Displaying items by tag: China
Sixty members of a Chinese church have submitted applications for asylum in Bangkok, after being denied refuge in South Korea. They had fled the communist regime to escape religious persecution. Pastor Pan’s church has been on the run for years. He said the persecution is growing worse. The group remains stateless, jobless, and homeless, but not without faith. ‘We're thinking of our children's future. We refuse to put their education in the hands of the Communist Party, to give them an atheist education, and to turn their backs on God. So we are willing to pay this price to flee China to allow them to keep going to church school and to know God. Although we don't know what we will encounter in the future, what our God gives us is the best. He will lead us through these issues; God always has the best plan and arrangement.’
Xing Hongwei is a member of China's Early Rain Covenant Church (ERCC). He was arrested in a worship service raid on 14 August and suffered greatly whilst in detention due to his medical condition. He has been freed on bail and enjoyed a celebration meal with his family. Mr Hongwei was originally arrested after more than twenty police officers raided an ERCC church service at a tea shop. Sixty church members were locked inside the building and released only after they provided their identification. Mr Hongwei was arrested because he refused to comply with the authorities' demands. ERCC, which is heavily persecuted, announced Mr Hongwei's release in a prayer request update. His faith became firmer during his time in detention and he jokingly said that he successfully went on a diet, which he could not have achieved if outside.
Russia has to buy military hardware from North Korea and Iran as sanctions squeeze its ability to supply weaponry. Iran and North Korea, also targets of sanctions, have deepened ties with Russia since Putin invaded Ukraine. Kim Jong-un accused the West of pursuing a ‘hegemonic policy’ that justified Russia's use of force, and vowed to deepen ‘comradely friendship’ with Moscow. Putin said the two countries would expand their ‘comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations’. Last week the Biden administration said the first shipments of Iranian-made drones had been delivered to Russia, and Russian operators are in Iran receiving training on the Mohajer-6 and Shahed series weapons. Many of the drones have been beset by mechanical and technical problems since delivery. Iran officially denied delivering weapons to either side of the conflict, but the USA said Tehran was planning to supply Moscow with potentially hundreds of drones, some with combat capabilities for its war in Ukraine.
In the Chinese ankang (peace and health) system detainees are strapped onto beds, pumped full of drugs, receive electric-shock therapy, and are left to lie in their own excrement. Some are confined for their entire lifetimes. The system is grounded in the Communist Party's optimistic totalitarian notion that medical treatment can make people obedient. Medics administer drugs that damage prisoners’ central nervous systems, intentionally overdosing them, apply extreme-strength electroacupuncture, and brutally force-feed them. This abuse of psychiatry has continued for seven decades in the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party has changed the organisational structures and the methods of how it destroys people in psychiatric institutions, but the destruction of life continues. Safeguard defenders, and the international community, must finally acknowledge that the Party is inherently murderous. The only way to end the abuse of psychiatry in China as well as the Party's other horrific crimes is to end its rule.
China sees the self-ruled island of Taiwan as a part of its territory and insists it be unified with them, by force if necessary. Taiwan has its own constitution, democratically elected leaders, and 300,000 troops; also, the USA is available to provide it with the means to defend itself. After Beijing recently conducted air and sea military drills with live ammunition around Taiwan, the US accused it of ‘provocative’ actions. Taiwan said China is using military exercises to disrupt regional stability, and responded by launching a two-day exercise, simulating a Chinese invasion, to show it is ready to defend the island from any attack. China is signalling to Taiwan that it is ready to invade, while Taipei is telling China ‘You can hurt us, but we will also hurt you.’ Beijing’s extended drills are disrupting air travel and trade in the Taiwan Strait, one of the world's busiest waterways. The aggression could spill into the South China Sea, where many countries which rely on China economically would have to contend with a more geopolitically belligerent Beijing.
