreans have heard the name of Jesus. The government dictates people’s lifestyle through generic provisions and limiting personal differences. Much of North Korea is underdeveloped., and natural disasters and military spending have strapped the economy. In the past fifteen years, two million people have died due to food shortages. The country relies on foreign aid to feed its people. North Korea is accused of torture, slavery, public executions, forced abortions, infanticides, as well as detaining possibly as many as 200,000 political prisoners.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 11 November 2022 03:49

Israel: reaching unreached people

The Chosen People and the Promised Land of scripture are testaments to God's promises. Despite limited natural resources, Israelis have developed thriving agricultural and industrial sectors in under twenty years. Home to Christian, Muslim, and Jewish sites, Jerusalem has been conquered and reconquered for 3,000 years. The Old City reflects ancient rifts between Palestinian and Jewish communities. Freedom of religion is a right, but Messianic Jews struggle for political recognition. Christians are often harassed by Jews and Muslims alike. 75% of Israel follow Judaism, barely 2% Christianity, and the rest Islam. However, the gospel is spreading, interest in the Word of God is increasing; and powerful testimonies by Christian Jews abound as they minister to their brothers and sisters in ways that others cannot. House churches grow as God empowers evangelical leaders to spread the good news that ‘the Messiah has come and is coming back soon’.

Published in Praise Reports
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