China tightens religious laws
China’s state council has added to the country’s religious regulations, saying the changes will help protect national security and combat religious extremism. The government said the amendments to the laws, first established in 2005, reflect changes in China and the world. The new regulations place controls on financing religious groups, constructing buildings, and discussing religion online. They also ban unregistered groups from teaching or participating in training or meetings. The official China Judgments Online website said a 49-year-old Muslim man recently received a two-year sentence after he formed a discussion group about Islamic worship on the WeChat messaging app and started a conversation about the Quran in another group. China Judgments Online said Huang Shike’s actions “disturbed normal religious activity,” and violated the existing laws on online religious discussions. The new amendments are set to take effect Feb. 2, 2018. —O.O.
Abducted Catholic priest rescued in Yemen
An Indian Catholic priest who was kidnapped by militants in March 2016 in Yemen has been rescued, India’s foreign minister said Tuesday. Sushma Swaraj confirmed the Rev. Tom Uzhunnalil’s rescue on Twitter but released no additional details. Militants abducted Uzhunnalil during a raid at a retirement home run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in the town of Aden. He had worked there as the chaplain for more than four years. Sixteen people, including four nuns, died in the attack. “Our prayers were finally heard,” Uzhunnalil’s brother, Matthew, told the Hindustan Times. “We thank all who stood with us in trying times.” —O.O.