Chinese New Year Heralds New Restrictions For Christians
Under the new regulations even established sites for religious activities must be ‘in harmony with the needs of urban planning’. This means that even state-controlled churches are subject to review. The rules give local government officials the power to decide whether churches should be recognised by the state and to forbid the use of venues as places of worship.

The first indications that the clampdown is spreading to officially recognised churches came last December, when the authorities demolished a 20-year-old Catholic church in Shanxi, even though it held authorised legal permits.

Since June last year, officials have required government-run Three-Self Churches to display the national flag and sing the national anthem at their services.

China has become a country of key concern for Release International. Persecution has grown under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, as the Communist Party tightens its control over the church.

Cross removals

China’s leaders are worried about the rapid spread of Christianity in their country. The revival of the Protestant church in Zhejiang has led to a wave of 1500 crosses being pulled down from church roofs and some churches being demolished. The authorities say this is to ‘contain the overheated growth of Christianity’. And the cross removals are now being extended to other provinces.

Christians who have launched legal protests over the cross removals have been beaten up and arrested. Some Christian leaders have been sentenced to ten years imprisonment for mounting a legal challenge.

Many human rights lawyers, including Christians, have also been arrested. They have been denied visits by their families or legal representation.



bank discovered the troubling Kushner company transactions after an internal audit ordered by board President Paul Achleitner, according to the German publication, Manager Magazin, in an article first reported and translated by Mother Jones magazine.

“Achleitner’s internal detectives were embarrassed to deliver their interim report regarding real estate tycoon [Jared] Kushner to the [German] financial regulator BaFin,” stated the article, according to Mother Jones. “Their finding: There are indications that Donald Trump’s son-in-law or persons or companies close to him could have channeled suspicious monies through Deutsche Bank as part of their business dealings.”

Deutsche Bank has reportedly loaned over $2 billion to companies affiliated with Trump since the 1990s. It continued to give millions to him even though he defaulted on one of his loans. Trump owes the German bank at least $130 million, according to the president’s most recent financial disclosure form, though it could be much more. Trump initially turned to the bank after a number of his businesses declared bankruptcy, making it difficult for him to find loans in the U.S.

NYTimes: Kushner’s Financial Ties to Israel Deepen Even With Mideast Diplomatic Role

Kushner’s Financial Ties to Israel Deepen Even With Mideast Diplomatic Role

Jared Kushner accompanied President Trump, his father-in-law, on the pair’s first diplomatic trip to Israel, part of Mr. Kushner’s White House assignment to achieve peace in the Middle East.

Shortly before, his family real estate company received a roughly $30 million investment from Menora Mivtachim, an insurer that is one of Israel’s largest financial institutions, according to a Menora executive.

The deal, which was not made public, pumped significant new equity into 10 Maryland apartment complexes controlled by Mr. Kushner’s firm. While Mr. Kushner has sold parts of his business since taking a White House job last year, he still has stakes in most of the family empire — including the apartment buildings in and around Baltimore.

The Menora transaction is the latest financial arrangement that has surfaced between Mr. Kushner’s family business and Israeli partners, including one of the country’s wealthiest families and a large Israeli bank that is the subject of a United States criminal investigation.