China: ‘For Christians, the “grey” area is shrinking’

China's Christians wonder what is next. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
China’s Christians may not be surprised by recent tighter government control of religious affairs, including a ban on online Bible sales. But they are unsure what comes next. Following this month’s announcement that Bibles could no longer be made available online, large websites like Taobao, Jingdong, Weidian, Dangdang and Amazon . . . Read More

China pledges to protect religious freedom, days after Bible ban

Women, married to pastors who work in rural areas in China, meet in a church. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
China presented an official ‘white paper’ on religion on Wednesday, 4 April, guaranteeing “protection” for religious freedom, just four days after banning the online sale of Bibles. The policy paper, titled ‘China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief’, was presented by the State Council Information Office at . . . Read More

North Korean explains growing up under Kim dynasty, and how his perception of Christianity changed

North Korean explains growing up under Kim dynasty, and how his perception of Christianity changed
Every year, for the birthdays of North Korea’s Kim dynasty founder, Kim Il-sung, and his son and successor, Kim Jong-il, John Choi* would receive a large pack of sweets from his parents. So would all his primary-school peers. However, before unpacking his present, John was told to follow the ritual . . . Read More

Kazakh ‘sting operation’ to catch out Christian backfires

Kazakh ‘sting operation’ to catch out Christian backfires
A Kazakhstan court has acquitted a Christian women accused of “missionary activity” after she was caught in an “apparent sting operation”, reports regional news agency Forum 18. Police officers arrested Dilobarkhon Sultanova in January after she helped Elmira Inibekova download a Bible app to her mobile phone. The two women . . . Read More

Saudi Arabia is modernising, but will this mean greater freedom for religious minorities?

Saudi Arabia is modernising, but will this mean greater freedom for religious minorities?
The political landscape in the strict Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is changing, and quickly. A charismatic crown prince seems determined to modernise his country and even speaks of a shift towards a more “moderate” Islam. But will the changes taking place in Saudi also ease the situation for members . . . Read More

Algerian church closed for ‘illegally printing Bibles and material intended for evangelism’

Algerian church closed for ‘illegally printing Bibles and material intended for evangelism’
A church in Algeria’s north-western town of Aïn Turk (15km from Oran city) has been closed down by local authorities. The church, affiliated to the Protestant Church of Algeria (known as EPA, its French acronym), was sealed off by police on 9 November. Authorities in Oran claimed the church had . . . Read More

Will end of sanctions against Sudan ease Bible shortage for 1 million Christians?

Will end of sanctions against Sudan ease Bible shortage for 1 million Christians?
Measures by the Sudanese government to prevent Bibles from entering the country are leaving the churches there with a serious shortage of Scripture and teaching materials. One senior church leader, who has overseen the import of hundreds of thousands of Bibles and other pieces of Christian literature to Sudan, told . . . Read More

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard confiscates Christian literature as ‘publicity stunt’

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard confiscates Christian literature as ‘publicity stunt’
Photographs released by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard showing large quantities of confiscated Christian materials were a “publicity stunt” that reflected the Iranian regime’s fear of Christianity, says religious freedom advocate Mansour Borji. Borji, from advocacy group Article 18, told World Watch Monitor that the photographs, which were initially released in July, . . . Read More

China is world’s largest producer of Bibles

China continues to be the largest producer of Bibles in the world, thanks to the Amity Printing Company in Nanjing. Twelve million copies came off Amity’s presses in 2015, the majority for export. The company stated in a press release that it has the capacity to print 20 million Bibles each . . . Read More