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RUSSIA: Special bimonthly on freedom of religion or belief (16-28.02.2021)

26.02.21 – Defrocked priest Sergy’s pretrial detention extended until end of spring

The Basmanny District Court of Moscow has agreed on a three-month extension of the pretrial arrest of ex-priest Sergy Romanov, charged with several crimes, including inducement to suicide.

“The court has granted the investigator’s petition. Nikolay Romanov’s measure of restraint in the form of remand has been extended until May 28, 2021,” court spokesperson Irina Sofinskaya told  Interfax

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26.02.21 – More than 50 Jehovah’s Witnesses are imprisoned – an anti-record of persecution for practicing one’s faith

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/17.html

By February 25, 2021, the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses simultaneously placed in Russian colonies and pre-trial detention centers reached 51. In just 3.5 years after the decision of the Supreme Court to liquidate 396 legal entities of this religion, 230 people in the country went through places of imprisonment.

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26.02.21 – The Kostroma Court of Appeals commuted Sergey and Valeriya Rayman’s strict sentence

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/18.html

On February 26, 2021, the Kostroma Regional Court, having considered the appeal of the Rayman spouses, canceled the longest suspended sentence for faith – 8 and 7 years. Earlier, a lower court found Sergey and Valeriya guilty of organizing and participating in extremist activities.

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25.02.21 – CRIMEA: Muslim meetings for worship main target of “anti-missionary” prosecutions

Of the 13 individuals fined under Russia’s “anti-missionary” laws in 2020 in Russian-occupied Crimea, 10 were imams leading meetings for worship in mosques outside the framework of the Russian-backed Crimean Muslim Board. “What will the state’s next step be?”

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25.02.21 – The case of six Jehovah’s Witnesses from Orenburg is back in court 

Link to full text in Russian:

www.sova-center.ru/misuse/news/persecution/2021/02/d43729/

A court in Orenburg will begin reviewing in March the case of six Jehovah’s Witnesses that had previously been returned to the prosecutor.

In February 2021 the case of six Jehovah’s Witnesses was resubmitted to the Industrial District Court of Orenburg. The first court session was scheduled for March 1.

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24.02.21 – New cases against Jehovah’s Witnesses initiated in Birobidzhan 
One year after the case against Jehovah’s Witness Postnikov was opened, his wife was also persecuted.
24.02.21 – Series of searches in homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Vladimir region
On February 19, 2021, it became known that a series of searches took place in the homes of Jehovah’s Witnesses followers in Kovrov, Vladimir region.

 

24.02.21 – A 70-year-old Khakasia-based woman was sentenced to two years in a penal colony for practicing her faith. Her son was sentenced to six years in a penal colony. They are Jehovah’s Witnesses

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/16.html

On February 24, 2021, Abakan city court passed an unprecedentedly cruel sentence: for the first time a woman, who is also elderly, was sentenced to imprisonment. For the first time, a person is imprisoned under the milder part of article 282.2 (participation in a banned organization) of the RF Criminal Code. This is the case of Valentina Baranovskaya.

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24.02.21Homes of two Jehovah’s Witnesses in Razdolnoye, a Crimean village, were searched. A religious book was planted in the home of a 72-year-old believer

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/15.html

On February 10, 2021, in the village of Razdolnoye (Razdolnensky District, Crimea), security forces examined the homes of two local Jehovah’s Witnesses: Andrey Rogutskiy and Lyudmila Shevchenko. Bibles, notebooks, electronic devices were confiscated from believers.

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24.02.21 – The Russian Foreign Ministry claims that Jehovah’s Witnesses have the right to practice their religion in groups. Why then are there dozens of believers that are imprisoned?

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/14.html

“Members of a liquidated organization may worship independently, including as part of religious groups that do not require registration…” the Russian Foreign Ministry response, dated 20 February 2021, reads.

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19.02.21 – Vladimir region siloviki join in religious persecution. A series of searches took place in Kovrov

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/13.html

On February 17, 2021, believers from the Kovrov city reported searches that had taken place at least at 6 addresses. 14 people were detained and taken away for interrogation, including elderly ones. Details are being clarified.

