In February the Chinese government introduced revised ‘Regulations on Religious Affairs’, with the aim of tightening control over religious affairs in the country. In March it was also announced that an agency of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will now oversee all ethnic and religious affairs, which analysts fear could lead to a situation where the Party leadership may bypass laws and regulations in an attempt to control religious minorities.
Sunday 1 July
Under Xi Jinping control of religious life has become a new priority for the CPC, and this has seen the right to freedom of religion or belief, for both registered and unregistered religious communities, severely restricted. Pray that the revised regulations would not lead to further crackdown on religious believers.
Monday 2 July
Today please pray for CSW’s East Asia advocacy team as they seek to raise concerns about the new regulations with the politicians in the UK and US, and with institutions such as the European Union and the United Nations. Pray that human rights concerns would not be side-lined in the interest of maintaining trade relationships.
Tuesday 3 July
Thank you for your prayers for Living Stone Church in Guiyang, which has experienced severe government harassment since 2013. The church membership continue to face harassment and intimidation; please pray for courage and protection for them.
Wednesday 4 July
Pastor Yang Hua, one of Living Stone’s leaders, was released from prison in June after completing a two and a half year sentence. Thank you for praying for his release, his family and for Living Stone Church. Please continue to uphold them in prayer: according to friends and supporters, Pastor Yang is now suffering from multiple and serious health problems.
Thursday 5 July
Earlier this year the $2.5-million Golden Lampstand Church was totally destroyed by armed police with explosives. This was the latest in a campaign of forced demolition of churches, cross removal and destruction. Pray for wisdom, provision and strength for all those churches that have seen their churches destroyed or crosses removed from the church.
Friday 6 July
At the end of 2017, human rights lawyer Jiang Tianyong was sentenced to two years in prison on the charge of “inciting subversion of state power”, however CSW believes that his conviction is because of his human rights work. Pray for Jiang Tianyong as he enters the last year of his imprisonment: that he will be released soon and the charges against him dismissed.
Saturday 7 July
Lord, we pray for China: we ask you to move in power to restore freedom for people to choose, change and practise their religion. We thank you for brave church leaders such as Pastor Yang Hua and human rights defenders like Jiang Tianyong. Though their only reward today is prison, you have a heavenly reward waiting: please grant them strength, courage and, soon, freedom. Amen