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Christian leader jailed for 12 years amid Chinese church crackdown (July 4, 2014, The Telegraph)

In a reminder that the more things change the more they stay the same, another house church leader has been sentenced to prison for "gathering crowds to disturb public order."

A prominent church leader from central China has been jailed for 12 years amid claims that his imprisonment is an attempt to clamp down on the region's fast growing Christian church. Zhang Shaojie, the head of Henan province's Nanle County Church, received the sentence for "gathering crowds to disturb public order" and fraud on Friday morning, Zhang Xinyun, his lawyer, confirmed, declining to give further details. The pastor was detained last November along with 23 other church members after a dispute with local Communist Party officials who they claimed were trying to seize the land on which their place of worship was built, activists say.

Journalists from Britain's Sky News were attacked and expelled from the area by government officials as they tried to report on the church's plight last December.

The high-profile case has appalled members of China's fast growing Christian community, which some believe could become the world's largest in the coming decades. Many see the pastor's treatment as an indication of the Communist Party's continued hostility towards their church.

The Growth of China in 15 photos (June 26, Teaching Nomad)

The folks at Teaching Nomad have put together a series of "then and now" photos illustrating the scope of change that China has experienced in the past 30 years.

While these facts are certainly amazing it can be hard to visualize this change on an individual level. That's why we've scoured the net to dig up some photos of the China gone by so you can compare it the booming China of today and properly appreciate how amazing it is to live and teach in this epicenter of global change.

The two pictures of the Shanghai skyline are particularly striking! (1990 above; 2010 below)

Papers of prominent Chinese evangelist donated to YDS Library archives (June 9, 2014, Yale University)

All you church history researchers and hobby historians out there are going to love this one. The personal papers of evangelist John Sung are now part of the Yale Divinity Library.

The personal papers of Chinese evangelist John Sung have been donated to the archival collection of the Yale Divinity Library. Sung (1901-1944) was a significant figure of the revival movement in China in the 1920s and 1930s. The YDS library holds the largest North American collection of archival and published documents about the missionary movement and the development of Christianity in China.

The Yale Divinity Library celebrated the acquisition with a ceremony on May 8 in the Day Missions Reading Room. Sung's grandson, Timothy Wang, was on hand to represent the family.

"The diary is an asset to church history," said Wang, who is himself a minister. "It belongs to the church."

Though Sung died seventy years ago, he remains influential in contemporary Chinese Christianity

"Sung is a huge figure in the underground house church movement today," said Assistant Professor of Asian Christianity and Theology Chloe Starr. "His reputation remains phenomenally high."

Image credit: Joann Pittman

ChinaSource Team

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