After serving two years in Chinese labour camps, five leaders of the Linfen house church have been released:
Fao Fuqin, Zhao Guoai, Yang Caizhen, Yang Hongzhen and Li Shuangpin.
Although each person experienced physical and psychological torment, they all feel strong, experiencing “glory in the midst of trials and tribulations,” reported China Aid Association.
“We who have been released express our most sincere gratitude to the brothers and sisters around the world who have been concerned about us and who have helped us. May God remember your prayers and that you did God is with us all,” the five told ChinaAid.
The Christians were arrested in the aftermath of a Sept. 13, 2009, attack on Linfen church, when over 400 local police, government officials and hired thugs attacked one of the church branches.
In the attack, they demolished a church building and clashed with several hundred members of the 50,000 member church, sending 30 to the hospital.
Five of the ten leaders detained were sentenced to prison terms of up to seven years during a one-day show trial, and the other five were sentenced to two years of re-education through labour.
“We sincerely urge all brothers and sisters around the world to pray for Linfen church… At the same time, we also ask brothers and sisters to remember in prayer the Linfen leaders who are still suffering in jail,” the five told ChinaAid.
“May the Lord move the police to release them early so that they can be reunited with their families.”
Police still occupy the site where the main Linfen church building stands. The church’s members are scattered, but they continue to meet and worship in private homes, according to ChinaAid.
“The Linfen church leaders and their families suffered cruel persecution for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the church,” said Bob Fu, ChinaAid founder and president.
“We express our great respect for them and continue to lift up prayers for them and their families. These loyal and devoted brothers and sisters are not only the hope of the church, but also are the hope of Chinese society.”
Sources: ChinaAid Association
Iran: Crackdown on Bibles
The Iranian government is showing increasing concern about the large quantities of Bibles entering the country, according to VOM contacts.
Government advisor Dr. Majid Abhari recently announced the seizure of 6,500 copies of the Bible between the cities of Zanjan and Abhar in northwest Iran, according to Mohabat News.
He accused the missionaries in charge of the operation of using money and propaganda to influence people in Iran, specifically youth.
“With regards to the activities of these Christian missionaries to deceive people, especially youngsters, they have begun a huge campaign by spending huge sums and false propaganda for deceiving the public,” Abhari told a government news agency.
Bible confiscation is common in Iran.
Prior to this event, police officers and revolutionary guards seized and burned 300 Bibles on a routine bus inspection in November 2010.
Abhari expressed concerns about the large quantity of Bibles recently imported and circulated in Iran.
“These books were made with the best paper in the world [and were] pocket size. The important point in this issue that should be considered by intelligence, judicial and religious agencies is that all religions are strengthening their power to confront Islam.”
Many government officials believe the purpose of Christians is to directly confront Islam, reports a VOM contact.
According to VOM contacts, Iranian officials have always been against Muslim conversions to Christianity.
However, three decades of extensive propaganda against Christianity has not deterred many Iranians from seeking the gospel.