Displaying items by tag: China
Just days after 150 Chinese military jets conducted drills close to Taiwan, escalating tensions between the two sides, President Xi Jinping spoke at an event to commemorate 110 years since the revolution that overthrew China’s last imperial dynasty. He said, ‘Compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should stand on the right side of history and join hands to achieve China’s complete unification. The historic mission of achieving the complete unification of our country must be, and can be, realised.’ However, Taiwan’s defence minister said that military tensions with Beijing were at their worst point in more than four decades. China claims that Taiwan is part of its sovereign territory, in the same way as Hong Kong, and threatens to take control by force. Taiwan has its own elected government and constitution, maintaining that it will defend its democracy and independence.
For many years we have interceded for the persecuted Christians in China. A significant trend in the past year has been for even more church raids: according to an International Christian Concern report, ‘not only were churches shut down or demolished, but pastors and Christians are regularly arrested.’ Open Doors estimates that there are 97 million Christians in China, many of them in unregistered underground house churches and therefore considered to be ‘illegal’. Christians are not the only religious minority facing persecution; between 1 and 3 million Uyghur and other ethnic Muslims have been put in internment camps where they are taught to fall in line with the CCP. In January, the US state department described China's treatment of Uyghurs as a ‘genocide.’ China has also reportedly violated the rights of Falun Gong practitioners and Tibetan Buddhists.
The USA and Britain announced they would help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines (not nuclear-armed), taking a major step in challenging China’s broad territorial claims of its exclusive zone in the South China Sea. The announcement is a major step for Australia, which until recent years has been hesitant to push back directly at core Chinese interests. The decision to share technology for naval reactors, even with a close ally, is a major move for President Biden and bound to raise protests by the Chinese and questions from American allies.
In 2018 the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bombed Golden Lampstand Church, completely destroying the building. Later workers transported the broken bricks from the scene. Now the government has initiated another round of arrests of church leaders, escalating its persecution against Christians who decide to ‘hold fast’ to the faith and refuse to compromise the gospel of Jesus Christ - despite facing another round of persecution. On 7 August police arrested nine leaders from the church, including Pastor Wang Xiaoguang, formerly imprisoned for three years, and his wife, Preacher Yang Rongli, previously imprisoned for seven years. Officials also summoned Chinese leaders from other churches for questioning. CCP authorities continue to persecute this house church with an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 members.
At least 33 people have died in the ‘heaviest rainfall in a millennium’ in central China. The torrential floods paralysed several cities, causing millions of pounds in damage. Vast swathes of Zhengzhou city are under several feet of water. Cars float down streets and 200,000 people fled flooding in Henan province, home to China’s agricultural industry. The subway flooded, trapping passengers inside carriages as water levels rose. Platforms were submerged and commuters clung to railings to keep their heads above the fast-flowing deluge as air was running out. Train services across the province have been suspended, highways remain closed, and flights cancelled. At least two dams in Inner Mongolia have collapsed. Other dams that enclose China’s reservoirs are threatening to fail. Rescue workers are evacuating residents from Hefei, and a hospital with 7,000+ beds lost power, with staff racing to relocate hundreds of critically ill patients. More rain is expected in the coming days.
Beijing and Moscow have prioritised strengthening their military relationship, under the leadership of Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. Their defence ties have matured to the point that analysts claim the relationship constitutes a ‘de facto military alliance’ characterised by mostly high-level contacts and technical cooperation. There have been thirty joint exercises since 2003, and the scenarios associated with them (controlling islands and reefs; amphibious and air defence operations), the locations (Baltic, Mediterranean, and South China Sea), and live-fire operations with air missiles against cruise missile targets are quite telling. Meanwhile, the US has cut the size of its navy.
China Aid, which provides legal aid to Christians in China, recently tweeted, ‘New Cultural Revolution starts. Government tells students’ parents and teachers to hunt all religious books, antagonistic books and overseas books. Everyone is mandated!’ CBN News said the communist government does not want any disruptions for the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February. ‘They really fear there could be protests, a pro-democracy movement going, leading up to and during the Olympics. So this sends a message to the parents: “Look, no outside influence. We don't want any collusion with foreigners here”, because they know that foreigners are pro-democracy. They are indoctrinating students, and also sending a message to the adults.’ Pray for the world to recognise false religion when they see communist party flags in pulpits.
Chinese American Pastor Bob Fu of the group China Aid, which provides legal aid to Christians in the People's Republic, recently tweeted, "New Cultural Revolution" starts in #CCPChina this notice to students in a 1st Grade class demanding all parents and teachers to hunt all "religious books, antagonistic books & overseas books including books & videos that are copied/duplicated & translated". Everyone is mandated!"
