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Chinese Believers Targeted

ICC Note:

The Director of Open Doors’ comments on the continued persecution in China and announces a special campaign with the intention of uniting believers in prayer for the persecuted church in China. It is important to remember the power of prayer as well as the power of the unity of the Body of Christ for its family in need.
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1/14/2008 China (ChristianNewswire) The Open Doors’ director for China summarized Christian persecution in China in 2007 by saying that most Chinese can’t practice their religion openly.

The Chinese Communist Party waged a secret campaign against unregistered house churches from mid-June until the end of November. The government police investigated “the content of sermons, personal history of house church evangelists and the sources of their funds.” On November 18 authorities detained 40 church leaders from China Gospel Fellowship in Xiancheng County in Henan Province.

The director said many house church Christians are told they must stop their meetings. Some are fined. Some pastors are also locked up for a few days or sent to labor camps.

The Chinese government is carefully crafting an image of religious tolerance leading up to the Summer Olympics in Beijing, which start August 8. But the facts tell a different story.

Pastor Zhang Rongliang sits in a prison cell despite a judge’s previous statement that “insufficient evidence and ambiguous facts” surrounded his case, and that Zhang would be judged fairly. Zhang was sentenced in July 2006 to seven and a half years in prison for “attaining a passport through cheating” and “illegal border crossing.”

Zhang, leader of the China for Christ house church movement, was arrested without a charge on December 1, 2004. He had been detained five times before and had already spent a total of 12 years in prison. Zhang, who has major health problems, still has preached the gospel in prison and brought many to the Lord.

Christians are asked to pray for at least one minute each day; if possible at 8 p.m. Beijing time. To sign up for the campaign, go to www.OpenDoorsUSA.org or www.opendoorsusa.org/content/view/156.

“The Beijing Olympics start August 8; so we need to blanket Chinese believers right now with our prayers,” says Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller. “There are reports of increased pressure on house church leaders, raids and arrests and the expulsion of foreign missionaries. The raids and arrests are expected to increase as the start of the Olympics draws closer. China wants to weed out the potential ‘troublemakers’ and put its best foot forward to the world. And Christians are caught in the crossfire. Prayer is our No. 1 weapon.”

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