The Chinese Communist Party has ordered Christians residing in Yugan county of Jiangxi province to remove all pictures of Jesus Christ from their homes and replace them with pictures of China's leader, President Xi Jinping. The Communists claim that people in this region are relying too much on Jesus to solve their problems and not trusting the government. This is just more evidence that China is cracking down on Christians and followers of other religions. In the past couple of years, Christian churches have been forced to remove crosses from their buildings. Recently, a Chinese pastor, her daughter, and three year old grandson were arrested for singing worship songs in a park. They stand accused of violating new religious laws restricting all religious expression to government approved locations. Earlier this year, China expelled South Korean missionaries. Even when the Church wins a victory from the Chinese legal system, that victory can prove costly. When pastor Li Jiangong and his wife Ding Cuimei tried to stop bulldozers from destroying their church because a business claimed the land, they were shoved into a ditch and buried. Pastor Li managed to dig himself out, but his wife suffocated before he could rescue her. After this, the government ruled the church had clear title to the land. All links to these articles are from Christianity Today. Here is a story from the Daily Beast concerning the recent crackdown on Chinese churches.
North Korea released a Korean pastor from Canada who had been sentenced to life in prison on charges of attempting to establish a religious state. Hyeon Soo-Lim had visited North Korea many times in connection with an orphanage and a nursing home his church founded. He spent two and a half years in prison and his health deteriorated during that time. Most other foreign nationals detained in North Korea in recent years are connected with his church. One surprise from this story is that while North Korea prevents most outsiders from entering the country, some who engage in humanitarian work can gain entry. Let's pray that this policy allows Christians to spread the Gospel so that the current government falls without the U.S. taking military action against it. HT: Christianity Today.
Persecution of Christians in Iran is increasing. Read this post by Daniel Hart at the Family Research Council blog. For background on Iran's 1 to 2 million Christians, see this post from Christianity Today.
The new President of India is a cause of concern for India's 25 to 60 million Christians. The new President, Ram Nath Kovind, is from one of India's lower castes, the Dalits. Dalit's make up a majority of India's Christians. But Christians fear that Kovind may be more loyal to Hindu Nationalists who want to use the government to persecute Christians and Muslims. Hindu Nationalists are pushing legislation outlawing Christians from converting others to Christ. HT: Christianity Today, article by Kate Shellnutt