Keeping Christians Under Olympic Wraps

The Voice of the Martyrs is rallying for prayer for China, and rightly so. With less than three weeks to go before the start of the Beijing Olympic Games, Christians are still reportedly being persecuted by the Chinese government, which claims to uphold international religious freedom standards.

OneNewsNow.com is reporting that in late June, police arrested three members of a house church in the Gansu Province. The following day, two more house church members were arrested at the same site. And communist authorities say those arrested are suspected of taking part in cult activities and undermining public security.

The report continues:

Daniel Burton, with China Aid Association, disagrees with the Chinese officials and says the arrests are part of an ongoing crackdown on unregistered house churches leading up to the Olympics. “They are banning and cracking down heavily on certain members of house churches, trying to get them out of the way, or eradicate them, as their official statement said,” details Burton. “So we are seeing increased persecution as the Olympics draw near.”

But Burton says that while persecution has increased leading up to the Olympics, the international media will not focus on the human rights abuses as they converge to cover the Olympics. “The Communist Party’s rhetoric all along has been that they are opening religious freedom and human rights violations were being decreased,” he continues. “That’s what they’re saying to the West and the rest of the world, while those on the inside know that persecution is actually on the increase and uprise,” Burton reports.

This from the Christian Post:

The Olympic host detained for a second time a Christian bookstore owner on charges of “illegal printing of religious material,” China Aid Association recently learned.

Shi Weihan, who legally runs a religious bookstore in Beijing, sold only materials permissible by the government in his bookstore. But he also printed Bibles and Christian literature without authorization for distribution to local house churches.

In China, the government monitors the printing of religious literature, including the Bible. The government also overseas religious worship and allows people of faith to hold gatherings only in state-sanctioned religious facilities.

Protestant Christians are only allowed to worship in registered churches under the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, although millions of Christians attend unregistered house churches at the risk of being arrested.

Shi was first arrested with his wife in November 2007. His wife was soon released, but he remained in custody.

After massive media pressure, Beijing authorities released Shi on grounds of “insufficient evidence.” However, he was re-arrested on March 19 and has been held since without family and lawyer visitation rights, according to his wife, Zhang Jing. Zhang also said she has not received any update on her husband’s health condition, and said she is “very concerned” because he has diabetes, according to CAA.

In addition to his isolation, Shi’s June 19 court hearing on possible charges never took place, according to sources of the persecution watchdog agency Compass Direct.

June 19 marked the end of Shi’s three months of detention without charges. The Public Security Bureau is not legally allowed to detain Chinese citizens for more than two months without formal charges under Chinese law.

Other details of the Chinese government’s crackdown on unregistered Christians, including a campaign to eradicate house churches ahead of the Olympics, are detailed in a report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide and China Aid Association that was released last month. FULL STORY

The Voice of the Martyrs is offering a free Olympic prayer band. 180x90_Prayer-Bands-v2To get yours and to spread the word about prayer for China, go to the group’s Persecution Blog.

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Note: This post is also listed as part of Bloggers Unite at BlogCatalog

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4 thoughts on “Keeping Christians Under Olympic Wraps

  1. The UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights (approved by the body unanimously) states clearly that all people have the right to practice their own religion and even change it at any time. You can even choose no religion at all and be an agnostic, like me.

    Too many of the United States’ allies violate these and many other tenets of the document on a regular basis and sometimes as a matter of official policy (China, Saudi Arabia, etc.)

    We need a President and more members of the UN who are willing not only to blow the whistle on these blatant violations, but do something about it (non-military for those of you who might misunderstand my passion).

    Good post.

    RHM

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