Displaying items by tag: China
The head of Amnesty International said China has created a ‘dystopian hellscape’ for people detained in Xinjiang camps, who are routinely tortured. A report based on 50+ former detainees details crimes against humanity - including mass imprisonment, torture and persecution - carried out by Chinese authorities against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities. The secretary general of Amnesty said, ‘China must immediately dismantle the internment camps, release the people arbitrarily detained in them and in prisons, and end the systematic attacks against Muslims in Xinjiang.’ Since 2017 hundreds of thousands - and possibly more than one million people - have been sent to camps in Xinjiang. China for a long time denied the existence of any camps. It eventually changed tack and now says the camps are voluntary ‘vocational training centres’, necessary to combat terrorism. President Xi Jinping said his government's policies in the region are ‘totally correct’.
Christians are increasingly being persecuted violently: by brutal IS in the Middle East, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and Hindu extremists in India. Release International issued a report on persecution trends in 2021. It is a wake-up call to take our prayers for our persecuted family to new levels. Nigerian attacks are driven by Islamist ideologies to destroy ‘the infidels’. 300 Christians remain detained without trial inside Eritrea. The Chinese government is increasing its ‘clean-cup’ of anything that does not advance the communist agenda. North Korea’s policy against Christians is the longest, harshest persecution in recorded history. Iranians constantly fear they are under surveillance when they meet secretly. The pressure has led to an exodus from Iran that will continue in 2021. Egyptian Christian converts from a Muslim background will continue to pay a high price for their faith and will be expelled from their families, divorced, and lose their employment.
The Pentagon believes Chinese space activities present growing threats to US and global security. Chinese and Russian military doctrines indicate they view space as critical to modern warfare and the use of counter space capabilities as a means of reducing US military effectiveness and winning future wars. China is developing electronic warfare capabilities to jam satellites and probably intends to develop additional weapons that could destroy satellites. Given the chance, China will move ahead to use space to dominate not only the US but also the rest of the planet. Many believe defense budget cuts or flatlines in the military should be regarded as suicidal. Shortly after becoming president Xi Jinping said, ‘Developing the space program and turning the country into a space power is the space dream that we have continuously pursued. The space dream is part of the dream to make China stronger. China aims to become the world's leading space power by 2045.’
Two and a half years after Chinese authorities arrested Pastor Wang Yi and over a hundred members of Early Rain Church, the congregation is still being harassed for following Christ. Last November elder Yangquan Li was detained for worshiping online from his home; local officials cut off his utilities and internet service. His landlord was also forced to evict him and his family, and they are now closely monitored by police. They are asking Christians to pray for them and for the church. ‘We pray that we depend on God when we lack, because apart from Him we have no good thing’, Yangquan said. ‘We pray God makes us put our trust in Him at this difficult time. We pray the Holy Spirit fills us to respond to our situation with gentleness and respect.’ Despite ongoing persecution, our Christian brothers and sisters in China continue to share the gospel with their neighbours.
On 16 April Bitter Winter, a magazine on religious liberty and human rights, published the following: ‘His wife’s picket at the Chinese consulate in Almaty got so much attention that the CCP decided to give up, and set her husband free after 17 years of detention. Those who insist that picketing and protesting outside Chinese embassies and consulates is a waste of time were proved wrong in Kazakhstan.’ An amazing Kazakh woman from Xinjiang who had picketed the Chinese consulate in Almaty achieved the return of her husband Rakhizhan Zeinolla. He had been arrested without evidence when he went to Xinjiang from Kazakhstan, and kept in jail for 13 years. Then he was put into a camp, and later was under house arrest.
Shi Minglei remembers the fear when twenty security officers arrested her husband, put a black hood over her head, and interrogated her for thirty hours. Her daughter Aliyah was unable to speak after the incident. On countless occasions she felt pain, fear loneliness and hopelessness as a wife of an imprisoned human rights activist. She received no responses to her requests for information; the authorities had dismissed his lawyer and assigned communist party lawyers to convince him to plead guilty. She was desperate and she prayed like Jesus had prayed in Gethsemane, ‘Father, take this cup from me, but not my will, Your will be done.’ Then Jesus spoke to her heart: ‘I know. I know everything about you.’ Later ChinaAid staff found her and helped her escape with her daughter from China. After living a life of fear and hopelessness she now felt secure, so she changed her name to Hope.
On 22 March the Philippines demanded China withdraw its massive ‘fishing fleet’, controlled by its navy, from waters that Manila has exclusive economic rights over. These boats have been nicknamed ‘little blue men’ because their role is similar to Putin's famous ‘little green men’ (Russian soldiers without official insignia who invaded eastern Ukraine on behalf of Moscow in 2014). For the Chinese navy to masquerade as fisherfolk is nothing new. But this time the sheer scale of the flotilla, a whopping 220 vessels, totally outnumbers the ill-equipped Philippine navy, coastguards, and local fishing boats which have long complained of China chasing them out of their own waters. As China's power rises, so too has Beijing's determination to dominate the South China Sea despite American intervention in the past, and the Philippines’ attempts to prevent illegal control.
Just one of the Christian prisoners in China is Pastor John Cao (60), serving a seven-year prison sentence for ‘organising illegal border crossings’ between China and Myanmar. He made many trips from America to his native China to establish schools and work among the poor before expanding his humanitarian work into Myanmar. He was detained in 2017 while returning to China from Myanmar and sentenced a year later. His defence lawyer and his mother asked prison authorities to deliver a Bible to him. They refused. His mother writes Bible verses in each letter she sends. Please ask God to bless Pastor John and keep his faith strong, and pray for healing from his various health problems. Pray that he will be released early. Pray for his witness to prisoners and guards, and that others would continue his ministry to the poor.
Myanmar protesters burned down and looted Chinese-owned businesses in Yangon. When China's embassy asked the junta to restore order, they obliged and killed scores of demonstrators. The anti-China riots add a fresh international dimension to Myanmar's political crisis. The protesters are angry at China's thinly veiled support for Myanmar’s junta. This backlash is a big test for Beijing, a rising global power and regional heavyweight. Many believe China will not look the other way while its interests in Myanmar literally go up in flames. China has always wanted a piece of Myanmar’s earth metals and waterways. Beijing wants the generals to restart long-shelved plans for a controversial hydropower dam to generate electricity for China, which locals fear will damage the environment and force thousands to relocate. China also needs Myanmar to continue building a natural gas pipeline which will give them access to the Indian Ocean, where China is competing for maritime supremacy with India.
To boost international travel, China has launched a digital health certificate programme for citizens with an encrypted QR code that gives authorities a traveller’s health information. QR health codes on smartphone apps are already required to gain entry to domestic transport and many public spaces. The apps track a user’s location and produce a ‘green’ code if a user has not been in close contact with a confirmed case or has not travelled to a virus hotspot. But the system has sparked privacy concerns and fears it marks an expansion of government surveillance. The certificate, launched on 8 March, shows a user’s vaccination status and test results via China’s social media platform WeChat. It will ‘help promote world economic recovery and facilitate cross-border travel’, a foreign ministry spokesman said. Bahrain has introduced a vaccine passport; the USA, UK and EU are considering similar permits.