CHINA (The first trial of the 17 top leaders from a Chinese religious group ended March 3rd, after three-and-a-half days. Inhumane torture, including sexual abuse, was revealed by some defendants during the court trial. CAA learned from a government source that only one relative of each of the 17 defendants was allowed to attend the hearing. One defendant, Mr. Xu, immediately revoked his so-called “confession papers” as soon as the court finished reading the prosecutors interrogation records. He said the listed confessions were signed under enormous torture, when “I would rather die than live.” He was hung in the air for five hours after sleep deprivation for five days and nights. Some self-claimed “torture experts” tied his fingers, toes and genitals with wire and then connected the wire to electricity. One defendant was hung in the air with a very thick blanket and then electrified after he got extremely wet. Mr. Xu´s daughter, Ms. Xu Baiyin, described her father as “calm and peaceful.” “In his final remark, he urged everyone in the court to believe in Jesus; otherwise, they will one day face eternal judgments in heaven. He also urged his children to continue to follow Christ without fear.” Government sources have said Xu and at least three co-defendants will be sentenced to death.
Give thanks to God for these faithful followers of Jesus who are trusting in His power to sustain them. Pray that as Christians around the world petition the Chinese government and lift these believers in fervent prayer, God will have mercy on them, not only sparing their lives, but also releasing them from further prison time. Pray their witness of calm peace will move the hearts of all who watched them during this trial and authorities will come to know the One who is seeking them before it is too late.
China Aid Association
Recent events in India have caused hardships for Hopegivers International in their ongoing efforts to provide care, food and shelter for some of the orphans in their charge. In a letter to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi, Hopegivers Founder Bishop M. A. Thomas says: “The Rajasthan state police and the administration have unleashed a reign of terror on our institutions and attempts have been made on the lives of our senior administrators. The government-sponsored radicals, in the very presence of local police, have indulged in large scale vandalism of our properties and continue to file cases without merit against us on a daily basis. Our lives are in danger, and police officials are helpless under the political disposition in Rajasthan. The supplies to our hospitals, orphanages and schools are running out, and the children will suffer if something is not done now.” Reports are circulating that building inspectors are being recruited to find fault with the orphanages, schools and church buildings in order to have them condemned and torn down. They would be replaced with yoga centers and Hindu temples. Registrations for all institutions and programs are being revoked without cause on an arbitrary basis.
Pray our loving Father will protect His children in the besieged compound, giving them food for their bodies and spirits. Pray the staff members will be witnesses of faith and hope and especially love. Pray God will answer the prayers of Christians worldwide to stop the harassment and threats of violence to this facility.
Hindu villagers in the Eastern state of West Bengal assaulted Christian women from two different families on Thursday (March 2nd) and on February 16th. In last week´s assault, six young men forced their way into the home of Kanai Kamelia in East Medinipur district, Manhandling and tried to sexually assault his wife, Renuka Kamelia. The young men reviled the Kamelia family for attending a Christian prayer meeting. Renuka Kamelia, who bled profusely after the assault, later went to the Bhupathinagar police station, where police were said to have reluctantly registered her complaint. However, the officer in charge told Compass he had no knowledge of the attack. In the February attack, 13 local residents attacked the wife of influential Christian leader Biman Bandhu Patra. Leading the attack was Patra´s brother, who had long been upset about his decision to become a Christian.
Pray God will strengthen the hearts of these families as they trust in Him. Pray the Lord will move with power to change the hearts of the six young men, leading them to repentance and the joy of their salvation. Pray for a miracle of God´s grace to bring Patra´s brother into His Kingdom.
IRAN Baptist Press reports the U.S. Commission on International Freedom called for Washington to take action amid what it described as rapidly deteriorating conditions for religious minorities in the Islamic state, even though it acknowledged the White House´s policy alternatives are limited. Threats by political and religious leaders, as well as imprisonments and violence, have increased for religious minorities in Iran in recent months, the USCIRF said in a recent news release. Conditions had already begun to decline before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected Iran´s president in August, but public remarks by the new president and other leaders have demonstrated things could become worse for non-Muslims in the country. There is no direct diplomatic relationship between the United States and Iran. The State Department has designated Iran as one of the “countries of particular concern,” a list of the world´s worst violators of religious liberty.
Pray Christians in Iran will continue to trust God in spite of opposition. Pray the Holy Spirit will strengthen them with His love and power. Pray God will bring about a great spiritual revival in Iran to break the bonds of the enemy.
PAKISTAN On March 3rd, two Muslim seminarians in Pakistan´s Punjab province were found guilty today of murdering a Pakistani Christian, who died 22 months ago after being tortured to convert to Islam. Before a courtroom packed with Islamic madrassa students and police, Judge Javed Iqbal Warraich sentenced Maulvi Ghulam Rasool and Mohammed Tayyab to 25 years in prison for their part in torturing and killing Catholic university student Javed Anjum. Prosecution lawyer Khalil Tahir Sindhu told Compass he was pleased with the verdict, but he would appeal for the sentence to be changed to the death penalty.
Praise God for this sign of His justice. Give thanks for the courageous judge who pronounced this sentence before a courtroom full of madrassa students and police. Pray the two guilty men will have an opportunity to hear and believe the Good News of Jesus´ love and forgiveness.
The Palestinian Bible Society has temporarily closed down its center and bookshop in Gaza City after it came under a bombing threat, reports acting Secretary General, Nashat Filmon. Unknown masked gunmen distributed pamphlets on Palestine Square in Gaza City last month, threatening to blow up the building housing the Bible Society if it did not close down before the end of February. Last month two small pipe bombs exploded at the entrance of the center, causing damage, but no injuries. The Bible Society´s center in Bir Zeit on the West Bank was also attacked two weeks ago, with militants breaking windows and attempting to set its student facility on fire.
Pray God will make an opportunity for Bibles to be distributed in Gaza in spite of the closed Bible Society and bookstore. Pray courageous and joyful Christians will stand out in this environment, giving hope to those who live in the bondage of fear. Pray Jesus will give Muslims visions and dreams of Himself, surprising them with the joy of His patient, persevering love.