Showing posts with label ASIA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ASIA. Show all posts

Thursday 24 September 2020

China Censors Teachers from Mentioning God

Christian Persecution

A new report from the Center for Studies on New Religion's publication Bitter Winter reveals China is spying on and censoring any religious teacher to make sure they don't mention God.

The Center for Studies on New Religion, a human rights organization focusing on abuses by the Chinese Communist Party's regime, published the report in an effort to help end the crackdown.

According to the report, Chinese authorities will monitor teachers and make sure they refrain from mentioning anything about democracy, freedom, religion,
or God.

The report also says that religious teachers are already considered a threat to the Chinese Communist Party simply because they are religious, regardless of what they have taught. The report cites complaints from multiple teachers in both colleges and elementary schools. The teachers were kept anonymous so the Chinese Communist Party cannot find and persecute them for speaking out about the regime's treatment of its own citizens.

One teacher noted that they “were observed during every class." Bitter Winter goes on to summarize the rest of what she stated, writing, "She added that the Chinese Ministry of Education adopted Opinions on Building and Improving a Long-term Effective Mechanism for College Teachers’ Ethics Construction in 2016, demanding teachers 'not say or do anything against the Party line in their educational or teaching activities.' Student informants planted in classes by authorities help ensure that teachers implement this order."

Already, "numerous" educators have been punished for not emphatically teaching the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda, with no indications the persecution of free-thinking teachers will end.

This isn't the first time China has censored or attacked Christians. Christian Headlines recently reported that the Chinese Communist Party had shut down a 1500-member church after they refused to install surveillance cameras in their church. The authorities also confiscated what they called "illegal promotional material" which likely included mostly Bibles and church literature.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for 'blasphemous texts'

In July, a man accused of blasphemy was shot dead in a courtroom in the northwestern city of Peshawar
In July, a man accused of blasphemy was shot dead in a courtroom
in the northwestern city of Peshawar

Asif Pervaiz, 37, who has been in custody since 2013, given the death penalty for sending 'blasphemous' text messages.

Islamabad, Pakistan - A court within the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has sentenced a Christian man to death for having committed "blasphemy", his lawyer says, in the latest case of Pakistan's strict religious laws being applied against minorities.

Asif Pervaiz, 37, has been in custody since 2013 when he was accused of sending "blasphemous" text messages to a former supervisor at work, lawyer Saif-ul-Malook told Al Jazeera.

The court rejected his testimony wherein he denied the charges and sentenced him to death on Tuesday.

"The complainant was a supervisor during a hosiery factory where Asif was working under him," said Malook.

"He denied the allegations and said that this man was trying to induce him to convert to Islam."

Speaking in his own defense in court earlier in the trial, Pervaiz claimed the supervisor confronted him after he quit work on the factory, and when he refused to convert he was accused of having sent blasphemous text messages to the person.

Blasphemy laws

Muhammad Saeed Khokher, the complainant within the case, denies wanting to convert Parvaiz, according to his lawyer, Ghulam Mustafa Chaudhry.

"He has taken this defense after the actual fact because he had no other clear defense," Chaudhry told Al Jazeera. "That's why he accused him of trying to convert him."

Chaudhry said there are other Christian employees at the factory, but none have accused Khokher of proselytizing.

Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws prescribe a compulsory execution for the crime of insulting Islam's Prophet Muhammad, and strict penalties for other infractions like insulting Islam, the holy Quran, or certain holy people.

There is currently a minimum of 80 people in prison in Pakistan for the crime of "blasphemy", with a minimum of half them facing life sentences or the execution, in line with the United State's Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

Those accused under the laws are mainly Muslim, during a rustic where 98 percent of the population follows Islam, but the laws disproportionately target members of minorities like Christians and Hindus.

Aasia Bibi case

In one of the foremost high-profile blasphemy cases within the country's history, the Supreme Court ruled in October 2018 that a Christian woman, Aasia Bibi, had been framed in her case during which the laws had inadequate oversight for false accusations.

Those accusations can have deadly consequences. Since 1990, a minimum of 77 people is killed in relation to blasphemy allegations, according to an Al Jazeera tally.

