China: More church closures and Internet censorship in further religious clampdown

Senior lady looking at Dongguang Church in Shenyang, northeastern China.  (Photo: Open Doors International)
One of China’s largest unofficial “house churches” was closed on Sunday, while new measures have been introduced to curb religious activities online. Beijing’s Zion Church had received warnings following its refusal to place CCTV cameras in its auditorium at the government’s request. On Sunday afternoon, 9 September, around 60 government . . . Read More

Sri Lanka: Facebook told to block religious hate speech

A young girl in Colombo looks at her mobile phone while Sri Lanka's civil society has called on Facebook to block hate speech. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Civil society groups in Sri Lanka have asked Facebook to do more to prevent hate speech, including comments that discriminate on religious lines, following recent anti-Muslim riots. “There was a post in the Sinhala [Sri Lanka’s largest ethnic group] language on Facebook for six days, which mentioned ‘killing all Muslims, . . . Read More

New book rejects Western view that Christians ‘cannot be victims’

New book rejects Western view that Christians ‘cannot be victims’
The author of a new book about the persecution of Christians says she wants to “shed light” on the issue because it has become ingrained in Western thinking that “the Christian is not a victim because, historically, he has been an executioner”. Spanish journalist and politician Pilar Rahola told Christian . . . Read More

Amnesty: ‘Discrimination rife in all regions of the world … with deadly consequences’

Buddhist flags are waved during a mass demonstration against Christianity in Sri Lanka, April 2017. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A review of the human-rights situation in 159 countries during 2017, published by Amnesty International yesterday (22 February), shows that religious persecution continues in the form of threats, attacks, extrajudicial killings and even genocide, while harsh sentences continue to be handed out – sometimes even death sentences – for changing . . . Read More

Kazakhstan’s new restrictions to ‘flagrantly’ violate religious rights

At the facility of one of the presbyterian Churches in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is set to pass a new set of restrictions on freedom of religion or belief that violate international human rights obligations, according to regional news service Forum 18. The proposed amendments to Kazakhstan’s religion law are currently with the Prime Minister and are expected to be signed into law . . . Read More

US tells Sudan to ‘immediately suspend’ church demolitions

US tells Sudan to ‘immediately suspend’ church demolitions
The US Deputy Secretary of State has called on Sudan to “immediately suspend” its demolition of churches and to hold a roundtable discussion with Christian leaders to resolve disputes. John J. Sullivan, speaking at the Al-Neelain Mosque in Omdurman on Friday (17 November), said “the treatment of members of religious . . . Read More

Kazakhstan Baptist convicted for refusing to pay state ‘expert’ to analyse his Christian books

Handing out Christian literature in Kazakhstan comes at a price. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A court in northern Kazakhstan has given a Baptist man a one-year suspended prison sentence for refusing to pay fines for the state to give its “expert analysis” of Christian books he had with him at the time of his arrest. Yuri Bekker had also failed to pay outstanding fines . . . Read More

Uzbekistan should ‘protect religious freedom, not see religion as a threat’ – UN Special Rapporteur

Uzbekistan should ‘protect religious freedom, not see religion as a threat’ – UN Special Rapporteur
Uzbekistan should invest more time in protecting religious freedom in its ongoing reforms rather than see religion as a threat, a UN expert has concluded after an official visit to the country. “Resilience against religious extremism can be built on strengthening diversity as well as freedom of religion or belief,” . . . Read More

Kazakhstan proposes further restrictions on religion

The Presidential Palace, the official work place of Kazakhstan's president, in the capital Astana. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Kazakhstan has drafted amendments to its religion laws that will further tighten restrictions on religious freedoms, reports regional news agency Forum 18. The changes focus on the religious freedom of children and parents and could reach parliament for ratification as early as December. The latest October draft states that one . . . Read More