More than 11 million Hui people make up the largest Muslim ethnic minority in China. Groups of Hui can be found in many cities across the country; some can be recognised by their traditional white caps or headscarves, while others are virtually indistinguishable from the majority Han Chinese. They generally speak the same dialect as the local Chinese, but continue to maintain their ethnic and religious identity.
"Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, I have been a Christian for nearly 20 years. The church in China has suffered in the past years. Many churches preach salvation, but lack studies on character building. They also lack study materials to help believers who are willing to grow. Those who have been Christians for many years feel the lack of spiritual supplies and have hungry and thirsty hearts." - Sister ‘G' in Beijing
The inauguration of new US President Barack Obama at the beginning of the year was headline news in China. However, when his inauguration address appeared on China-based websites, it seemed to have lost something in translation.
What is your image of a Chinese house church leader? An elderly man who has spent many years in prison for his faith, but continues to boldly preach the Good News in spite of persecution?
In early March, Chinese President Hu Jintao called for a "Great Wall of stability" in Tibet. In contrast, the Dalai Lama expressed his concern that, "At any moment there could be an explosion of violence."
"For more than 50 days he was tortured in the most inhumane ways. He was forced to lie naked on the floor for 13 days and nights while he was tortured with electric shock batons and toothpicks were used to pierce his sexual organs. He wrote, ‘The electric shock baton was put all over me. And my full body, my heart, lungs and muscles began jumping under my skin uncontrollably. I was writhing on the ground in pain, trying to crawl away. Wang (one of the interrogators) then shocked me in my genitals'." - extract from a China Aid report about Christian human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng