China’s ‘underground’ churches told to seek ‘guidance’ from state-approved bodies

A house church meeting in China in 2005. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A newly implemented directive from the Chinese government forces Protestant ‘house churches’ and Catholic ‘underground’ communities to seek “guidance” from recognised religious organisations. A notification from the State Administration for Religious Affairs, issued earlier this month, requires organisers of religious activities at temporary sites to also apply for a permit . . . Read More

Chinese pastor released after two and a half years in prison

Pastor Yang Hua (Release International)
A Chinese pastor was released yesterday (19 June), after being detained for two and a half years for “illegally possessing state secrets”, reports Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). Pastor Yang Hua of Huoshi Church (which means Living Stone), in the south-western province of Guizhou, was arrested in December 2015. He was . . . Read More

China: Beijing house churches investigated and ordered to close

Cross of a state-sanctioned Three-Self church in Beijing is visible just above the facades of the city while China's government is trying to get more control over house churches. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Authorities in China’s capital Beijing investigated two house churches earlier this month and also pressured landlords to cancel the leases of their meeting places, China Aid reported. Officials from the Xicheng District Public Security Bureau attended a church meeting on Sunday 6 May. Without interrupting the service they investigated proceedings . . . Read More

China: Pastor and 200 church members detained for commemorating earthquake

People are sifting through the rubble to look for personal items after their homes were destroyed in an earthquake. (World Watch Monitor, 2008)
A church in Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan province, was raided by police on Saturday (12 May) as it prepared to commemorate the 10th anniversary of an earthquake that killed almost 90,000 people and left millions homeless. Pastor Wang Yi of Early Rain Covenant Church was arrested alongside . . . Read More

China: Protestant pastor found guilty of ‘intentionally divulging state secrets’

China: Protestant pastor found guilty of ‘intentionally divulging state secrets’
The pastor of a high-profile church in China has been sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for two years, with a further six months’ residential surveillance, for “intentionally divulging state secrets”. Pastor Su Tianfu of Huoshi (Living Stone) Church in the south-western province of Guizhou had already been under . . . Read More

Myanmar: 7,000 Kachin displaced as violence escalates

Displaced Kachin residents cross the Malikha river on 26 April to escape the fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and the Myanmar government troops. (Photo: ZAU RING HPARA/AFP/Getty Images)
Almost 7,000 people belonging to the largely Christian minority group in Kachin, northern Myanmar, have fled their houses since fighting between the army and a rebel group flared up in early April, according to recent figures from the Red Cross. “It’s a war where civilians are being systematically targeted by . . . Read More

Religious freedom reduces terrorism, says US ambassador Brownback

Sam Brownback was confirmed as Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom in January.
If countries want less terrorism within their borders, they should give religious freedom to their people, says US religious freedom ambassador Sam Brownback. During a policy hearing in Washington DC on Wednesday (9 May), he said one country that had been a “bad actor” for a long time was now . . . Read More

China: children stopped from entering church as pressure on Henan Christians increases

Under new religious regulations in China, religious education to minors is prohibited. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Pressure on Christians is increasing in China’s central Henan province, according to Catholic news service UCAN. Suppressive measures on both Catholic and Protestant churches have been directed by the central government in Beijing and have intensified in recent weeks, according to UCAN, which reported that churches had been “demolished and . . . Read More

Religious freedom is a prerequisite for democracy – US commission

China's 'sinicization of religion' shows how economic liberalisation has not lead to more political freedom, says USCIRF chair. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A wealth of research shows that a society’s level of religious freedom is linked to its levels of critical social indicators, such as prosperity, stability and peace, the chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom told British parliamentarians. Dr. Daniel Mark, chairman of USCIRF, an independent, bipartisan federal . . . Read More