Displaying items by tag: China
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.
Foreign minister Wang Yi says that China is not a party to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, as pressure grows on it to withdraw support for Moscow. He said China rejects sanctions in principle and ‘has the right to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests’, calling the three-week conflict in Ukraine ‘the product of the accumulation and intensification of European security contradictions over the years’. There was no mention of recent reports that Russia had asked China for military and economic help after the start of the war. On 13 March US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told Beijing that there will be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them. China’s foreign ministry spokesman said the US had been spreading disinformation targeting China on the Ukraine issue. Asked if he could clarify whether China had received a request for military help from Russia, Mr Zhao said this was ‘fake news’ but did not deny it.
China is engaged in a massive nuclear weapons buildup that includes hundreds of new strategic missiles, and Chinese President Xi Jinping is preparing the military to retake Taiwan, USA’s most senior intelligence official told Congress on 8 March. Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, disclosed new information on threats from China and dangers posed by Russia, North Korea and Iran at the annual briefing on threats to US security around the globe. China’s military buildup includes the largest ever nuclear force expansion and arsenal diversification in its history, and there were 39 incursions Into Taiwan's airspace by fighter planes in one day. The Pentagon is warning that China is preparing for a military campaign, so it is sending new sales of advanced-grade military drones to Taiwan.
The hospital authority says the number of patients dying from Covid-19 or serious complications triggered by the cold weather has sharply increased over the past two weeks, putting immense pressure on the mortuary service in public hospitals where storage space has reached capacity. Dozens of bodies are waiting in hospital accident and emergency rooms to be transported to mortuaries, and the health-care system is under enormous stress as workers battle to control a surge in cases. Empty grocery shelves were seen across several supermarkets as residents stocked up on essentials after health secretary Sophia Chan said the government has not ruled out a city-wide lockdown during the mass testing period. Hong Kong has a large proportion of unvaccinated elderly. The government announced that ‘the deaths are mostly among unvaccinated people’. Previously that information would not have been readily given.
Hong Kong is compulsorily testing all its 7.5 million citizens as the city battles surging coronavirus infections. Residents must undergo three rounds of tests starting in March. Hong Kong is trying to adhere to China's ‘zero Covid’ policy, but Omicron has overwhelmed hospitals, testing and quarantine facilities. While other parts of the world are learning to live with the disease, China's policy is to try to eradicate infection through early testing, detailed contact tracing and strict quarantine and travel restrictions. Tens of thousands of new isolation spaces are being created for those who test positive, but chief executive Carrie Lam conceded the new measures may not succeed. ‘The coming one to three months are crucial in fighting the pandemic,’ she told reporters. ‘This quickly worsening epidemic has far exceeded the Hong Kong government's ability to tackle it.’
Gao Zhisheng is a Christian human rights attorney in China who has dedicated his career toward those being persecuted by the government. While not always a Christian, Gao was a former member of the People’s Liberation Army and later of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). However, he tossed that identity aside and took up the fight for victims of persecution as China looked to rebrand its cruel identity. This made him a clear target for the CCP throughout his career, leading to many cycles of being abducted, tortured, and released. Today, his whereabouts are unknown to anyone but his most recent captors, who made Gao disappear in 2017. As Beijing cheers for the athletes fighting for glory, let us pray for those like Gao who have the courage to challenge the regime and fight for Beijing’s victims. Pray for an end to the ongoing human rights disaster in China.