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Axios Apr 16
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China's crackdown on Christianity

Catholic nuns at mass.
Catholic nuns and worshippers attend Mass ahead of Easter at Beijing's government-sanctioned South Cathedral. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images.

"The American family [Charlotte, N.C.] of a prominent Chinese Christian pastor is asking for leniency after he was sentenced to prison for missionary work as the atheist ruling Communist Party exerts greater control of believers," AP's Yanan Wang reports from Beijing.

Why it matters: "Analysts say the government increasingly views Christianity’s rise in China as a threat to its rule, and may be using prominent figures such as Cao as an example to intimidate nascent movements."

  • For years, the Rev. John Sanqiang Cao "would cross the river on a narrow bamboo raft from a tree-shrouded bank in southern China into neighboring Myanmar, carrying ... notebooks, pencils and Bibles."
  • On March 5, 2017, "Cao and a teacher were on a raft returning ... when they saw Chinese security agents waiting for them on the shore."
  • The 58-year-old Christian leader "quickly threw his cellphone into the water, protecting the identities of more than 50 Chinese teachers he had recruited."
  • "But Cao himself could not escape. He was sentenced last month to seven years in prison for 'organizing others to illegally cross the border' — a crime more commonly applied to human traffickers."
  • "His American sons ... have not been allowed contact with him."
David Livingston 1 hour ago
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Expert Voices

Macron takes on climate change mantle in address to Congress

President Macron addressing a joint meeting of Congress on April 25, 2018.
President Macron addressing a joint meeting of Congress on April 25, 2018. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

In one of the more emotional passages of his speech to Congress on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron testified to the critical, existential nature of climate change, calling on President Trump to face the challenge with U.S. allies.

Why it matters: Since Trump announced in June 2017 his intention to eventually withdraw from, or renegotiate, the Paris Agreement, the issue of climate change has offered Macron a way to raise his profile as an international player. Although disappointed by Trump’s position, he has also paradoxically been one of its largest political beneficiaries, assuming for France the climate leadership role that the U.S. has vacated.

Alayna Treene 2 hours ago
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Trump to visit the United Kingdom in July

 Trump leans over to speak to Theresa May during in a working dinner meeting at NATO HQ
President Trump speaks with British Prime Minister Theresa May during a working dinner at the NATO summit. Photo: Matt Dunham/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump will make his first visit to the United Kingdom on July 13, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced while speaking to children visiting the White House for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

Why it matters: More than a year into his presidency, Trump still hasn't visited the U.K. — arguably the United States' closest ally. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Theresa May was the first foreign leader to visit Trump at the White House last January. Trump was initially scheduled to travel to London in February to open the newly-built U.S. embassy, but cancelled the trip in protest of the embassy's cost and location.