Still Persecuted And
Dying Today In Many Countries
From Emails Received January and February, 2007
Notes From VOM About Pakistan and China
Pray for CHINA
CHINA - On January 26, 2007, Hua Huidi and his 76-year-old mother were attacked and wounded by seven police officers while walking near a 2008 Olympic hotel site in Beijing, China.
According to China Aid Association (CAA), Hua, an active house-church member in Beijing, and his mother were kicked on the ground and later taken to the Olympic Police Station for questioning. “When Hua asked the police to release his sick mother and explain the legal ground for the detention, he was beaten repeatedly. While the temperature in Beijing was in the 20s, cold water was poured on him. He was later taken to a detention center,” CAA said.
Hua’s family learned that he was sentenced to one month of criminal detention.
”Brother Hua is a faithful Christian seeking only to serve the Lord in accordance with his conscience,” said Todd Nettleton of The Voice of the Martyrs. “The Chinese government says they ensure freedom of religion, but this case clearly shows the truth. We urge Chinese leaders in Beijing to release our Christian brother immediately.”
Pray God will protect Hua and his mother in the midst of this difficult time. Ask Him to comfort their family and for Christians in China to remain steadfast in their relationship with Christ amidst great persecution.
****Beijing House Church Leader Released February 8, 2007
UPDATE – On Monday, February 5, 2007, Liu Fenggang was released after serving three years in prison. The well known house church leader expressed appreciation for the help his family received while he was in prison.
“I am thankful of God’s grace and the prayers and letters from brothers and sisters all over the world. The suffering my wife and son had to endure is nothing compared to the martyred brothers and sisters in China. I will continue to stand up for this just cause for which I am called to speak up for the persecuted,” Liu said.
Liu was arrested in October 2003 and sentenced to a three year imprisonment in August 2004 for “providing national intelligence to overseas organizations” by reporting a house church destruction case to overseas Christian organizations. During his imprisonment he was hospitalized five times for serious heart disease and diabetes. Liu previously spent two years in a labor camp, starting in 1996, because of his work with house churches.
“I join with my brother in thanking those who have prayed for and written letters of encouragement during his time in prison. We are thankful for Brother Liu’s example and faithfulness, and we pray for other Chinese Christians still in Communist prisons,” said Todd Nettleton of The Voice of Martyrs.
****House Church Service raided in Henan Province; 11 arrested January 6, 2007
CHINA – On January 6, 2007, police from Yongfeng township police station in Xiuwu county, Henan province, raided a Christian meeting in a home in Chencun village. Eleven Christians were arrested, two were released the next day and nine remain in jail.
According to a press release issued by China Aid Association (CAA), police broke into the house, arrested the Christians and interrogated them at the police station. “The police broke in and proclaimed the gathering a cultic and illegal activity,” CAA said. Pray for our brothers and sisters in prison in China. Pray God will encourage those facing persecution because of their belief in Christ.
****Pakistani Christians Escape Brick Kiln Torture January 29, 2007
PAKISTAN – On November 15, 2006, Shahzad and Saraj Bashir, 18 and 20 years old respectively, escaped bondage and torture at the hands of their brick kiln owner. Shazad and Saraj told a VOM worker in Pakistan, the brick kiln owner had kidnapped them and kept them in a secret location where they were tortured and beaten in an attempt to force them to convert from Christianity to Islam.
“When Shahzad and Saraj refused to convert, the brick kiln owner took them away. He put them in a small empty room with a mud floor without a bed, chair or mattress. He kept them there for a month. He gave them food once a day and beat them with a stick when they refused to convert back to Islam. He also threw acid on their arms, but they remained true to their Christ,” the VOM worker said.
When Shahzad’s family started working on the kiln, they were paid between 200 to 300 rupees for one thousand bricks. After a month the owner stopped paying them, but instead told Shahzad’s family they owed him 45,000 rupees ($744). “What angered the brick kiln owner more were the prayer meetings conducted by Pastor Emmanuel. Christians attended the prayer meetings and refused converting to Islam,” the worker added.
Throughout Shahzad and Saraj’s captivity, they prayed daily and asked God to rescue them and He did. “On November 15 when they discovered the door was open, they bowed before God and thanked Him for the miracle and then escaped,” the worker said. The brothers ran for eight days, without food, until they reunited with their family.
The brothers are still fearful of the kiln owner and have moved from the area close to the brick kiln. The owner is still looking for Shahzad and Saraj to repay their debt. Pray God protects them as they relocate to new areas. Ask God to give them strength and resilience to remain faithful. Pray God will use their testimony to draw other Muslims in Pakistan to Himself.
****Evangelists Beaten at Muslim Festival January 26, 2007
A team of Pakistani Christian evangelists supported by The Voice of the Martyrs was attacked and beaten after handing out more than 13,000 Christian tracts at a Muslim festival in Pakpattan, Pakistan on Friday, January 26th.
Three members of the four-member team were roughed up by radical Muslims then taken to the police station, where they were detained and questioned before being released.
However, the fourth evangelist, the, leader of the team was badly beaten by a mob of more than 100 angry Muslims, who then dragged him through the crowd before taking him to the police station. He was beaten so severely that he reported blood in his urine and his stool. VOM contacts are taking him to a hospital for medical care.
Tens of thousands of Muslims gather for similar conferences each year, where they are lectured to stand up for their faith and follow the Koran’s instructions on how to handle apostates.
“We are thrilled to stand with such courageous Christians,” said VOM’s Todd Nettleton. “These men bravely carried Christ’s message of love to some of those who need it most, even though it was costly to do so. We are blessed to be able to provide medical care for them, and to continue to provide gospel materials to Pakistani Christians who risk so much to live for Christ.”
****Pakistani Christian Released from Prison after Six Years January 19, 2007
On Friday, January 19, 2007, Shahbaz Kaka, was released from prison after serving six years of a life sentence. According to a statement issued by justice Ejah Ahmad Chaudry (High Court Lahore) Shahbaz will spend a month under medical care and then return home.
Shahbaz was arrested in June 2001 after he used the bathroom at a mosque. “Qari Rafique, the head of the mosque, asked him why he was using the toilet that was adjacent to the mosque. He quizzed Shahbaz on whether he was a Christian because he was wearing a cross around his neck,” a VOM source said. The source added that after the conversation, Rafique initiated false allegations against Shahbaz. A complaint was made to the authorities stating Shahbaz disgraced the Quran by tearing pages out, cutting them into pieces and trampling them under his feet. Shahbaz was arrested and later charged with blasphemy. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2004.
For the first 18 months of his imprisonment, Shahbaz’s mother was not informed of the charges against her son or his whereabouts. She eventually learned that he was still alive and of his arrest from VOM workers.
The Voice of the Martyrs learned of Shahbaz’s case in 2003 and has helped him and his family. In addition, VOM workers have met with and encouraged Shahbaz’s family during this time of hardship and grief.
“We rejoice with Shahbaz Kaka and his family at his release,” said Todd Nettleton, VOM’s Director of Media Development. ”Yet we wonder about the injustice of his arrest and the six years he spent in prison. We are concerned for other Christians who still face persecution in Pakistan, and encourage the Pakistani government to provide true religious freedom in their country.”
The Voice of the Martyrs, founded in 1967, provides Christian literature, humanitarian aid and other assistance to Christians in Pakistan and 40 other nations where Christians suffer for their faith.
If If you would like to learn more about the free newletter of the Voice of the Martyrs, simply click on the link below. The newsletter reveals some facts about present day persecution of Christians, and highlights many courageous stories you will never read in the press or see on broadcast media.