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China: Persecution Increases

China’s central government has intensified its campaign against Christians and has recently targeted both registered and unregistered churches, according to China Aid Association.

On November 2, Judge Sun of the Linfen Intermediate Court instructed the families of five imprisoned leaders from the Linfen-Fushan Church in Shanxi province to hire lawyers to defend them in an immediate trial.

Even though the believers had been detained for more than 50 days, their families had not received warning or notification of arrest. The church leaders were arrested in late September, following an attack on their church.

One of the imprisoned leaders, Pastor Yang Rongli, has been transferred to the Taiyuan City Detention Center, a high-security prison directly controlled by the central government. Church members are concerned for her safety.

Meanwhile, on November 12, Public Security officials sealed the doors and locked down the Wanbang Missionary Church in Shanghai. On November 2, government officials had banned the church. While officials were blocking the church entrance, believers helped protect the associate pastor as he escaped into the crowd. Two days earlier, a formal notice of abolishment was issued to the senior pastor of the church. The seven pastors at the church also received notices stating that they are "self-claimed illegal preachers," and they were ordered to cease their "illegal religious activities." In recent weeks, many of the 2,000 members at the church have been questioned and threatened by members of multiple government agencies. The senior pastor's cell- phone number has been terminated, and the church's Web site has been shut down.

The Voice of the Martyrs has been supporting persecuted believers for more than 30 years. Pray that the detained Christians from the Linfen-Fushan Church will be found innocent and be released. Ask God to protect and encourage Pastor Yang Rongli. Pray that God will grant strength and endurance to members of the Wanbang Missionary Church. Pray that religious freedom will be respected by Chinese authorities.

Posted: November 23, 2009

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