CBN News says this is not only just another effort by the Chinese Communist Party to indoctrinate students, but it's also trying to prevent disruptions for the 2022 Winter Olympics which will be held in Beijing next February.
"We've got an Olympics coming up and the Chinese communist government does not want any disruptions for the Olympics," Lane said during an interview. "They really fear there could be protests, a pro-democracy movement going, and so forth, leading up to the Olympics and during the Olympics."
"So this sends a message to the parents. 'Look, no outside influence. We don't want any collusion with foreigners here,' because they know that foreigners are pro-democracy," Lane explained. "And so they are indoctrinating students, but they are also targeting not only the youth of China, but also sending a message to the adults."
Alongside this, on June 29, Bitter Winter (A magazine on religious liberty and human rights) published an article revealing that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) unveiled a "Christianity Loves the Party" Exhibition in Shanghai, claiming that “the Chinese Communist Party has been inextricably linked to Christianity from the day of its birth.” Even though the CCP "arrested, tortured, and killed countless believers" during its century reign, authorities expect religions to express enthusiasm and celebrate the 100th anniversary of CCP.
The exhibition tells the story of Christians who helped the first Communists, with some becoming members of the CCP. However, what the exhibition does not tell is that many of these Christians were later expelled from the Party and even executed, while the CCP clarified that only atheists can become Party members.
In this year, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP, the government has ordered local officials and police officers to strengthen their persecution against all dissident groups, in particular Christian religious movements.
Pray with us for the safety of Christians living in China (1 Samuel 2:9)
Pray with us for courage, perseverance and hope for the Church in China.
Pray with us that international political leadership will continue to challenge human rights abuses in China.
With each passing day, the boundary between Hong Kong and the rest of China fades faster.
The Chinese Communist Party is remaking this city, permeating its once vibrant, irreverent character with ever more overt signs of its authoritarian will. The very texture of daily life is under assault as Beijing moulds Hong Kong into something more familiar, more docile.
Residents now swarm police hotlines with reports about disloyal neighbours or colleagues. Teachers have been told to imbue students with patriotic fervour through 48-volume book sets called “My Home Is in China.” Public libraries have removed dozens of books from circulation, including one about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.
Under Xi Jinping, China’s leader, the Communist Party has grown tired of Hong Kong’s duelling identities. To the party, they made the city unpredictable, even bringing it to the edge of rebellion in 2019, when anti-government protests erupted.
Now, armed with the expansive national security law it imposed on the city one year ago, Beijing is pushing to turn Hong Kong into another of its mainland megacities: economic engines where dissent is immediately smothered.
The Hong Kong government has issued hundreds of pages of new curriculum guidelines designed to instil “affection for the Chinese people.” Geography classes must affirm China’s control over disputed areas of the South China Sea. Students as young as 6 will learn the offenses under the security law.
All of this has led to a wave of emigration. Many Hong Kongers have applied for immigration visas to the United Kingdom through their British National Overseas (BNO) status. According to a report by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford in May, 34,000 Hong Kongers have applied to live in the UK in the first three months of 2021, whilst The Times reports that 100,000 people have left in the last 12 months. This is particularly true of families with children who believe that the ‘old’ Hong Kong is now lost.
At the same time, at least three major US tech companies, Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet’s Google, have threatened to leave Hong Kong in protest at planned changes to data-protection laws as the pro-Chinese government cracks down on dissent.
The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC), an industry body backed by the US tech firms, warned Hong Kong’s personal data privacy commissioner that proposed amendments to privacy laws may force its members to stop investing there.
Pray with us for the safety of those who stand against China’s authoritarian rule of Hong Kong
Pray with us for wisdom as families and individuals determine whether to stay of leave
Pray with us for the Church in Hong Kong to remain strong in the face of suppression (Acts 20:28-30)
Members of the Early Rain Church in Chengdu continue to face harassment as authorities attempt to shut down their unregistered congregation. While Wang Yi, the head pastor, is serving a nine-year prison sentence, other members of the church have also encountered persecution. Since early June, church minister Wu Wuqing, his wife Xiong Meifang, and their children have been locked in their home by governing officials. The fire door, which gives access to the stairs and lift, has been chained, and guards remain posted outside the door. At first the guards would unlock the door if visitors came to see the family but on 8 June they turned a woman and her children away, stating that since visitors were prohibited from entering the residence, they would only be allowed to pass food through the fire door.