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17.02.21 – RUSSIA: Early release applications denied

Six Jehovah’s Witnesses jailed on “extremism”-related charges applied for early release after serving half their jail terms, but have been unsuccessful. Prison administrations opposed the applications with what Jehovah’s Witnesses describe as “fabricated evidence” of violations of prison rules.

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16.02.21 – New searches of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Kemerovo region. A 53-year-old believer was detained; the court will be deciding which restrictions to place on him

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/9.html

On Sunday, February 14, 2021, at least six Jehovah’s Witnesses were searched in the city of Belovo (Kemerovo region). Sergey Ananin, 53, was detained and taken to a temporary detention center.

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CHINA: Special weekly FoRB newsletter on freedom of religion or belief (22-28.02.2021)

 Tibetan Buddhists

25.02.21 – Women routinely raped in Tibetan reeducation camps too

Just like Muslim women in Xinjiang, lay Buddhist girls and nuns are also submitted to systematic rape in Tibet’s transformation through education camps.

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Uyghur Muslims

26.02.21 – UN rights chief says abuses in Xinjiang must be ‘independently assessed’

The United Nations lead official for human rights called on Friday for a full and independent investigation of human rights abuses in northwest China’s Xinjiang region, where reports say over a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been held in a vast network of internment camps since 2017.

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23.02.21 – Canada calls it a genocide

The vote in Ottawa’s House of Commons is a slap in the face of the CCP, and a sign of hope for those persecuted in Xinjiang.

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22.02.21 – Support Hursen Hesen, another persecuted Uyghur intellectual

A filmmaker and actor from Xinjiang committed two capital sins: he was successful, and maintained his Uyghur identity. He has been sentenced to 15 years in jail.

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Falun Gong

28.02.21 – Once imprisoned for five years, a 69-year-old man sentenced again for his faith

Having served five years in prison, Mr. Duan Yifa, a Jimusi City, Heilongjiang Province resident, was secretly sentenced again for his faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

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28.02.21 – Married couple in their 70s sentenced to prison for their shared faith

A married couple in Dongying City, Shandong Province were both sentenced to three years and three months for their faith in Falun Gong, a mind-body practice that has been persecuted by the Chinese communist regime since 1999.

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Catholics

22.02.21 – Church in China: 2021 dominated by the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party

This year’s work program for Catholics has been drawn up by bishops and the Patriotic Association. Deepen the history of the Party, the Long March, Socialism, aligning with the leadership of Xi Jinping. A Theological Forum on Sinicization is also planned. More than a “pastoral” program, it is a political program in which the “independent and autonomous Church” is exalted.

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RUSSIA : Special Bimonthly Report on Freedom of Religion (01-15.02.2021)

15.02.21 – Two of Jehovah’s Witnesses detained in Moscow after February 10 raids 10 sent to detention center on the street of Verkhniye Polya

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/7.html

On 12 February 2021, Dmitry Zozulya, Judge of the Savelovsky district court of Moscow, sent the peaceful believers Aleksander Serebryakov and Yuriy Temirbulatov to jail for two months, until 10 April 2021. The men will be kept in Detention Center #7.

Continue reading…

14.02.21 – Russian crackdown on ‘extremist’ Jehovah’s Witnesses snares 90-year-old former teacher

The Christian group is being subjected to a brutal campaign that has seen believers punished for ‘offences’ such as discussing the Bible

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12.02.21 – Russian Jehovah’s Witness handed longest ‘extremism’ prison sentence

On January 28, 2021 the FSB conducted searches on believers in Kyzyl, the capital of the Tyva Republic. 41 year-old Anatoliy Senin was detained and placed in the temporary detention center. It became known that a criminal case was opened against him under an “extremist” article. In the next two days the court will decide on the question of a believer’s preventive measure.

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12.02.21 – Record sentence in mounting persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia and occupied Crimea

A Russian court has passed a 7.5 year sentence against 63-year-old pensioner Alexander Ivshin for reading and discussing the Bible with friends. This marks a new record in modern Russia’s persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses and comes just months after a new escalation in repression against believers in occupied Crimea.

