China—A Time of Great Uncertainty
January 25th is Chinese New Year and the beginning of the Year of the Rat, the first in the 12-year cycle of animals that distinguish each year from the next.
At this time of great uncertainty in China, pray that 2020 will be the beginning of a new cycle of revivals that sweep the nation, driven by the true hope and salvation found only in Jesus.
Publicly displaying religious symbols is a problem for all Christians in the provinces of Xinjiang and Tibet. Elsewhere in other parts of the country, publicly expressing Christian views can result in interrogation, loss of property or imprisonment. Christian leaders are detained at police stations with increasing frequency, while elderly Christians can have their government assistance taken away for professing their faith.
Conversion to Christianity is seen as a betrayal of the family and local village within Buddhist and Islamic communities. A convert is seen as a disgrace and faces isolation within their communities. Meeting with other Christians is nearly impossible.
The Chinese authorities drafted new guidelines to curb “chaotic” online information on religion in September 2018. Online resources have always been a major source of encouragement and training for Christians all over China – especially in rural and remote areas. Since September 2018, the online sharing of resources is only allowed when the provincial religious affairs department has issued a license for it. Some resources – such as the live broadcasting of sermons – are not allowed any more at all.
Despite these challenges, the church continues to grow in China.
Please pray for the release of ethnic minority groups still in prison camps, for persecuted brothers and sisters from Muslim and Buddhist backgrounds and for China’s house churches which are increasingly forced to meet in secret.
Pray for new wisdom, boldness and vision for Chinese believers in 2020.
China is number 23 on the 2020 World Watch List.