Human Rights Violations in China Political Repression in China

When Freedom Loses, We All Lose

In China, there is a popular idiom that loosely translates as “black and white are reversed”; it means that facts are twisted and distorted to the point that black is white and vice versa.

Recently, the Chinese government accused some brave lawyers of inciting subversion, and threw  them in prison for the “crime” of defending political dissidents, members of Christian house churches, Falun Gong practitioners, migrant workers mistreated by their urban employers, and petitioners whose houses had been forcibly demolished.

It is truly a case of “black and white being reversed.” Trumped-up criminal charges are being leveled at human rights lawyers in China for “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble”, simply because they speak up and defend the rights of the poor and needy (Proverbs 31:9). At least 238 lawyers and human activists have been detained or questioned; 20 of them are believed to be under some form of detention; at least six of them remain missing and most likely face mistreatment and torture.

“Missing” sounds really scary. A husband said his wife “has been out of contact since she was taken away by police on 10 July.” His wife, 24, worked at a law firm as a paralegal before disappearing. In another case, one acquaintance of a missing lawyer trainee said, “Nobody knows where she is.” Many of the lawyers were taken to secret locations and pressured to confess their “criminal activities” during their incarceration.

It’s a widely known fact that torture and intimidation are nothing new in our life in China. When I was a child, I witnessed men and women charged with “crimes” such as “counterrevolution,” “being an enemy of the people,” or “treason.”  They all were forced to stand at the center of a stadium, listening to the announcement of their death penalty. Then, they were driven to some secret location and killed. The government forced us to watch this process in order to intimidate people. A lawyer that somehow got released, told the foreign media that the police had repeatedly tortured him during questioning, warned him to keep quiet, and said to him, “We will 100 percent, 10,000 percent, criminally detain you.” (The New York Times, August 8, 2015)

The Communist Party has recently resorted, again, to brutal assaults on civil rights. “The scope is unprecedented, not only in terms of who has been taken away, detained [or] disappeared but also in terms of the huge numbers of lawyers who have been taken in for questionings, warnings, and intimidation” (Eva Pils, China expert from King’s College London). The message was crystal clear – the Chinese government has no tolerance for democracy or respect for our liberty and religious freedom.

It is puzzling, disconcerting to me to realize that many in the U.S. and other western countries don’t seem to believe these accounts and choose to look the other way. Will another Tiananmen Square be necessary to awaken the world’s consciousness about what’s going on in China? Let’s hope not.

I encourage you to pray with me for those brave lawyers and Christians in China, because every time human rights are abused anywhere and we choose to do nothing, we lose part of our humanity

“Be strong and courageous. Do not afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

(Photo from ChinaAid, Chinese Christian Organization in the U.S.)

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