The distribution of non-print Bibles such as digital downloads, CDs, Scripture texts and DVDs has more than doubled across the world in 2016, driven by the growing demand for Bibles on our phones and devices. More than three million non-print Bibles were distributed in 2016, up from less than 1.3 million in 2015. There’s been an even sharper increase since 2010, when the Fellowship distributed less than 200,000 non-print Bibles in a year. The trend mirrors growing internet use around the world. Around 45% of the world’s population now have access to the internet, and by 2020 seven out of every 10 people on the planet will own a smartphone. We spend more time on our phones than any other media.
At the end of 2016, Bible Society of Brazil reached the milestone of 150 million Bibles and New Testaments produced at its Bible Press since 1995. It’s one of the largest printing plants in the world primarily for the production of Scriptures. Executive Director Rudi Zimmer said, “In recent decades, more than in any other period, Brazilian churches have been involved in spreading the Word, making Brazil the largest field of Holy Scripture distribution around the world today.”
The full report, with comments on numerous countries seeing a sudden spike in Bible distribution in 2016 can be found here: www.unitedbiblesocieties.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Bible-distribution-in-2016.pdf
WENZHOU, Zhejiang, China, April 29, 2016 /Christian Newswire/ — Authorities in China’s coastal Zhejiang province incarcerated a pastor, his wife and son on Tuesday for contacting U.S. Consulate officials in Shanghai and foreign journalists.
Wen Xiaowu, a pastor, and his wife, both of whom provided legal defense counsel for churches affected by an ongoing cross demolition campaign, were criminally detained on April 26 and charged with “gathering a crowd to disturb social order.” His son, Wen “Eden” Yidian was taken into police custody on the same day for “obstructing public service.”
Family members, however, believe that the detentions are in response to the couple’s meetings with officials from the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai and a number of foreign journalists, during which they released developments on the cross demolitions. Zhang Kai, a prominent human rights lawyer, experienced a similarly sudden detention in August 2015 just a few days before he was scheduled to meet with U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom, David Saperstein.
Wen Xiaowu and his wife are currently being held in the Rui’an Detention Center in Zhejiang. They have not been allowed to meet with family members. Authorities also confiscated various personal items, including computers, from their home in Wenzhou.
“Arresting Pastor Wen and his family members for these meetings is a direct slap in the face to the U.S. government and the American people,” said China Aid president Bob Fu, who is a friend of the Wen family. “He is a man with integrity and passion who is always ready to help others. Despite the constant threats state security agents posed to him and his family in the past few years, he and his wife have been boldly providing legal counsel for churches and persecuted human rights defenders in Zhejiang. I urge the U.S. government to work with the Chinese authorities for the immediate release of the Wen family and other innocent church leaders who are under arrest.”
China Aid will update this story as more information becomes available.
China Aid exposes abuses such as those experienced by Wen Xiaowu and his family in order to promote religious freedom and rule of law in China.
BEIJING, Jan. 23, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ — A top family planning official dashed hopes that the One Child Policy will be abolished, or even modified significantly, any time soon. “We must unwaveringly adhere to the One Child Policy as a national policy to stabilize the low birth rate as the primary task,” stated Wang Xia, Chairman the National Population and Family Planning Commission, at a national conference on January 14.
Wang Xia further stated, “We need to keep the One-child policy and keep the national birth rate low . . . It’s our priority.”
Chinese national media quoted expert opinions that “the current low birthrate is not stable, except for a few very advanced major cities. In most areas of the nation, if they were to give up the One Child Policy, the current low birthrate would definitely rebound significantly. Therefore, in order to stabilize the low birthrate, it is necessary to hold on to the One Child Policy as a basic national policy,” according to a Zhong Xin China News Agency report.
Wang’s announcement came amidst criticisms by demographer Gu Baochang and statistician Ma Jiantang, that the declines in the labor force due to the Policy are endangering China’s economic future. Ma Jiantang added that China should look into “an appropriate and scientific family planning policy,” according to a Reuters report.
Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated, “Gu Baochang and Ma Jiantang join a growing chorus of critics of the One Child Policy. The fact that criticism is growing does not warrant jumping to the conclusion that the policy is at an end.
“Such critics generally do not mention human rights abuses as the reason for reform. Nor do they advocate abolition of the policy, but rather gradual modification by transitioning to a two-child policy. Their concern is for the potentially devastating, long-term economic and demographic consequences of the policy.”
“The central issue in the One Child Policy is not whether the government allows couples to have one or two children. Rather, it is the coercion with which this limit is enforced. Even with a two-child policy, women will still be subject to forced abortion if they get pregnant without a birth permit.
“Also, a two-child policy fails to discourage gendercide, the sex-selective abortion of baby girls. In areas where couples can have a second child if the first is a girl, gendercide is rampant.”
Littlejohn concluded, “Wang Xia’s strong pronouncement should end speculation that China will abandon the One Child Policy in the foreseeable future. Forced abortion up to the ninth month of pregnancy, and gendercide — the sex-selective abortion of baby girls — will continue until all coercive birth limits are abolished. We at Women’s Rights Without Frontiers are dismayed by this news, but will redouble our efforts to end this hideous crime against humanity.”
