Tithing now a crime in China
Chinese police handed Elder Zhang Chunlei’s wife a formal notice in early May. As Yang Aiqing read the document, she noticed authorities arrested Elder Zhang because he committed “fraud” by collecting an offering at Guiyang Renai Reformed Church.
ChinaAid says that sadly, Elder Zhang’s arrest is just another example of how Chinese officials fabricate accusations and charges to suppress Christianity, raid the homes and apartments of believers, and ultimately arrest many faithful spiritual leaders.
According to ChinaAid, despite immense persecution, brave lawyers working on behalf of Guiyang Renai Reformed Church have successfully filed lawsuits against China’s Religious Affairs and Public Security Bureau.
ChinaAid says that after officials originally detained Elder Zhang, they also summoned his wife to the police station. Her lawyer said she was only released after 24 hours of non-stop interrogation while she was in handcuffs and leg irons.
Lawyer Sui Muqing said Ms Yang wasn’t even questioned about the fabricated “fraud” charge while her legs were chained. Rather “the purported summons and interrogation appeared to aim to frighten Ms. Yang by threatening and persecuting her”.
COVID threatens Indian ministries
More than 2000 Covid deaths among pastors and Christian leaders in India and Nepal have left Christians floundering and ministries in danger of collapse, Barnabas Fund reports.
Scores of Christian ministries are in danger of closing because there is no one to lead them. Black fungus now poses an additional deadly threat in India.
Both India and Nepal have lost many of their church leaders to the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving their sick, frightened and hungry congregations without pastoral care.
In addition, at least 40 ministries in India are in danger of closing down, simply because their leaders have died and there is no one able to replace them.
A Christian leader in Nepal told Barnabas Fund on May 26: “We are losing many pastors and leaders – even this morning we lost two pastors. Situation is very, very bad right now. More than 150 pastors and leaders are in hospital, isolating and Covid-19 positive. Many poor Christians have no food to eat. We have already experienced starvation.”
15 killed at baptism
Armed men, suspected to be jihadi militants, attacked a baptism ceremony in a village in Burkina Faso on May 18, killing 15 people. Many others were forced to flee the village, located in mainly Christian northern Burkina Faso near the border with Mali, in fear of their lives.
While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, groups affiliated to both Al Qaeda and Islamic State are active across Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
The Sahel region of Africa, along with parts of West Africa such as Nigeria, has in the last few years become the epicentre of global jihadi activity. On May 12, five Christians were killed during a terrorist attack in the Tillabéri region, Niger.
Indonesians foil terrorist plot
Police have uncovered an Islamist terrorist plot to attack several churches in suicide bombings and assassinate a leading church minister in the Christian-majority province of Papua. They arrested at least 10 suspected members of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which has links to the Islamic State terrorist group, on May 28.
One suspect revealed during questioning that suicide bombers had attempted twice to kill one of Papua’s most senior church leaders but he survived because both times he was targeted he was out of town.
Whereas JAD functions throughout Indonesia, East Indonesia Mujahideen’s operations are confined largely to Central Sulawesi province. On May 11 five sword-wielding men from this group killed four Christian farmers in Poso district.