China (MNN) — Heightened tensions between China and the US continue following tit-for-tat sanctions. Last week, China targeted three lawmakers and a diplomat following US restrictions against Chinese officials.
Isaac Six of Open Doors USA says there’s more to this issue than meets the eye. “The concern here is that the rights across China are eroding. There [are] major human rights and religious freedom violations,” he explains.
“A lot of the great ministry work being done in China could face some pretty serious challenges in the years ahead.”
Believers in China already face significant difficulties. Learn why China is #23 on Open Doors’ World Watch List. Things like sharing the Gospel or meeting with fellow Christians are problematic. Nonetheless, Chinese believers take bold risks to share their faith.
“There’s just a vibrant love for the Gospel. It’s liberating [them] from a lot of the government oppression that takes place in China,” Six says when describing Chinese believers.
“The amount of commitment and the willingness to risk freedom to share the Gospel – it’s unprecedented.”
China holds an estimated 100 million believers, “which is exponential over the last couple of decades,” Six adds.
Politics, religion face-off in China
Various developments and political brouhaha have kept China and the US in the headlines for weeks. Six outlines two situations with ties to religious freedom.
“There’s been so much back-and-forth over the last few weeks; it’s probably easiest to [group] it in two categories. You have a dispute over Hong Kong and the status of Hong Kong, and then you have a major dispute over what’s happening in Xinjiang with Uyghur Muslims,” he explains.
“Both Congress and President Trump’s administration are trying a strong approach here, and China seems to be just hitting us back with reprisals.”
Use today’s headlines to guide your prayers.
“Pray for the believers in China, that they would have perseverance, but also for political leaders, that they would have a change of heart,” Six requests.
“This is an unprecedented time for the US and China, so we need to [pray] for leaders on both sides. We pray for our leaders here in the US, but we need to pray for Xi Jinping; we need to pray for Chen Quanguo. He leads the repression in Xinjiang. And, you know what? I’ve seen so many people who were once persecutors become faithful, faithful believers; I think that’s possible for anyone.”
Header image courtesy of Open Doors USA.