Displaying items by tag: China
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.
China has been preparing for months to ensure that it puts on its best face for the Winter Olympic Games. Our TV screens will present beautiful images, majestic music, and inspiring athletic performances. They don’t want people to look behind the scenes at the totalitarian government oppressing and abusing its people, including our Christian brothers and sisters. Olympic coverage won’t include images of destroyed church buildings or interviews with imprisoned Christians. However, from 4 February the games can act as a daily reminder to pray for Christians in China. We can pray for pastors and church leaders to stand firmly for biblical truth in spite of government pressure to compromise. Pray for God's protection over Christians in prison, for their health and nutrition, and that they will have opportunities to witness for Christ to guards and fellow prisoners. China is also the biggest incarcerator of journalists; pray for protection over honest journalism.
As the eyes of the world turn toward Beijing and the Olympic Winter Games, we are invited by Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) to join believers around the globe in praying for our Christian brothers and sisters suffering persecution by China’s Communist government. Though they are not considered Olympians, many Chinese Christians walk or bicycle great distances to deliver the gospel, lift countless boxes of Bibles for delivery to new believers, and endure great suffering for the name of Christ - even in Chinese prisons and concentration camps. VOM have suggested specific ways to pray for Chinese Christians during the Olympics: a) that pastors and church leaders will stand for biblical truth despite government pressure to compromise, and b) that Chinese believers will be encouraged, experiencing unity and fellowship as members of the body of Christ. For more ways to pray and to join Christians around the world who are committing to pray for China’s Christians during the Olympics, click here
Authorities are cracking down hard to make China Covid-free ahead of the Winter Olympics. In a Maoist-style shaming stunt, four violators of Covid rules were paraded through Jingxi city wearing hazmat suits, with placards showing their names and photographs round their necks and surrounded by armed police in riot gear. At Christmas, China imposed a lockdown on Xi'an city (population 13 million) and Yuzhou city (1.2 million inhabitants) after finding three cases of Covid. Residents cannot leave home, even to buy food. Government workers have been distributing aid, but the distribution is patchy, resulting in many desperate stories leaking onto social media of residents near to starvation, bartering mobile phones for food. Some people are living on one egg or one bowl of porridge a day. 'I'm about to be starved to death,' was one message. Recently authorities turfed a thousand people out of their homes at midnight and carted them off to grim quarantine facilities. See
Authorities from Siming District raided a Christian school and fined the person in charge of the school 100,000 yuan (£11,619.14). They said that they had discovered religious education training without authorisation, and demanded that all activities stop. Any appeal must be made within three days of receiving the notice and fine. In recent years the government has intensified repression on Christian education, with constant raids and arrests. Also, lawmakers issued new policies to tighten control over homeschooling and private education. In the Family Education Promotion, the government now has authority over education outside and inside the home. Christians constitute the majority of the homeschooling population, so it is anticipated that more Christian schools will face further persecution in the future. Christian churches and church leaders are also being persecuted multiple times.
Despite the pandemic, the Winter Olympic Games hosted by China are expected to go ahead as normal. However human rights groups have raised concern over the religious freedom violations carried out there. US president Joe Biden has already introduced a diplomatic boycott, followed by other nations including the UK. Now Christians are being urged to play their part in standing in solidarity with persecuted brothers and sisters in China. Open Doors and a former US ambassador for religious freedom are calling for action, saying, ‘In the USA people of faith are woefully ignorant of the plight of their fellow believers in China. The persecution of Chinese Christians is rarely if ever mentioned in American megachurches. Raising awareness has been a long, slow struggle for organisations exposing religious persecution in China and elsewhere’. They are calling for Christians to break their silence, pray and fast, and pressurise their politicians to act.
A court in China has upheld the sentences against booksellers Chang Yuchun, 53, and his wife, Li Chenhui, 44, for 'inciting subversion of state power'. They each face a seven-year jail term and must both pay fines of 250,000 yuan (approximately £29,700). A local source said this is not the first case of religious booksellers being given a jail sentence, but seven years plus a hefty fine is rare. In recent months, authorities have clamped down further on the distribution of Christian resources including audio Bible players and a Bible app.
On 13 December, after two years of hearings, the Uyghur tribunal found the Chinese government guilty of crimes against humanity, systematic torture, and genocide against Uyghurs and other minorities in the Xinjiang region. The founder of ChinaAid said, ‘The unanimous judgment by the independent tribunal after nearly two years of extensive hearings from a number of credible witnesses and experts that the Chinese Communist government had verifiably committed systematic genocide and crime against humanity (in particular against ethnic minorities such as Uyghurs and Kazakhs inside Xinjiang) is another vindication of the same finding by the international community. It further proves the brutality of the worst human rights violations in the modern history of China in the past seventy years. It is imperative both morally and legally for all of the free countries, especially the US and EU and international organisations such as the UN, to take immediate and urgent actions to stop these atrocities from happening before they get worse.’
Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai has not been seen in public for over a month after accusing former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual assault resulting in the Women's Tennis Association suspending all tournaments in China amid concern for her. WTA chief Steve Simon had ‘serious doubts’ that Peng was free, safe and not subject to intimidation. He said, ‘In good conscience, I don't see how I can ask our athletes to compete there. Equality was the founding pillar of the WTA 48 years ago. What was all that hard work for, if serious sexual assault allegations are allowed to be swept under the carpet? If powerful people can suppress the voices of women, then the basis on which the WTA was founded - equality for women - would suffer an immense setback. I will not and cannot let that happen to the WTA and its players.’ The suspension also includes tournaments in Hong Kong. The 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics are set to be held in Beijing in February and March.