Displaying items by tag: Asia
On 8 January Karnataka state police banned a community of fifty Christians from having worship services indefinitely. They claimed that none of them were Christian by birth and must have been coercively or fraudulently converted to Christianity. They were also accused of collecting government benefits as both Christians and Hindus. Hindu radicals use the state police to clamp down on Christian activities. They have tried social boycotts and physical beatings. However, local Christians remain faithful in the midst of continued harassment.’ One of the biggest threats to Hindu nationalist ideology is the gospel of Jesus Christ, which frees Hindus from the bondage of trying to appease or earn the favour of millions of false gods. If the gospel continues to spread, India cannot become the land of the Hindus. Hindus believe Christians must be treated as enemies. However the constitution states that citizens have the freedom to profess, practice, and propagate the religion of their choice. See also
55 Hong Kong activists and former politicians were arrested for subversion under the controversial national security legislation. They were later released on bail without their passports or travel documents. Next they held a news conference where Fernando Cheung spoke. He is a politician who resigned his seat in protest alongside other pro-democracy lawmakers in November. He believes the authorities will press charges after they have sorted out any evidence they gathered via sweeping search warrants executed by over 1,000 police officers. He said this is an effective way to bar them from seeking asylum. Since the national security law was passed, numerous Hong Kong activists have fled into exile. Many believe police may have allowed the activists to go free on bail to avoid fuelling international criticism. US secretary of state Michael Pompeo called the mass arrests an outrage that demonstrated the Chinese Communist Party’s contempt for its own people and the rule of law.
Recently the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sentenced House Church Pastor Li Juncai to five years in prison and fined him 210,000 yuan (£23,902). His church is the largest in the area, attracting 700 to 800 believers. In 2019, the CCP detained him for obstructing government administration, forcibly removed the cross from the church, removed signs proclaiming ‘Love God and people’, and forced church members to raise China’s national flag in front of the church. The pastor’s son contends that CCP authorities fabricated all charges against his father for taking a stance against the demolition of the church cross and suppressing house churches to tighten its control over religion.
A 26-year-old Boeing 737 left Jakarta with 62 people on board, but vanished four minutes later. There is no hope of finding any survivors. Search teams have found aircraft parts and human remains. It is believed the plane broke apart when it hit water. Please pray for the devastated friends and relatives of the deceased. Sriwijaya Air, founded in 2003, is a local budget airline which flies to Indonesian and other south-east Asian destinations. The plane went missing about 20km north of the capital Jakarta, not far from where another flight crashed in October 2018.
Raja Waris, a 25-year-old Christian lay reader, is in police custody in Lahore after he shared another person’s post critical of Islam on his Facebook page. Raja apologised to the Muslims in person, saying he had shared the post for academic understanding between Christians and Muslims and did not mean to offend any Muslims, and the issue appeared to be resolved. But then a huge mob gathered demanding his beheading. Fearing violence, hundreds of Christian residents fled their homes while around 400 anti-riot policemen were deployed to the area to thwart violence. When local church elders were taken to the police station, a large mob gathered outside, chanting slogans against Christians. Negotiations failed, and Raja was hiding due to threats to his life. Mob leaders only called off the siege after he was held under blasphemy laws that call for up to ten years in prison. He and his family are currently in a safe house for their security.
As Yemen prepares to move forward with a power-sharing government, two explosions at Aden airport were designed to annihilate the new government officials disembarking from their plane. Saudi Arabia had brokered a peace deal between Houthi rebels (controlling much of northern Yemen) and the Yemeni government. The explosions also threatened the UN effort for a nationwide cease-fire to prevent the coronavirus spreading. It did not injure any of the new cabinet, but killed 26 people and injured 50 more; the death toll is expected to climb as more victims succumb to their injuries. The government had just forged an alliance with southern separatists. This latest attack threatens a very tenuous situation plagued by years of war and hunger. An explosion was also heard at the presidential palace where cabinet members, the prime minister, and the Saudi ambassador had been taken for safety. Pray for officials to apprehend all those responsible, and for a successful resolution of the conflict between the Hadi government and Houthi rebels.
A little child - a long walk - a rocky road - no shoes - twice a day - five times a week. This is life for thousands of Indonesian Christian children because their parents cannot afford shoes. The more fortunate children have jepit (meaning pinch sandals because they must be gripped by toes). Not easy walking over rough ground, and not healthy for young growing feet. Christians asked Barnabas to provide proper school shoes for them. A local Christian shoe company is providing shoes at a 67% discount. This Christmas the children, who walk every day for miles in bare feet, will receive a gift of school shoes thanks to many generous donations.
In Pakistan, false accusations of blasphemy are common and often motivated by personal vendettas or religious hatred. Imran was falsely accused of blasphemy and imprisoned for life. On 15 December the Lahore High Court acquitted him and released him, after he had spent over ten years in prison. The development came as a shock to Imran’s family. ‘It is a day of resurrection for us’, Naveed Masih, Imran’s brother, said. ‘God has heard our cry and we are very thankful to Him. It’s a Christmas gift for us.’
Beijing and New Delhi have long been at loggerheads over a disputed border in the Himalayan mountains (see ) This led to massive skirmishes earlier this year. The two Asian powers are battling it out over water. China will build a hydroelectric project in one of the largest rivers in the world, which Indians call the Brahmaputra River. After Beijing announced its biggest hydropower project in history, New Delhi said that its aggressive plans could have major implications for India's food and water security, and would give China power to use waterways as a ‘weapon.’ Indian officials are now considering a rival water project in the same waters, from Arunachal Pradesh to Bangladesh. Analysts say that things could quickly spiral out of control because the two powers have not honoured a water-sharing agreement, which usually governs plans and discussions surrounding new water projects.
Last week we prayed for change and the need for reforms to alter the way Turkey polices, prosecutes, judges, and imprisons its residents. Almost all Kurdish mayors have been replaced by government-appointed administrators. Judges whose verdicts disagree with government diktats are probed and often punished. 63,014 people were prosecuted for insulting President Erdoğan between 2014 and 2019; 9,554 of them were sentenced. A political analyst said Erdoğan's reform program survived only nine days, and his charm offensive is fake and is too little too late. He wants Turkey to continue as a third-world democracy while hoping to lure foreign investment on the same terms as a Western democracy, but investors are leaving. The economy is in freefall, with double-digit inflation and central bank interest rates up to 15%, while unemployment rises sharply. Erdogan promises to democratise, hoping to reverse the economic downfall, but that will not happen without real reforms.