Olympics open doors and stir new threats in China

By November 20, 2008

China (MNN) — Now that China has faded from the world
spotlight of the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese Communist Party is launching a
nationwide campaign against "unstable social elements," including house church

Also targeting political protestors and human rights advocates, this
movement is intended to be part of a campaign for "20 more years of political
and social stability" in China. Open Doors USA continues an important project
that began during the Beijing Games, despite this new threat.

"Our Olympic Games version of the Gospel of John has been
very well received by everyone we have distributed it to," said one leader of
the Open Doors youth ministry division in China. "Looking at our distribution
records, we can see that it has already been delivered to practically every
province in the nation."

Although all copies of the Olympic Games Gospel of John have
been distributed, Open Doors plans to continue placing God's Word into the
hands of youth leaders across China.

"I shared with [a Chinese youth leader] that we would soon
be distributing a new Youth New Testament within his region," the leader said.
"He was overjoyed!"

Beijing house churches were ordered to halt services between
July 15 and October 15 while the Olympic Games were in session. House church
leaders were asked to sign documents in agreement with this postponement, and
anyone who broke the contract now faces "disciplinary action." The church of
one Chinese believer, Shi Weihan, was closed in June.

A year ago, Weihan was charged with printing unauthorized
Christian books and incarcerated. While in prison, Weihan has been denied
medical care for his diabetes and is now unrecognizable as a result of an
extreme weight loss. Weihan is still awaiting the outcome of his trial, but
during the Olympic Games his bookstore remained open in close proximity to the
Olympic Village.

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