Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- In China, Church Defies Police to Worship
- Hindu Extremists Afraid of Church Growth in India
- U.S. Grants Chinese Rights Lawyer's Family Political Asylum
- HIV Stigma Still Strong, Says Tearfund
In China, Church Defies Police to Worship
Christian Newswire reports that over 500 dedicated church members assembled outdoors to hold the two scheduled morning worship services last Sunday even though their pastors and deacons were in police custody. Wanbang church pastors Cui Quan, Cui Longguo, Liu Quanqin, and Huang Yun were detained for over 8 hours and interrogated for allegedly "engaging in illegal organization and activities." Two church deacons, Piao Longyi and Shi Weidong, were detained over Saturday night to prevent them from leading worship. On Sunday, church members met anyway. Police tried to intimidate members and prevent them from worshipping, but they stood their ground and refused to stop singing. Shanghai PSB officers have interrogated and detained many of the 2,000 members of Wanbang Missionary Church, but the church continues to meet.
Hindu Extremists Afraid of Church Growth in India
Mission News Network reports that Hindu extremist groups have confirmed that they are targeting Christians because of the large number of Hindus converting to Christianity. Dave Stravers, president of Mission India in Grand Rapids, Mich., said, "We [received] a power point presentation from a Hindu extremist group warning people in the state of Karnataka that the Christians are growing so fast that they're worried that the state might actually become a majority Christian state." According to Stavers, the quick proliferation of churches is changing the Indian landscape. "It used to be when you went through the villages, you saw only temples. But now you're seeing churches, and the temples are being closed. It's really confirming our experience that there is a powerful movement of Christ in India."
U.S. Grants Chinese Rights Lawyer's Family Political Asylum
ASSIST News Service reports that the family of imprisoned Chinese lawyer have finally won political asylum in the U.S. Human rights attorney Guo Feixiong's wife, Zhang Qing, and two children, Yang Tiance and Yang Tianjiao, escaped China in February. "Guo Feixiong is considered by many to be China's ‘Number Two' legal advocate, second only to human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng," said a ChinaAid spokesperson. Guo has been imprisoned since his 2006 arrest, and is currently serving a 5-year sentence in Meizhou Prison, Guangdong. Guo's wife, Zhang Qing, became a political target herself beginning in 2007, when she issued ten open letters appealing for Guo Feixiong's release to American and Chinese leaders. By the winter of 2008, the Guo family had come under close surveillance and harassment by Chinese police, forcing them to seek asylum outside the country.
HIV Stigma Still Strong, Says Tearfund
Christian Today reports that the stigma that still surrounds HIV/AIDS keeps many people from seeking treatment, even when offered through a church. In the United Kingdom, the number of people living with HIV has doubled since 2000 to 73,000. According to the World Health Organization and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, about 33.4 million people worldwide live with the virus. "The church at its best can be a source of great hope and support to people living with or affected by HIV," relief group Tearfund said in a report. "In our work across the world, day in, day out we see church volunteers caring for orphans, the sick and bereaved, helping people get access to treatment and crucially, challenging stigma... "But ignorance and prejudice remain within the church and until these harmful attitudes are completely let go of, the church's efforts will be undermined."