Those killed have included people accused of blasphemy, their members of the family, lawyers, and judges who have acquitted those accused of the crime. Bibi fled Pakistan in 2019 as a result of threats against her life.

The latest such murder occurred in July when a man accused of blasphemy was shot six times in a courtroom during a hearing in his case.

His murderer was apprehended and was garlanded with roses by far-right supporters during subsequent court appearances.

This month has seen a sharp spike in blasphemy cases being registered in Pakistan, particularly in the most populous province of Punjab. Many of these cases have targeted the country's sizeable Shi'ite minority, which forms roughly 15 percent of the population.

Since a series of large-scale sit-in protests on the matter of blasphemy in 2017, political parties have increasingly been including messaging on blasphemy in their platforms.

The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party, formed by firebrand scholar Khadim Hussain Rizvi before the 2018 polls, campaigned on a platform supported the defense of the blasphemy laws.

While it won few seats, it garnered the fourth-highest share of the countrywide popular vote by one party.

Thursday 27 August 2020

China Fines Man for Holding Online Bible Study...

...Violating Anti-Religion Law as Persecution of Christians Escalates

China Fines Man for Holding Online Bible Study

It's becoming increasingly difficult for Christians to practice their faith in Communist China as persecution escalates against the faithful. Now authorities are targeting online Bible studies.

International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that on Aug. 11, a Christian man in China's Yunnan province received a notice of administrative punishment from the local Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau (ERAB). The bureau accused him of hosting illegal religious education training online.

According to the Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness, one of their members, brother Zhang Wenli, was fined a hefty 20,000 RMB (approximately $2,870 USD), issued by the Lincang City Linxiang District ERAB, for his unauthorized activities.

The notice cited the 2018 Regulations on Religious Affairs, Article 41, that state "Non-religious groups, non-religious schools, non-religious activity sites, and temporary activity sites not appropriately designated as religious ones cannot conduct religious activities, accepting religious donations, carrying out religious training..."

He was asked to stop his activities. If he objected to the notice, he could submit a written appeal to the ERAB within three days after he received it.

Father Francis Liu told ICC that brother Zhang was not asking for donations, but was merely holding a Bible study online and was targeted by the authorities regardless.

ICC says the objective of the government's action is to coerce church members to join state-sanctioned churches and is part of the overall government crackdown. 

CBN News reported earlier this month that the communist regime has started inspecting books, photo albums, newspapers, and literature printed by churches in an effort to further regulate religious affairs.

Articles published by a church must have permission from specific institutions that are responsible for religious publications in order to be printed and their distribution is limited to a certain amount of people.

 A Religious Affairs Bureau insider told the religious liberty and human rights magazine, Bitter Winter, that "Even materials printed for personal use are purged. It's even illegal to print out unofficial Bibles downloaded from the internet."

The government is now forcing churches and households to replace crosses, religious symbols, and images of Jesus with portraits of China's communist leaders Xi and Mao. 

Nearly 250 crosses were removed from church buildings in just one province earlier this year. 

"As crosses are being removed throughout the country, those who refuse to cooperate will be accused of opposing the Communist Party," a local Christian told Bitter Winter. "We are pressured to give up our faith, but we will persevere." 

CBN News also reported that Christians who receive welfare payments must remove Christian pictures and symbols from their homes and replace them with pictures of their communist overlords.

"All impoverished households in the town were told to display Mao Zedong images," a local pastor told Bitter Winter. "The government is trying to eliminate our belief and wants to become God instead of Jesus."

A church member in one of the villages recalled how authorities entered his home and destroyed a calendar with an image of Jesus on it, then replaced it with a portrait of Mao instead.

"Impoverished religious households can't receive money from the state for nothing—they must obey the Communist Party for the money they receive," he explained.

In April, the government of Xinyu city in the southeastern province of Jiangxi withheld a disabled Christian's funds (about $14) if the believer continued to attend worship services.

And in Jiangxi's Poyang county, an elderly Christian woman was taken off the government's aid list because she said "Thank God" after receiving her monthly check (about $28).

In May, a government official in the eastern province of Shandong barged into the home of a Christian and posted portraits of Mao and President Xi Jinping, then said, "These are the greatest gods. If you want to worship somebody, they are the ones."

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