In 2017, a Chinese human rights lawyer had his secret memoir “Unwavering Convictions: Gao Zhisheng’s Ten-Year Torture and Faith in China’s Future” published in the United States. Since then, Mr. Gao was forcibly taken from his home in China. In April 2023, on Mr. Gao’s 59th birthday, the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a public hearing – “China’s Political Prisoners: Where’s Gao Zhisheng?” – to appeal to Xi Jinping to free Mr. Gao and other political prisoners. As a Christian, Mr. Gao defended Christians and Falungong practitioners who were persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party in China. In his book, he predicted that the Chinese Communist Regime would fall.
Ding Jiaxi, another political dissident, courageously wrote in his statement prepared before sentencing, “…we are witnessing an unfolding battle between the forces of democracy and authoritarianism. The megalomania of dictatorship and the eternal one-party state is fast coming to an end, and the social transformation of China is growing closer, day by day…. China is on the cusp of great change. Even from within my prison walls, I can feel it clearly. The advancing footsteps of civilization come like the awakening thunder of spring!”
Joy to the world, but Christmas was banned in China.
About 2,000 years ago, Jesus was born. On Christmas Eve, angels appeared to a group of shepherds in the field who were watching over their flock by night, and said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people” (Luke 2: 8-10). For thousands of years, the key message has been that Christ, the Messiah, the Lord came to save all the people in the world, including the people of China.
In 2018, NPR reported that “Christmas was banned in the name of ‘maintaining stability’ and avoiding social unrest, which is of great importance to Chinese government.” In 2021, the Chinese government, controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), ordered locals to not celebrate Christmas as it a “western celebration.” Schools run by the government tell students that Christmas is “foreign garbage,” and they should only celebrate Chinese festivals.
The Communist regime wanted to take away Christians’ joy through banning or restricting Christmas celebrations. However, Jesus said, “I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (New King James Version, John 16:22). In today’s China, at least over 70 million people have reportedly accepted Jesus and become Christians.
Christmas is really a joy to the world. As the song says, “He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove.” As Jesus said, no one, including the CCP, can take away our joy.
Mr. Gao’s prophecy
Mr. Gao was abducted, detained, and tortured by the Chinese authorities for his Christian faith. He had dreadful experiences in prison. Reading his book is like walking through the “valley of the shadow of death,” filled with evil – the damp dark cells, the hideous tools used for torturing prisoners, and the wicked mockery of the secret police. Yet, in the midst of that darkness, Mr. Gao feared no evil, and there was always a flickering but unwavering candlelight.
Mr. Gao believes that God has sustained him in his time of trouble and nurtured his faith. After receiving the Holy Spirit, he said that he began to have visions from God. In one of his visions, Mr. Gao “saw” that the Communist Party in China would collapse in 2017. While the CCP did not collapse in that year, I believe that at some point we will see the fall of the regime.
The fall of the Communist Regime will come.
Mr. Gao’s prophecy will eventually come true, as God hates evil and will destroy evil. The draconian one-child policy murdered millions and millions of babies between 1980s and 2010s. Today, China’s population shrinks and ages at a faster rate than almost any other country in the world. After peaking at over 1.42 billion in 2021, current forecasts project that China’s population will shrink by over 100 million people by 2050. The country is facing crises such that the number of retirees will soon skyrocket, the size of the workforce will decline sharply, and the social safety net and healthcare system will be under huge pressure.
To prevent people from knowing Jesus or learning God’s words, the Chinese authorities ban foreign missionaries, cut the ties between Chinese Christians and Christians in the western countries, forbid parents to take their children to church or teach the Bible to their children, and censor online evangelism. All these actions tell us that the CCP rulers are afraid of Jesus. The regime knows that spiritually, the Chinese people hunger for God’s words and the Light of the World.
Isaiah (60:2-3) said, “For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.”
In this Christmas season, I encourage my readers to pray with me for Mr. Gao and his family. May God light their world and strengthen them with joy in their time of suffering and harshness.