Globe Trot A summary of international news compiled by senior editor Mindy Belz

Chinese Christian activist under threat in U.S.

International | Protesters gather outside Bob Fu’s home in Texas
by Mindy Belz
Posted 10/07/20, 01:54 pm

CHINA: Human rights activist Bob Fu has become the target of a disinformation campaign by a Chinese real estate tycoon now under FBI investigation and living in the United States. Guo Wengui, an associate of President Donald Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon, called Fu a “fake pastor” and appears to be running a stepped-up intimidation campaign against Chinese dissidents in the United States.

Fu left China after surviving the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. His ChinaAid association has spent decades tracking China’s crackdown on Christians. Many suspect the Beijing government is behind the Guo threats.

Protesters showed up outside Fu’s Midland, Texas, home late last month and again on Oct. 5 with a busload of more than 50 people, requiring Fu and ChinaAid staff to have police protection. “I pray God uses this threat to expose the Chinese Communists’ agenda to destroy Christianity,” Fu said in a statement on Wednesday. “Americans in general and Christians, specifically, need to know what is really happening in China and now even here in the USA. Please pray for me and my family.”

NIGERIA: Catholic Bishop Matthew Kukah of Sokoto issued harsh criticism of President Mohammadu Buhari, faulting him for failing to rein in ongoing violence, much of it targeting Christians. Speaking on the 60th anniversary of Nigerian independence from British rule, Kukah said: “Where are the Chibok daughters? Where is Leah Sharibu? Who are the sponsored murderers who have overrun our land? Our land is now a pool of blood.”

SYRIA: Kurdish-led authorities say they will release 15,000 detainees and may empty al-Hol camp, which includes families of former Islamic State (ISIS) fighters. The camp has battled overcrowding and COVID-19, leading to the deaths of eight children in August. Since the capture of the last ISIS holdout in 2019, al-Hol has housed 65,000 people, including some 10,000 foreigners linked to the terror group. All known Americans allegedly supporting ISIS have returned home, some to face criminal charges, but European countries have been reluctant to repatriate their citizens.

KUWAIT: Sheikh Sabah, 91, a U.S. ally whose partnership helped drive Iraqi forces out of Kuwait after Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion, died last week. Throughout four decades, he maintained stability in Kuwait while negotiating tense relations in the region.

IRAQ: Thousands of Shiite Muslims, a diminished group compared to the 14 million pilgrims last year, are pouring into the holy city of Karbala for Arbaeen. It marks the end of a 40-day period of mourning for the killing of the grandson of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. His death was a defining moment that contributed to the split in Islam between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

Khurto Hajji Ismail, the Yazidi leader who championed the thousands of women and girls kidnapped by ISIS, has died at 87. Known as Baba Sheikh, he served as spiritual leader to the religious sect, whose base in Iraq was targeted for destruction by ISIS militants in 2014. With more than 6,400 Yazidi women enslaved and forced to convert to Islam, Baba Sheikh issued a landmark ruling in 2014 to welcome them back to the community, paving the way for the rescue of thousands.

UNITED STATES: With military brass in quarantine and a White House working to contain its coronavirus spread, now is a ripe time to review U.S. foreign policy under President Donald Trump. I want to introduce you to Kori Schake, whose analysis of Trump’s “sharp-elbowed nationalism” is fair and insightful. “In his blunt and often crude way, Trump has proved brilliant at poking holes in pieties and asking pointed questions about long-standing principles,” she writes, but his answers have often proven “self-defeating” and “dangerous.” A surprising number of foreign policy analysts believe Trump’s upset of the international order could prompt a needed reset.

BRITAIN: The 100-year-old charity hero Capt. Tom Moore has become one of the world’s oldest podcasters, launching a program to tackle isolation among older people, encouraging the rest of us to “have a proper conversation” with elders. Queen Elizabeth II knighted the World War II veteran for raising 39 million pounds for health workers by walking laps in his garden during lockdown earlier this year.

I’M READING Agent Sonya by Ben Macintyre. Thank you for so much good feedback on Globe Trot. If you missed last week’s opportunity to give your roses and thorns, it’s not too late. Email me at mbelz@wng.org.


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Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.

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