Chinas Prisons - From the "Intercessors Network"
There are believed to be around 670 prisons in China holding about 1.5 million prisoners.
"Prison conditions vary hugely," according to Prison Talk, which supports prisoners and their families. "In some prisons, prisoners are held two to a cell and each cell has its own balcony. In others, cell-mates sleep communally on a raised platform or on the floor. Some cells do not have enough room for all the prisoners to lie down at once, and many are so crowded that there is less than one square meter per prisoner. There is no furniture in the cells and the lights are on twenty-four hours a day. Lice, mosquitoes are a problem in Chinese prisons and many prisoners suffer from scabies. In some institutions, prisoners must sit silently most of the day... all prisoners who are able to work must do so."
Chinese officials themselves have admitted that torture takes place in the prisons. "Clearly, China's criminal justice system will not rid itself of intimidation, bullying and outright torture until some checks and balances have been put in place," comments a writer for the Asia Times.
Families of prisoners are often ostracized even though they have done nothing wrong themselves. The children of prisoners have been described as among "the most neglected people in China". State facilities take care of around 1,000 prisoners' children, while the other 600,000 are cared for by relatives. They often feel unwanted and can be left to fend for themselves or treated as virtual slaves. One 12-year-old whose parents were found guilty of murder said, "Kids at school beat us because they say my mum's a criminal. Old people are also bad to us" (Los Angeles Times).
Over the years, many Christians have found themselves in China's prisons. In the 1950s and '60s church leaders could be imprisoned for their faith for ten or twenty years. Today sentences for believers arrested for meeting outside the official churches are more likely to be a few months or years and most detained Christians end up facing fines rather than imprisonment. As believers are usually sentenced on vague and erroneous charges such as "disturbing social order", it is impossible to know exactly how many Christians are currently in prison.
Pray for those in prison in China. Pray that they might have opportunities to hear the Gospel, turn from their wrongdoing and find renewed hope for their lives. Pray too for their families to find peace and hope in the Lord Jesus.
Pray that God might revive the consciences of those police and other officials who are involved in torture or other ill treatment of those in prison. Pray that they might be convicted of their wrongdoing and cease harming the prisoners.
Pray that Christian prisoners might not give way to fear but keep trusting in the Lord and His good promises to them. Pray that they might have compassion on the other prisoners around them and on their guards, and that the Lord might give them the right words to speak on every occasion.
Pray that the Holy Spirit might be powerfully at work in China's prisons, convicting of sin and drawing many to repentance and salvation.
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