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

A Christian escapee from North Korea has his doubts about Kim’s peace overtures

South Koreans at the Seoul Railway Station on 9 May, 2018 watch on a screen reporting the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, to meet North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, right.
What North Korea’s leader seeks from the international community is appeasement and not peace, let alone the freedom of his own people, a North Korean escapee says. “True peace will have to come alongside freedom of faith, belief, expression, speech for North Korean people,” said the former citizen of North . . . 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

Cuba’s new leader ‘not a reformer’

Cuba’s new leader ‘not a reformer’
Raúl Castro, who replaced his brother Fidel as Cuba’s president in 2006, stepped down from the post this week, ending a decades-long rule by his family. His successor, Miguel Díaz-Canel – who up until now was the country’s first vice-president – takes on an historic leadership role by becoming the . . . Read More

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

China's Communist Party is trying to suppress rapid growth among religions.(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’s Communist Party increases control over religious affairs

The opening ceremony of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, held in October 2017. The Congress is the most important political event in China where decisions taken by the Central Committee are endorsed. (Photo by Prachatai via Flickr; CC 2.0)
China’s Communist Party has disbanded its Religious Affairs Bureau to bring religion under the control of the party’s Central Committee, in what some observers see as a further tightening of the belt. The State Administration of Religious Affairs (SARA) is to be absorbed by the United Front Work Department, an . . . 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

China: 100 Christians sent to ‘re-education’ camps in Xinjiang

China: 100 Christians sent to ‘re-education’ camps in Xinjiang
More than 100 Christians have been sent to “re-education” camps in China’s north-western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the past few months, World Watch Monitor has learned. In these camps, also known as “study centres” or “mind-transformation centres”, they are taught how to be loyal to the communist ideology. Most . . . Read More