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We Persevere

Weekly Roundup Week of July 22, 2016

CHINA: Despite the increasing persecution of Christians in China, the Communist country is on track to have the largest Christian population in the world by 2030, according to Rodney Pennington, who studies religious trends for OMF International. By 2030, “China will almost certainly have the most evangelical Christians,” he said, “and that will greatly shape the global church in years to come.”

Yu Jie, a Chinese Christian and democracy activist, said in an essay published in the August edition of First Things that Chinese Christians are known to say “the greater the persecution, the greater the revival.” If recent reports are correct, the persecution has indeed been great but the revival has been, in Yu’s words, a “gushing well or geyser.”  Read more about the phenomenon here.

VIETNAM: At least 108 pastors have been arrested by Vietnamese authorities because of their faith. Pastors who are imprisoned are confronted with a harsh and crude environment, where failing to obey orders could take a deadly turn.

Last month, a series of crackdowns on Christians occurred just a few weeks after U.S. President Barack Obama visited Vietnam. Vietnam’s human rights record could improve with the help of the United States. The Vietnamese government acts very harshly toward Christians, and the U.S. efforts to alleviate the situation still have not produced positive results. Read more…

MIDDLE EAST: Whereas China’s persecution is leading to rapid growth, persecution in the Middle East continues to reduce the Christian population. Human rights activists continue to chronicle the ongoing genocide in the region. This week, the Hudson Institute released The ISIS Genocide of Middle Eastern Christian Minorities and Its Jizya Propaganda Ploy, a report produced by Nina Shea, director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.

According to reporter Tammy Waitt, the report examines genocide waged against Christian minorities by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), by chronicling eye witness accounts, testimony by community leaders, and human rights documentation. The findings contradict a recent report by the influential Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria (established under UN auspices) that ISIS recognizes “their right to exist as Christians” within its territory, because it respects them as “People of the Book.” The commission also asserts that ISIS’ attacks on Christians are politically, rather than religiously, motivated.

Such assertions, if accepted, would prevent persecuted Christians from falling under the definition of genocide, under the UN Convention on
Genocide, and from receiving justice and appropriate relief. Read the report here.

 

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