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12.02.21 – The verdict has been announced for the 66th Jehovah's Witness. In Birobizhdan, the court sentenced Larisa Artamonova to a fine for her faith in God

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/6.html

On February 12, 2021, Judge Vladimir Mikhalev of the Birobidzhan District Court found Larisa Artamonova guilty under Part 2, Article 282.2 of the RF Criminal Code (participation in extremist activities). With reference to Article 64 of the Criminal Code, the court sentenced her to a fine of 10,000 rubles ($135) with payment in installments for 4 months.

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11.02.2021 – Two Jehovah’s Witnesses are detained in Moscow and a criminal case for practicing their faith is initiated. Some believers are reporting beatings

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/4.html

After a wave of searches that took place in Moscow and the Moscow region on February 10, 2021, 43-year-old Aleksandr Serebryakov and 43-year-old Yuriy Temirbulatov were detained. On February 12, 2021, the Savelovsky District Court of Moscow is scheduled to select a deterrence measure for the two men.

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10.02.21 – An unprecedentedly harsh sentence for a 63-year-old witness from the village of Kholmskaya: a seven-and-a-half year imprisonment for practicing faith

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/3.html

On February 10, 2021, Aleksandr Kholoshin, judge of the Abinsk district court of Krasnodar region, pronounced the sentence on Aleksandr Ivshin, who was accused by local law enforcement officials of organizing the activities of a banned organization (part 1 of article 282.2 of the RF Criminal Code). The believer was taken into custody in the courtroom. He will be kept in pre-trial detention until the sentence is enforced.

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02.02.21 – A Birobidzhan court handed a sentence for believing in God. Artur Lokhvitskiy received a two-and-a-half-year suspended sentence

Link to full text in Russian : https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/2.html

On February 2, 2021, Olga Klyuchikova, judge of the Birobidzhan district court of the Jewish Autonomous Region, sentenced 35-year-old Artur Lokhvitskiy to 2 years and 6 months in prison conditionally with a 3-year probation period and the obligation to report to the police once a month. The sentence has not come into force.

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01.02.21 – A Khakassia prosecutor requests a record-breaking eight-year prison sentence for Roman Baranovskiy for practicing his faith and a five-year sentence for his mother

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/02/1.html

On February 1, 2021, during a debate in the Abakan City Court, the prosecutor asked to sentence 46-year-old Roman Baranovsky to 8 years in prison and a year of restraint of freedom. For his 69-year-old mother, Valentina Baranovskaya, who suffered a stroke, the prosecutor requested 5 years in prison with the same restriction.

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RUSSIA: Special Bimonthly Digest on Freedom of Religion or Belief (17-31.01.2021)

29.01.21 – RUSSIA: “The policy of expelling ‘extremists and terrorists'”

After serving sentences as “extremists” for meeting to study and worship, three former prisoners of conscience face expulsion. One was deported, one may be expelled later in 2021, and one remains in detention as he is now stateless and no country has agreed to take him. “I think that the authorities – that is, de facto, the security services – perceive this measure not as an additional punishment, but as a way to get rid of the problem,” says Aleksandr Verkhovsky.

Continue reading…

29.01.21 – The Republic of Tyva became the 61st region of Russia where Jehovah’s Witnesses are persecuted.

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/01/7.html

On January 28, 2021 the FSB conducted searches on believers in Kyzyl, the capital of the Tyva Republic. 41 year-old Anatoliy Senin was detained and placed in the temporary detention center. It became known that a criminal case was opened against him under an “extremist” article. In the next two days the court will decide on the question of a believer’s preventive measure.

Continue reading…

26.01.21 – A sentence for discussing the Bible has been imposed in Rostov-on-Don. Galina Parkova received a two-year-three-month suspended sentence

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/01/6.html

On January 26, 2021, judge of the Leninsky District Court of Rostov-on-Don, Snezhana Fedorova, sentenced Galina Parkova to 2 years and 3 months on probation with the same probation period. The court considered the participation of a believer in peaceful religious meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses as extremism.

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26.01.2021 – Another criminal conviction of Jehovah’s Witnesses woman

Link to full text in Russian: https://www.kavkaz-uzel.media/articles/359093/

A court in Rostov-on-Don ruled that the Jehovah’s Witness Galina Parkova is a member of an extremist organization and sentenced her to a suspended sentence of two years and three months imprisonment. The believer refused to admit herself to be guilty.

