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2017-12-28 18:00:03 Views : 606 |

News: How to pray for persecuted Christians in 2018

ReutersThe Communist Party is believed to be becoming progressively more suspicious of the influence of Christianity, which is experiencing significant growth in China.

ishtartv.com - christiantoday.com

Thu 28 Dec 2017


Release International, which campaigns for persecuted Christians worldwide, has highlighted China, Nigeria and India as 'countries of concern' in 2018.

In its latest Persecution Trends Report it says China has been cracking down on Christmas celebrations in some districts, banning Santa Claus and Christmas hats to further tighten its squeeze on Christianity. Release warns Christians in China are set to face a harsh new year, with tougher regulations on religious affairs coming into force in February giving the state greater control over churches and other places of worship.

The restrictions are being promoted to 'block extremism' and prevent the use of religion to 'endanger national security and undermine social order'. They reflect the Communist Party's fear that foreign powers are working to undermine its authority by supporting Christianity.

Release partner China Aid says the clampdown on Christianity in the atheist state is at its severest since the cultural revolution.

In Anhui, an official public security notice declared: 'Public places are not allowed to celebrate Christmas. Even creating a Christmas atmosphere – such as putting up Christmas trees, Santa Claus, wearing Christmas hats, and all other items related to Christmas is severely restricted. All Christmas-related activities are required to be cancelled.'

In Zhejiang, officials tore down a Christmas tree and in Hangzhou authorities warned Christians not to attend a Christmas celebration, leaving empty tables that had been laid and decorated.

In Nigeria, Christian villages have been coming under sustained attack by armed Fulani herdsman. The militants are driving Christians from their farms, killing and displacing thousands. A Nigerian partner of Release says the Fulani are being armed and encouraged to drive out Christians from the north in pursuit of an Islamist agenda.

The rise of right-wing Hindu nationalism in India lies behind increasing attacks against Christians there.

Countries of concern in the Middle East include Iran, where authorities are target Christian leaders for arrest and imprisonment, and Egypt, where Christian girls are being groomed and kidnapped.

Release is asking Christians to pledge to pray for the persecuted throughout 2018.

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