Pray for Those in Chains: What's Really Going on in China
What's really going on in China? It's hard to say. It's a very confusing story. (This post first appeared a year ago, following a trip through Southeast Asia and China with my mother)
1) Blogs are censored and Google signed a deal with the Chinese government this year agreeing to censor internet searches for politically subversive, religious material. Bad bad Google!
2) There are at last Starbucks and tea houses where people can have the possibility of a private conversation. But on Tiananmen Square, there are secret police in uniform who will explicitly listen in on conversations. There are surveillance cameras everywhere. And NO ONE says ANYTHING about the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 (as if we did not all watch it unfolding on CNN). Apparently the upcoming Olympic beach volleyball games are to be held on the Square. Since no memorials are allowed there for the thousands of students who were bulldozed to death because they made a peaceful political protest, I am a little bitter about this information.
3) There is a state sanctioned Church scattered throughout China, in which the Bible is freely available and the confession of the Creeds is permitted. An Anglican Archbishop Ting, a graduate of Union Theological Seminary here in the US, is in cahoots with the Chinese government, and they get on fairly well. The state-sanctioned liturgy seems to be an ecumenical blend from various Christian denominations. However, dissidents who are unsatisfied with the Patriotic Church, and Roman Catholics in communion with Rome, are forced underground and, at least away from the main cities where Capitalism has Helped, they live in great danger. Sadly, relationships are not good between the State Church and their underground brothers and sisters- I think this is heartbreaking. A united Church in China would be such a Force to be reckoned with.