Chinese officials locked down a popular resort city after 450 Covid-19 cases emerged, causing over 2,000 tourists to be stranded as the city conducts mass testing. China’s ‘zero-Covid’ policy puts immense pressure on regional leaders to eliminate the virus. Wuhan also has a lockdown over a case of cholera. Bibles for China’s Kurt Rovenstine said it was a local official who restricted travel. That incited some panic. Rovenstine said that churches and schools suffer the worst from lockdowns. One parent said her son could only attend school six weeks out of the seventeen in the semester. Churches can’t meet to offer the Lord’s Supper, and people can’t go to church to receive a Bible. There are many requests for Bibles around China. Despite the challenges, Christians throughout China remain committed to growing in Jesus. They want to share His story with their neighbours.
A meeting between China’s defence minister Wei Fenghe and his US counterpart Lloyd Austin took place during an Asian security summit in Singapore. The hour-long meeting took double the time allotted. The USA is concerned about China’s increasingly unsafe, aggressive, unprofessional military behaviour, which indicates an attempt to change the status quo. A Chinese fighter plane dangerously intercepted an Australian military surveillance plane over the South China Sea, and Chinese warplanes harassed Canada’s aircraft monitoring North Korean sanction evasions. ‘If anyone dares to split Taiwan from China, the Chinese army will definitely not hesitate to start a war no matter the cost,’ said Fenghe. The Chinese minister also pledged, ‘Beijing will smash to smithereens any Taiwan independence plot and resolutely uphold the unification of the motherland. Taiwan is China’s Taiwan. Using Taiwan to contain China will never prevail.’ Joe Biden intends to spend more time on Asian security issues after months focusing on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
John Lee replaced Carrie Lam as Hong Kong's leader after a closed voting process in which he was the sole candidate. His appointment is seen as China’s move to tighten its grip on the city. Mr Lee, a staunch Beijing supporter, oversaw the violent crackdowns on pro-democracy protestors in 2019. He was intensely criticised for sanctioning police use of water cannons, rubber bullets, tear gas and live ammunition to disperse protestors. In 2020, he backed a controversial national security law which criminalised most forms of political protest and opposition and reduced the city's self-government. He maintained that ‘the law would help restore stability from chaos’. His staunch support of Beijing's policies has stoked fears that his leadership will usher in an era of tighter Chinese oversight of the semi-autonomous region. China persecutes Christians, and on 11 May Hong Kong's national security police arrested Cardinal Joseph Zen and four others who ran a now-disbanded humanitarian fund for protesters: see
In late April, North Korea confirmed its first Covid cases and suspended overland trade with China (which had been resumed in January) after a surge of Chinese cases. The reclusive nation has repeatedly shunned international offers of vaccines, and has been forced into two years of strict isolation to stop the pandemic from crippling the already weak healthcare system. But blocking commerce with China, their largest trade partner, has upset an economy damaged by decades of mismanagement and punishing international sanctions. A serious lack of rainfall in the second worst drought since records began is disrupting farming and food supplies. Despite alarm over Omicron spreading, Kim Jong-Un has ordered scheduled construction, agricultural development and other state projects to continue, decreeing that ‘single-minded public unity is the most powerful guarantee that can win in this anti-pandemic fight.’
On 25 March the Solomon Islands government announced it was ‘expanding’ security arrangements, ‘diversifying the country's security partnership with China’. Beijing is moving from island to island and wants to upgrade an airstrip in Kiribati for civilian purposes; yet the military uses are apparent. Kiribati is 1,900 miles south of Hawaii. A five-year deal, with automatic renewals, will allow Beijing to base its military in the Solomon Islands. If applied to its full extent, the Framework Agreement will give China the ability to sever shipping lanes and air links connecting the USA with its treaty ally Australia and partner New Zealand. For decades the US allowed Canberra and Wellington to manage the Solomons and its region. Beijing, through payoffs now detailed in public, essentially owns the Solomon Islands government. There is also now talk that China will ink a security agreement with Papua New Guinea, just north of Australia.