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25.01.21 – Jehovah’s Witness triumphs in high court over prosecution

Link to full text in Russian : https://www.kavkaz-uzel.media/articles/359063/

Today the Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria refused to overturn the verdict of acquittal in the case of Jehovah’s Witness Yury Zalipaev, contrary to the position of the prosecutor’s office. Zalipaev has been granted the right to rehabilitation.

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25.01.21 – Influential church official criticizes Orthodox dissident

Link to full text in Russian: http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=76588

The head of the synodal Department for External Church Relations, Metropolitan Ilarion, urged Archdeacon Andrei Kuraev to repent and cease his blasphemy against the church.

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23.01.21 – Prosecutor tries to overturn victory of Jehovah’s Witness in south of Russia

Link to full text in Russian: https://www.kavkaz-uzel.media/articles/358950/

The Jehovah’s Witness Yury Zalipaev, whose acquittal is being appealed before the Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria, declared that he did not call for extremism, which the materials of the case confirm.

 

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23.01.21 – A Jewish Autonomous Region court sentenced the 43-year-old nurse Anastasiya Sychyeva to two years of suspended sentence for her belief in Jehovah’s God

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/01/3.html

On January 21, 2021, the judge of the Obluchensky district court of the Jewish Autonomous Region, Olga Afanasyeva, found Anastasiya Sycheva a member of a forbidden organization and sentenced her to 2 years of suspended imprisonment with a 2-year probation period and 6 months of restricted freedom.

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22.01.21 – Udmurtia law enforcement raided the homes and workplaces of believers. A married couple was detained

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/01/5.html

On January 21, 2021, law enforcement officers conducted searches in seven homes and workplaces of Votkinsk-based Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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22.01.21 – Feliks Makhammadiyev has been released. He was deported from Russia, and reconnected with his wife at the central railway station in Tashkent

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/01/4.html

After serving three years in prison for his faith, Feliks Makhammadiyev, having been deprived of Russian citizenship because of criminal prosecution, was released in the country of his birth on January 21, 2021. His wife Yevgenia, a Russian citizen, left the Russian Federation and followed him.

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21.01.21 – Nineteen Jehovah’s Witnesses on trial in Birobidzhan region

Link to full text in Russian: https://cutt.ly/MkaMKaN

Verdicts were announced for Jehovah’s Witnesses Evgeny Golik and Anastasia Sycheva in the Jewish autonomous oblast. This was reported to OVD-Info by the press service of the European Association of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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21.01.21 – Court keeps case of “Moscow Five” Jehovah’s Witnesses open

Link to full text in Russian: http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=76577

The Presnya court of Moscow extended the period of restriction under house arrest for adherents of the movement of Jehovah’s Witnesses (forbidden in the R.F.)

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20.01.21 – Yevgeniy Golik, 44, of Birobidzhan was convicted for his faith. He received a two-and-half year suspended sentence

Link to full text in Russian: https://jw-russia.org/news/2021/01/2.html

On January 20, 2021 Olga Klyuchikova, judge of the Birobidzhan district court of the Jewish Autonomous Region, sentenced Yevgeny Golik under part 2 of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code (participation in the activities of an extremist association): 2.5 years of suspended sentence with a probation period of 3 years and restriction of freedom for 1 year.

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18.01.21 – Devotees of forbidden organization of Jehovah’s witnesses to be tried in Stavropol

Link to full text in Russian: https://cutt.ly/5ka1UL2

The organizers of the activity of a local division of the religious organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses of the city of Budennovsk, which is prohibited on Russian territory, will be tried. This was reported by the press service of the Neftekumsk district court.

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18.01.2021 – Case of Jehovah’s witnesses from Neftekimsk reaches court

Link to full text in Russian : https://www.sova-center.ru/religion/news/extremism/counter-extremism/2021/01/d43514/

On 13 January, the criminal case of three Jehovah’s Witnesses reached the Neftekumsk district court of Stavropol territory. They are charged under part 3, article 33, part 1, article 282.2 (arranging the activity of an extremist organization) and part 3, article 33, part 1, article 282.3 (arranging the financing of extremist activity) of the Criminal Code.

