China's Christians felt a noticeable rise in persecution in 2012 as the Communist government began the first of a three-phase plan to eradicate unregistered house churches, a new report says.
Cases of persecution of Christians rose by about 42 percent last year compared with 2011, according to the report by human rights group China Aid. With the number of persecuted Christians rising by roughly 14 percent and detentions by nearly 12 percent, overall persecution was about 13 percent worse than in 2011 – though China Aid termed its statistics just "the tip of the iceberg."
At least 132 cases of persecution affecting 4,919 Christians – 442 of whom were clergy – were reported in the country last year, according to China Aid's annual report. The Texas-based group tracked detention of at least 1,441 Christians, the sentencing of nine of them, and the abuse – verbal, mental and physical, including beatings and torture – of 37 Christians. more >>
Feng Jianmei, a Chinese woman who last June was beaten by birth control officials in the Shaanxi province and forced to abort her seven-month old baby girl, has spoken out for the first time since enduring her horrific tragedy, saying that she still deals with persistent medical issues due to the late-term abortion, and that she feels she and her husband suffered the greatest loss of all: the loss of a child.
Jianmei, whose forced abortion sparked global outcry against China's one-child policy after a photo of her lying next to her stillborn daughter went viral on the Internet, said in a recent interview with DragonTV that she lives in a different city than her husband, Deng Jiyuan, because she is still receiving medical treatment for her late-term abortion.
Additionally, Jianmei told the Chinese news channel, in Mandarin, that she currently lives in the Jiangsu province, away from her husband and family, because she felt too much emotional pain living in the province where she received the forced abortion. more >>
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinner, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night." (Ps. 1:1-2)
At 11-years-old, Su Su Thtwe knows more about walking in the counsel of the godly than most people her age do. She knows more about it, even, than some adults.
Every night, Su Su sleeps on the dusty concrete floor of a church in Myanmar. Given away by her mother, and then by her sister, she has nowhere else to go. The only things she can call her own are a little pink dress and a school uniform. But Su Su is happy. She delights in being raised in a Christian 'home.' more >>
As North Korea continues defying the concerns of the world by going ahead with its third nuclear test, refugees from the troubled country have spoken out to reveal the extreme religious persecution believers are suffering in the isolated Pacific nation.
"They ignore all freedoms. The human rights level is zero percent. Religions are not allowed. The leader of North Korea (Kim Jong-Un) has to be worshipped as god and this will not change unless the regime collapses," said a man identified as "Timothy," a 24-year old North Korean refugee.
Timothy has revealed to Open Doors USA, a persecution watchdog group, that he was tortured almost to the point of death for trying to escape to China nine years ago. He added that the government is "preoccupied with nuclear tests." more >>
A stampede in India on Sunday resulted in the death of 36 victims, predominately older women, as millions rushed to take part in the world's largest religious festival at a temporary city in Allahabad, northern India.
The tragedy reportedly occurred at the train station located in the northern city of Allahabad, where a stampede took place as thousands scurried to board a train that would take them to the site of the Kumbh Mela festival, a two-month -long festival that takes place at a makeshift city featuring a long, sandy bank that represents the intersection of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers.
Sunday was said to be one of the most holy days to bathe in the rivers as part of the festival, and the temporary city, which is constructed four times every 12 years for the festival, saw an attendance of 30 million Hindu pilgrims in one day. more >>
Hindu extremist attacks on Christians in Maharashtra state could expand even as violence elsewhere in India grows in areas where extremist groups had not been so active, Christian leaders said.
Ram Puniyani of the All India Secular Forum said at press conference in Mumbai this month that Maharashtra is vulnerable to increased attacks on Christians after "a decade of heightened Hindutva [Hindu nationalism], especially targeting tribal and Adivasi [indigenous] communities, as they are easy targets, with little fear of retaliation."
The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) released preliminary results of a study on Feb. 1, with Christian leaders saying that persecution is not increasing in comparison with previous years but is appearing in new areas. While the perennially troublesome Karnataka state last year saw the most attacks on Christians with 67, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 28, four new states entered the top 20: More attacks from Hindu extremists took place in Tamil Nadu, Assam, Mizoram and Goa than in previous years. more >>