- China doubles the pace of reform with proposed two-child policy (independent.co.uk)
- In China, signs that one-child policy may be coming to an end (chinadailymail.com)
- Alarm in China over high gender imbalance (thehindu.com)
SHAYA, Xinjiang, China, March 29, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — ChinaAid has confirmed that relatives of prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng were finally allowed to visit him in prison last weekend, putting to rest fears that the pioneer in the growing Christian legal defense movement in China had died during the two-plus years of his forced disappearance into police custody.
Gao’s older brother and his father-in-law were permitted a half-hour meeting with Gao on March 24 at the Shaya prison, in a remote part of Xinjiang in far western China. They were able to see each other through a glass window and converse using a prison phone.
Gao’s wife, Geng He, telephoned ChinaAid’s founder and president Rev. Bob Fu on Tuesday night confirming the meeting and providing details.
She said that her husband broke into tears when her father told Gao, “My health is greatly improved now that I have seen you.” Gao, who has disappeared into police custody several times since 2006, was last seen by his family members in April 2010 when he briefly resurfaced after a previous long period of disappearance. During that time, he gave an extensive interview to the Associated Press, an American wire service, in which he gave a detailed account of brutal torture inflicted on him by Chinese police.
Gao’s wife said he looked fine during the weekend prison visit, which was conducted under the watchful eye of prison officials and Public Security Bureau officials. The PSB instructed Gao’s family members not to talk to the outside world about the visit.
PSB officers from Gao’s hometown in Shaanxi province had accompanied Gao’s older brother, Gao Zhiyi, on the entire trip from central China, a journey of more than 3000 kilometers (more than 2000 miles) to Shaya.
During their half-hour visit, Gao asked his brother to deposit 600 yuan ($100) into his prison account. Gao also asked about the wellbeing of his family.
Gao’s brother cried a lot and said to Gao’s wife, “I am relieved after finally being able to see that he is at least alive.”
Geng He expressed her deep gratitude to ChinaAid for its advocacy and legal and financial support.
ChinaAid’s Fu said, “We are glad to finally get this good news.” But he added, “For the sake of true justice and the rule of law in China, the Chinese government should immediately release attorney Gao without any conditions. Gao is totally innocent.”
Gao was sentenced on Dec. 22, 2006, to a three-year suspended prison term for “subversion” and was placed on probation for five years. On Dec. 16, 2011, just days before the end of the five-year probation period, China’s central government announced through the official Xinhua News Agency that the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court had sentenced Gao to a three-year prison term because he “had seriously violated probation rules for a number of times, which led to the court decision to withdraw the probation.”
On Jan. 10, 2012, Gao Zhiyi traveled to Shaya prison to see his brother, but prison authorities denied his request for a meeting, saying that Gao was under a three-month “observation period.”
According to reliable sources, on Feb. 24 this year, when Gao Zhiyi went to Beijing to make inquiries at the Beijing Intermediate Court, the Beijing Public Security Bureau and other relevant government agencies about how to visit Gao, he was taken into the “control” of the Beijing Public Security Bureau and “escorted” back to his hometown in Shaanxi province.
However, the PSB did agree to help facilitate communication with the Shaya prison authorities with regard to his request for a prison visit.
On March 15, Gao Zhiyi received a phone call from the Shaya prison authorities telling him to prepare to visit once his brother was deemed obedient to the prison authorities.
On March 24, Gao Zhiyi, escorted by two police officers who traveled with him the entire distance across the breadth of China from his hometown, arrived at Shaya prison.
- Prison Bars Brother of Imprisoned Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng from Visiting (faithinspires.wordpress.com)
- Gao Zhisheng (apparently) found (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 20, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Women’s Rights Without Frontiers has received credible reports that Chen Guangcheng is seriously ill, and other members of his family are languishing as well. According to one report, Chen’s second elder brother died of stomach cancer on the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival on January 23. Chen, his wife and mother were not allowed to attend the funeral. A few days later, according to a report by CHRD, Chen was seen to take a few steps in the courtyard. “He looked pale and moved unsteadily. Only a few steps out of the door he fainted and fell to the ground.”
Chen’s wife, Yuan Weijing, also was recently spotted leaning against the interior wall of their courtyard, looking “skinny . . . it seemed that it was difficult for her to move her waist.” Yuan was driven back into the house by guards.
Chen’s mother, in her eighties, became ill during the Spring Festival and has not recovered. She used to go out to buy food for the family. “Since the Spring Festival, Chen’s mother has not come out any more. No one has been seen to send food to Chen Guangcheng’s home. It is hard to imagine how the family is surviving.” Chen’s daughter, Kesi, has also been ill with a high fever.
In addition, the CHRD reports that the security surrounding Chen’s family has increased significantly. There are now seven cameras monitoring Chen’s home. Eight guards have moved into the family courtyard, in addition to the twenty guards that surround the house. Further, vans now block the alley leading to Chen’s home. “For those who live very close to Chen Guangcheng’s home, when they go home, they have to ask the guards to open the door of the van and let them go through the vehicle, just like passing the security.” The Chinese Communist Party also sent an additional 200 guards to watch Chen’s family for two weeks after his brother’s death, to prevent them from visiting his grave.
Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, stated: “The Chinese Communist Party’s continuing brutality towards a poor, blind, sick and innocent man is cowardly and depraved. Chen Guangcheng is a hero, for China and for the world – a man of towering courage and valiant endurance. Women’s Rights Without Frontiers demands his unconditional release and immediate medical treatment.”
Chen was arrested for exposing the systematic and massive use of forced abortion and sterilization in Linyi City in 2005.
Read the CHRD reports:
- This Christmas, help free Chen Guangcheng, persecuted opponent of China’s one-child policy (deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com)
- Actor Christopher Bale roughed up in bid to visit Chinese activist (theglobeandmail.com)
ChinaAid Releases Annual Report of Chinese Government Persecution of Christians & Churches in Mainland China in 2011
MIDLAND, Texas, Feb. 2, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — Chinese authorities stepped up their longstanding opposition to Christianity in China in 2011, China Aid Association said in its annual report released on Wednesday, citing figures that showed a dramatic worsening of government persecution of Christians and churches.
Those statistics included a 131.8% increase in the number of Christians detained for their religious beliefs. “This trend of worsening persecution has persisted for the past six years,” the group said, adding that Christians were not the only target.
“In the year just ended, China’s Communist regime has succeeded in creating an atmosphere of terror among the Chinese people — throughout the country but particularly in Beijing — by skirting the nation’s judicial system to punish its own citizens, in violation of the nation’s laws, through abduction, forced disappearance, torture, mentally and physically destructive abuse, treating family members as guilty-by-association, etc. In 2011, more than 100 influential lawyers and human rights activists — both Christians and non-Christians — had “disappeared,” or been “tortured, put under surveillance or sentenced,” the report said.
A new government practice in 2011 was targeting churches and individuals who were significantly impacting society — including the 1,000 member Shouwang Church in Beijing, which has been forced since April 2010 to hold worship services outdoors because government interference has made it impossible for them to buy or lease a meeting space, and leading legal activists such as constitutional law expert Dr. Fan Yafeng, who has been under house arrest since December 2010, and award-winning human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who “disappeared” into official custody for 20 months before being sent to a remote prison in far western China to serve a three-year sentence.
The report highlighted the worrying increase in the use of torture against detainees, citing a 33.3% increase over 2010 in the number of cases of abuse of all kinds, including torture.
ChinaAid, which was founded in 2002 to draw international attention to China’s gross human rights violations against house church Christians, monitors and reports on religious freedom violations in China. Drawing on a wide network of sources throughout the country, ChinaAid issues frequent news releases on cases of religious persecution in China. The Midland, Texas-based organization also assists victims of religious persecution to assert their rights and works to promote the rule of law in China.
- Dutch human rights award, Tulip, given to Chinese lawyer in absentia (thoolen.wordpress.com)
- Prison Bars Brother of Imprisoned Rights Lawyer Gao Zhisheng from Visiting (faithinspires.wordpress.com)
- China continues to imprison Christians: How you can help (examiner.com)
- The Worldwide Attack on Christians (ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com)
- Human Rights In China? (djcadchina.wordpress.com)
SHAYA COUNTY, XINJIANG, China, Jan. 11, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ — The prison in remote western China where Christian human rights lawyer is now imprisoned on Tuesday refused to let his older brother meet him, ChinaAid has learned.
Gao’s brother, Gao Zhiyi, who had traveled several thousand miles to reach the desolate Shaya Prison, is now waiting in Shaya county for permission to see his brother, who had disappeared into official custody for more than 20 months before the Chinese government announced last month that he was being sent to prison to serve a three-year sentence.
Being accompanied by Gao Zhisheng‘s father-in-law and two sister-in-law, Gao Zhiyi arrived at the prison after an arduous overland journey from inland China only to learn that no visits were permitted. Prison authorities told him that Gao was “not willing to see his relatives” and he is also under a three-month observation period. If he is deemed to have been cooperative during that period, he would be allowed visitors.
Gao’s attorney Mo Shaoping said that this is an illegitimate requirement with no basis in Chinese law. Gao’s wife, Geng He, told ChinaAid that Gao Zhiyi would stay in Shaya county and wait, in hopes that the authorities will relent and let him see his brother.
“After Gao’s disappearance into the hands of China’s security agents for more than 20 months, to now deny Gao a meeting with a family member as the Chinese New Year season approaches is not only illegal but also inhumane,” said ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu. “Obviously the Chinese government has to explain to both Gao’s family and the international community what they are trying to cover up about Gao’s current condition.”
ChinaAid calls on the free world to lodge protests with the Chinese government about this latest development so that the Chinese authorities will allow the two Gao brothers to meet.
- Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng denied visitors in jail (guardian.co.uk)
- China rights lawyer in remote jail, brother says (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Missing China dissident Gao Zhisheng ‘held in Xinjiang’ (telegraph.co.uk)
- Chinese rights lawyer in remote jail denied visits (mysanantonio.com)