US passes Act allowing for Chinese sanctions
THE Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 was signed into law last week in the United States by President Donald Trump, allowing for sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for the mass arbitrary detention of minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). The law is the first in the world to address human-rights concerns in the region (News, 29 November 2019). Christian Solidarity Worldwide welcomed the news: the chief executive, Mervyn Thomas, said that it had “the potential to facilitate greater scrutiny of the ongoing human rights crisis in the XUAR”.
Iranian Christians’ sentences reduced on appeal
THREE imprisoned Christians in Iran have received a verdict on their appeals. Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported that Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, the leader of the Church of Iran who went on a hunger strike last year (News, 18 October 2019), and Deacon Saheb Fadaie, each received six-year sentences, reduced from ten years, at a retrial. A church member, Mohammadreza Omidi (Yuhan), received a two-year sentence. Yasser Mossayebzadeh, who was convicted with the others in 2017, was informed earlier this month that he would not face a retrial, Article18 reports.
South Carolina diocese has title to its property
A BREAKAWAY diocese in the United States has won the right to keep its name. The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina broke away from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina in 2012, and lost the right to call itself by its new name in 2015 (News, 4 October 2019). A circuit court judge in South Carolina, however, granted it ownership over its “legal, personal, and intellectual property” last Friday.
WCC prays for the Korean Peninsula
THE World Council of Churches (WCC) and various national councils of churches held an online gathering on Monday, “Ecumenical Efforts for Peace”, to mark the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War by praying for peace in the Korean Peninsula. The WCC’s interim general secretary, the Revd Professor Ioan Sauca, said: “It is exactly in a moment such as this that as Christians we are called to take bold new steps for peace.”