CHINA – Christians Beaten, House Churches Raided – China Aid Association
Several incidents of attacks on Christians occurred in China during Christmas celebrations, China Aid Association reported. They are:
* On Dec. 24, about 40 police officers raided a construction site in the village of Jingjia, Sichuan province where Christian volunteers were helping to rebuild homes destroyed in a massive earthquake on May 12, 2008. The reportedly intoxicated officers beat and swore at those present and seized Bibles, hymnals, televisions and other items belonging to the Christians. They refused to present legal documents authorizing the raid. Several Christian volunteers were eventually taken into custody by officials.
* Also on Dec. 24, nine Christian women were arrested in Yucheng county, Henan province while leading a Christmas celebration. Five of the women were released the next day after their families paid fines ranging from 1,500 to 3,500 Yuan (approximately US$10-US$23) while the others are reportedly still in detention.
* At least two Chinese house churches were raided while holding Christmas celebrations on Christmas Day. Several leaders were arrested in the raids — two in Bozhou city, Anhui province and seven in Qitai county, Xinjiang Autonomous Region. At last report, all of these Christians were still imprisoned.
Pray for the release of those detained. Pray that Christians in China will continue to stand firm in their faith in the face of violence and intimidation.
INDIA – Church Leaders Attacked – VOM Sources
Praise God in 2008, Christians celebrated Christmas in relative peace and stability in Kandhamal district, Orissa. However in Hyderabad, Andra Pradesh this was not the case. VOM sources report several pastors and prayer group leaders were attacked and severely beaten by Hindu extremists while returning home from a Christmas prayer meeting near the suburb of Ramnagar in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. At the time of the report, three Hindus had been arrested for their involvement in the attack. Ask God to grant healing and strength for those injured. Pray that the perpetrators will turn to faith in Christ and become a demonstration of God’s love and mercy to others.
TAJIKISTAN – Restrictive Religion Law Proposed – Forum 18 News
On Nov. 19 a restrictive draft law was sent by Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon to the parliament for approval, according to Forum 18 News. The draft law allegedly restricts the activity of religious organizations, limits religious education, and imposes state censorship on religious literature. If the law passes, religious organizations currently registered would be forced to re-register by July 1, 2009. However, the draft law’s stringent requirements would make it difficult for some groups to continue to qualify for registration. Pray that this law will not pass parliament. Ask God to work in the lives of Tajikistan’s leaders so they will turn to Him.