Displaying items by tag: China

Thursday, 23 July 2020 21:10

Iran: military alliance with China

Iran intends to build a military base in the Indian Ocean to protect fishing and commercial vessels from piracy and ‘foreign ships’ (referring to the US-led multinational naval task force currently protecting Gulf shipping from Iranian interference). A new agreement will give China access to Iranian ports. China is reportedly planning to build a new military base near Iran’s Chabahar port to enable the Chinese navy to monitor the activities of the US navy, which protects shipping passing through the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most important economic waterways. Any expansion in Iranian and Chinese military activity in the region would impact on the jointly-administered US / UK base on the island of Diego Garcia, one of the most important US military assets in the region. Tehran also plans to sign a $400 billion trade deal with China, which includes closer military cooperation between them to counter ‘Washington's dominance’.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 16 July 2020 21:13

South China Sea dispute

Six Asian countries have competing claims on the South China Sea, but only China has backed its claims with artificial island-building, military bases and naval patrols. The USA has not taken sides in the territorial dispute, but sends military ships and planes near disputed islands, for ‘freedom of navigation’ operations to help key shipping and air routes. Both countries have accused each other of ‘militarising’ the area, and have long been at odds over maritime freedom. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has now called China's pursuit of offshore resources ‘completely unlawful’, condemning Beijing's ‘campaign of bullying to control’ disputed waters that are potentially energy-rich with reserves of natural resources around them in a shipping route and major fishing ground. There are fears that the area is becoming a flashpoint, with potentially serious global consequences of a military response. See https://www.foxnews.com/world/china-accuses-us-confrontation-south-china-sea

Published in Worldwide

Although emigration is increasing because of the new national security law, many people will leave not because of communism or a lack of unfettered democracy, but due to never-ending disruption to their lives and careers and their children’s future. In October 2019 an annual survey of attitudes towards migration found 42.3% of Hong Kong respondents wanted to emigrate - mostly to Canada, Australia or Taiwan. It was 33% in 2018. Decades of political and economic uncertainty, combined with entrenched unresolvable divisions between people pleased to be rejoined with the mainland and those who still hanker for former colonial rule, has caused uncertainty and unrest. Hong Kong’s population planners concentrate on birth and death rates, but a meaningful force for population change has been migration. With little hope of earning enough to buy a family home, many may decide they have little to lose. Hong Kong’s property cartel is pushing inequality to the brink.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 02 July 2020 21:05

UK will honour Hong Kong passport promise

Dominic Raab says that China’s new laws (see world article 3 below), cementing its control over Hong Kong, are a serious violation of the 1997 agreement about Hong Kong's future. Boris Johnson has said he will now make it possible for those with British National Overseas status to enter the UK, with limited leave to live and work and apply for British citizenship. The ‘new bespoke immigration route’ means an eligible Hong Kong resident could move to the UK without the current limits, and would be able to live and work in the UK for five years. After that they (and their dependents) could apply for settled status and eventual citizenship. China firmly opposes this and reserves the right to take corresponding measures. Australia is also considering offering a safe haven for Hongkongers.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 02 July 2020 20:47

Hong Kong: security law passed

China has passed a controversial national security legislation for Hong Kong that will cover acts of ‘secession, subversion, terrorism and interference by foreign powers in the territory's internal affairs’ while allowing mainland China’s intelligence agencies to establish themselves there. Critics say this will outlaw dissent and destroy the autonomy and freedoms promised in the Sino-GB agreement when Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997. The draft of the law was announced on the anniversary of this event, symbolically implying that China is in charge and its leaders will do whatever they deem necessary to protect Hong Kong. On 1 July police fired water cannon and tear gas while arresting 300+ people protesting in defiance of the sweeping legislation, and a ‘dissident’ was arrested at the airport before boarding a plane to the UK. Amnesty International warned, ‘China's aim is to govern Hong Kong through fear from this point forward’. 

Published in Worldwide

Christian human rights campaigner Benedict Rogers has spoken of his heartache for the future of Hong Kong after Beijing passed the contentious national security law.

Rogers, East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said the passing of the legislation was "heartbreaking" and represented a "grave threat" to the freedoms of the territory.

The development, he added, has left Hong Kongers "in fear" for their future, safety and freedoms.

