If there is an unwritten code that forbids bloggers to be political, I have to warn readers that these thoughts could be seen as political. If outrage against human rights’ abuse and social injustice is political, then my ramblings do take a political flavour to be sure. Is it wrong to want to be a voice for the voiceless? Forgive me, but my heart will not rest until I say something…
In 2015 I was lucky enough to go to China for 3 weeks as my son was studying in Beijing. I loved being in China. Two years later I was blessed with a trip to India for another 3 week, wonderful adventure. Before 2015 I had never been out of Europe. Consequently I now have a bit of my heart and ear to the ground in both of these two countries and I take an interest in them.
I have been praying this morning into the terrible atrocities that are happening in China… We are aware of the atrocities and persecution – I read regularly, online and in publications, about the atrocious treatment of the Uighurs and the systematic persecution of Christians… of concentration camps/rehabilitation centres/torture prisons, correction centres – whatever we may wish to call them – where (especially) the Uighurs (over a million) are “detained” indefinitely, to ostensibly try to “re-educate” them (a euphemism for torture?) until they are what? No longer Uighurs? No longer Muslims? No longer themselves? Dead? And meanwhile the officials put the Uighur children (now potentially, and to all intents, “orphans”) – in beautiful new children’s centres, all purpose built, brightly coloured, re-education camps/orphanages to train them to be like good, communist, han-Chinese citizens.
And I see stories of Christian bookshop managers who have “gone missing”, pastors jailed for “illegal activities” and books confiscated; books and bibles burned; crosses pulled down from churches – (now made a law that they must come down. Crosses may be attached to the side of the building in a stone/brick colour only) Some whole church building have been torn down, closed down… church meetings are videoed and scrutinised by ‘Big Brother’ and video-call meetings are hacked and disrupted. Surveillance is rife and easy on smart phones, which are required by all and monitored. Chinese Christians also “disappear” and those that re-appear often have to “confess” their illegal crimes. (Crimes of being a Christian).
It makes me so riled, heart-broken and feel so helpless. Always the minorities bullied and down-trodden, I think, but then it dawned on me – minority? There are between 1.3 and 1.6 billion Chinese – that’s a fifth of the world’s population. There are about 11 million Uighurs in China! The Uighurs are a minority within China, and so are Christians, but estimates of the number of Christians range from the extremely conservative official number of about 16 million to anything toppling 100 million. This is huge! Chances are that there are more Chinese Christians than there are Britons! But they are still being severely persecuted – at the very least they are being closely monitored, intimidated and their freedoms severely limited and controlled. The Chinese state is afraid of Christianity and its power and growth.
But what do we do about it in the West? What can we do? What should we do? I don’t know the answer to these questions. My heart is to be a voice for the voiceless…
I asked myself that question this morning and have done a little research… I have copied and pasted a whole load of reports and photos and evidence of all these terrible violations of human rights. (I was going to quote some of the reports, but there is so much, and it us there for anyone to read…) And I see that people are speaking out. Some have courageously demonstrated outside the Chinese Embassy and been seriously condemned for doing so (by the Chinese officials I hasten to add. In the UK, we are so far still allowed to protest peacefully…) And I see the US has kicked off about it – even exchanging threats between US and Beijing… People are reporting it, people know… What are we afraid of? I guess it is a very real fear. The cold war is in living memory of many of us, and of course we all want reconciliation and we want peace. China is huge! And it has power!
But at what point do we speak out against human-rights violations in our world? When do we speak up for those who are silenced? Or do we wait until injustice happens to me and mine? Until my freedoms are eroded slowly… I honestly don’t know the answers. I feel moved to do something, say something, because doing nothing and saying nothing makes me feel complicit and cowardly…
I don’t know what to do about this or any of the terrible world situations – in China, India, Nigeria, North Korea, Yemen, and so many places in the world (about which Open Doors is one of many sources of accurate updates) – and even the injustices on our own doorstep – the down-trodden, the homeless, those discriminated against because of their race, religion, gender or social status.
We can pray for these persecuted minorities and the Governments that tolerate or endorse the persecution… – Jesus tells us to pray for our persecutors and for the authorities, but He also tells us to defend the orphan and the widow! How do we do that? How can we examine our own lives – to see if we can sign petitions, speak out and fight for justice for those that cross our path, like the Good Samaritan. Maybe we can do more, and can storm and question the powers that be? I don’t know. I’m not telling anybody what to do. I’m expressing my discomfort and seeking wisdom from heaven, first and foremost, and requesting the prayers of those who want to intercede for those who suffer.
Please pray for our brothers and sisters around the world. xx