Please prayerfully remember Chinese Christian human rights defender Zhang Zhan

Source:  www.csw.org.uk

Date:  December 26, 2020

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)

This verse reminds us that two thousand years ago a great light dawned on a world in darkness. Yet while we celebrate the birth of Christ that brought that light, the year’s biggest Christian festival is often the occasion of a clampdown on Christians around the world.

This week pray for everyone whose faith makes them a target, and especially remember Chinese Christian human rights defender Zhang Zhan.

Zhang was detained by Chinese authorities in May. She had travelled to Wuhan, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, to report on the pandemic. She questioned whether the authorities’ response to the pandemic infringed on human rights, and questioned whether the severity of the outbreak had been covered up. She was taken away from her hotel room on 14 May and has been in a Shanghai detention centre ever since.

‘I would pray sincerely for the perpetrators’

At the beginning of summer Zhang went on hunger strike in protest of her detention, with staff at the detention centre force-feeding her as she refused to eat or drink anything. Recent reports indicate that she remains on hunger strike today, and there are serious fears for health and wellbeing.

Zhang once wrote, ‘If I were to face God, I would pray sincerely for [the perpetrators] and ask Him to forgive their sins, not because I’m a moral person. Rather, it's that I have to do it.’

Despite the fact that all she did was to try to find out the truth about the pandemic Zhang has been charged with ‘picking quarrels and provoking trouble’. No trial date has been set but she may be tried over Christmas and New Year, a time when ‘sensitive’ cases like this are often tried, so please keep her in your prayers.

In summary, please pray:

  • Thank God that although our freedom to gather for Christmas celebrations has been curtailed, it is for legitimate public health reasons, rather than persecution because of our faith.
  • Pray for God’s protection over Zhang as she protests her unlawful detention; pray that she would be released immediately and that she would suffer no lasting effects from her hunger strike.
  • Ask God to protect Christian communities around the world as they celebrate Christ’s birth. Pray that any plans to harm them would come to nothing, and they would rejoice in peace and freedom.

 

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