"Twenty-three years ago today, Hong Kong was handed over to China with the promise that Hong Kong's way of life, basic freedoms and the high degree of autonomy would be protected under the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle ... that is valid for the first 50 years after the handover until 2047," he said.

"And yet today, less then halfway through the lifespan of that promise, the Chinese Communist Party has flagrantly broken that promise to the people of Hong Kong and breached that international treaty.

"The imposition of the national security law on Hong Kong poses a grave threat to Hong Kong's basic freedoms, which have already been seriously eroded over recent years."

Rogers criticised the way in which the legislation was passed by China's National People's Congress rather than the Hong Kong legislature, saying it "seems to bring an end" to the high degree of autonomy promised to the region.

However, he went on to share a message of hope with the people of Hong Kong as he spoke of the "unexpected" victories that he had encountered in his many years of campaigning for human rights.

"Even though you may be entering into a period of great darkness and grave danger, do not lose hope," he said.

"History shows that no dictatorship lasts forever.  I've been involved in other struggles for freedom and freedom has come sometimes when we don't even expect it.  Unexpected victories, unexpected dawns come.

"I've seen countries freed [where] I didn't necessarily think [that] would happen.  And I believe the same can happen for the people of Hong Kong, and for all the people of China."

Pray for the people of Hong Kong – that they will remain resilient amidst the pressures and uncertainties that this new law has imposed.

Pray for democracy, the 50 year promise and freedom of speech to be respected in Hong Kong.

Pray for the Christian clergy, many of whom have campaigned for the pro-democracy movement – that they will not be detained or put on trial.

See also: https://www.christiantoday.com/article/fears.for.hong.kong.clergy.under.beijing.national.security.law/135081.htm

Thursday, 25 June 2020 22:13

EU shrugs as China takes over Hong Kong

In the aftermath of China's new national security law for Hong Kong, which ends the autonomy of the former British colony, the US, UK, Australia and Canada immediately protested. However the EU representative for foreign affairs ruled out sanctions against China and decided not to use its leverage as the world’s biggest trade bloc to support Hong Kong. The French foreign minister announced that Europe must not get carried away in a clash between US and China, and that ‘a new cold war’ must be avoided. The German parliament said, ‘A policy aimed at isolating China is not in Germany's or Europe's interests’. A European diplomat confessed that Europe is sacrificing Hong Kong to protect its economic relationship and investments in China.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 25 June 2020 21:54

China: vulnerable disabled children

International China Concern (ICC) has sent volunteers from around the world to China since 1993, bringing extra care and enjoyment to abandoned children with disabilities. Each year there are short-term teams, for those who want to spend a week or two volunteering at one of their project sites. They support care-givers with additional activities, outings, and playtime for children and young adults. ICC also have long-term volunteers to set high standards of care by training and modelling their core values day to day in therapy, nursing, social work, education, administration, and communications. These volunteers commit to up to two years’ service. Pray for more people to commit to serving these needy children.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 18 June 2020 21:01

China: prayer letter

Xiao, the wife of Qin Defu, an imprisoned pastor, writes, ‘I am begging for prayers for my family and me. Defu has been in jail over six months.’ At first she received short phone calls from him but she has now not heard from him for over 70 days. She said, ‘My reasoning makes me believe he is alive, and God is with him. However, not hearing from him is like an enemy. It hurts me so much that I suffer every day. I just want to receive one three-minute call from him, but this apparently has become an extravagant hope. Dear God, please let me follow behind You, pulling on the hem of Your clothes, I know my weakness, so I am begging for my brothers and sisters to pray for me and Qin Defu. God, please, out of charity, give us mercy. We are so lowly we cannot bear it.’

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 04 June 2020 23:25

Boris Johnson and Hong Kong

Hong Kong citizens may be offered UK visas. Boris Johnson has opened the path to what he called one of the ‘biggest changes’ to our visa system, stating he is ready to offer a right to live and work in the UK to any of the nearly three million Hong Kong citizens eligible for a British National Overseas (BNO) passport. The prime minister’s offer would come into play only if China presses ahead with new security laws that strip Hong Kong of its traditional freedoms. Pray for him and Dominic Raab to be wise in all their relations and dealings with China. Pray for peaceful streets in Hong Kong, and for Chinese Christians to be unwavering and protected as they face their government’s current attitude.

Published in British Isles