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CHINA: Special weekly FoRB newsletter (09-15.01.2021)

News from Bitter Winter

14.01.21 – Chinese spies tried to create false “Uyghur terrorists” in Afghanistan

Ten Chinese agents were arrested and quietly expelled after trying to establish a false branch of the defunct East Turkestan Islamic Movement.

Continue reading…

13.01.21 – Akida’s story: The desperate cry of a Uyghur woman

 “Dear world, please help!” The heartrending plea of a daughter who has been searching in vain for her mother, folklorist Rahile Dawut, for the past three years.

Continue reading…

12.01.21 – British MPs, jewish leaders ask Twitter to block Chinese embassies’ accounts

They argue that CCP “wolf warrior” diplomats are “not less violent and active in spreading fake news than Trump.”

Continue reading…

 11.01.21 – China Tries to Disrupt Tibetan Parliamentary Elections

Tibetans abroad vote to elect the members of the Central Tibetan Administration. The CCP mobilizes its spies, and asks friendly governments to harass voters.

Continue reading…

Other sources

14.01.21 – Once imprisoned for fifteen years, Heilongjiang man arrested again

Having spent 15 years in detention during the past 21 years, a Hegang City, Heilongjiang Province resident was arrested again in a police sweep for his faith in Falun Gong in mid-December 2020.

Continue reading…

14.01.21 – Uyghurs in Turkey face an uncertain future as Ankara considers the fate of its extradition agreement with Beijing.

The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress ratified the extradition agreement signed in 2017 with Turkey on December 26, 2020.

Continue reading…

14.01.21 – 71-year-old woman sentenced to one year for putting up Falun Gong materials

A Panzhihua City, Sichuan Province resident was quickly sentenced to one year after she was arrested in July 2020 after being reported for putting up information about Falun Gong.

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14.01.21 – Christian Bian Bingling & two sons pursued for their belief, husband sentenced 4 years in prison

Bian Bingling, female, born in 1967, from Weishan county under the jurisdiction of Jining city in the eastern province of Shandong, is a Christian of The Church of Almighty God (CAG). In 2012, she was listed by the police as wanted, and had no choice but to go on the run. The police repeatedly visited her home to arrest her but failed every time.

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13.01.21 – US Coordinator For Tibetan Issues Speaks With Dalai Lama in a Virtual Meeting

The U.S. Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues spoke on Wednesday with the Dalai Lama in a virtual meeting, telling him that Washington will continue to urge Chinese authorities to meet with the exiled spiritual leader or his envoys to find ways to protect the region’s culture and religion.

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12.01.21 – Addendum for: CCP authorities sentence house church Pastor Li Juncai to five years in prison plus heavily fine him for refusing demolition of church cross

On January 11, ChinaAid secured a copy of the last page of verdicts for Pastor Li Juncai and three other Christians, Wu Raoyun, Ban Yun, and Ma Yanfang, arrested the same day [February 20, 2019].  ChinaAid has not yet confirmed details regarding the detainments of Xiao Guangang, and Meng Guozhen.

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11.01.21 – CCP authorities sentence house church Pastor Li Juncai to five years in prison plus heavily fine him for refusing demolition of church cross

Recently, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities sentenced Yuanyang County Central House Church Pastor Li Juncai to five years in prison plus ordered him to pay a fine of 210,000 Chinese Yuan (32,423.42 USD). For objecting to the CCP’s forcible cross removal and refusing to change a church proclamation “Love God and people” to “Love the country…,” authorities accused Pastor Li of 1) embezzlement, 2) obstructing government administration and 3) destruction of accounting records.

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09.01.21 – Beijing authorities use the pandemic to shut down all 155 religious venues, promise to stop illegal gatherings

The decision was taken despite the fact that religious activities have had “zero infections”. Strict measures and continuous controls have led many priests to close their churches at Christmas. On social media, Catholics are accused of spreading the virus, a charged rejected by the Patriotic Catholic Association. The authorities put a stop to “illegal activities” by underground communities.

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08.01.21 – Dozens of Chinese officials raid house church, detain pastor and 5 members

Local authorities in China’s Taiyuan city raided the house church of An Yankui, the preacher of Xuncheng Church during a Bible study. International Christian Concern (ICC) reported.

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