Communist China is getting ready to host the Olympic Games. For her, it is a golden opportunity to boost her economy and, perhaps even more important, to show an acceptable face to the world. She desperately wants to make sure that there is little or no opportunity for the world's press to get inside the story of her brutal repression of minorities, especially religious minorities. Among those minorities, the Communists are paying particular attention to Christians.
China has been under the brutal heel of Communism since 1948. Her atheist rulers have done all in their power to eradicate all knowledge of God but without real effect. Today, the gospel is making significant inroads in China and many have been converted to Christ. That is a scary thought to the Communists. They are willing to bend their Marxist economic theories and assimilate what they need to take on board from the West to bring material prosperity. But the last thing they want is anything like genuine freedom. That makes Christianity public enemy number one, for if Christ does anything for a person it is to give him true liberty. Free people are hard to control, even if they are politically non-active and non-belligerent, as the believers in Communist countries have historically been.
So China is on another purge to suppress Christian witness. She is targeting pastors, evangelists and publishers of Christian literature. The latest victim is the father of a United States citizen, Weihan Shi, 37, a businessman who works as a travel agent and who recently got government permission to publish some Christian book titles. The U.S. embassy is making inquiries of the Chinese government because the man's daughter, Grace Shi, 7, is a U.S. citizen, and has been forced into hiding with her Chinese mother and 11-year-old sister. Mr. Shi is a life-long resident of Beijing, but was arrested in his Christian literature bookstore in a high-class business tower near the Olympics Village. Chinese authorities have refused to tell Mr. Shi's family where he is being held or what he is being charged with, essentially denying him any possibility of legal defense.
So, Weihan Shi has become one of the "disappeared," in China, in apparent violation of "The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance," a United Nations convention to which China has submitted. Suppressing any possible dissident voice in the run up to the Olympics is more important to China than any international human rights charter.
Pray for Mr. Shi and pray for China. Her Communist rulers are on a losing track. They will never eradicate the witness of the gospel. The advent of thousands of people from the West for the Olympics may well provide an unparalleled opportunity for believers to bring gospel literature into China-literature that the Lord can use to save many from that land and many others who will be visiting for the Games. Communist purges notwithstanding, the gospel will reach the Chinese people and it will continue to produce a precious harvest of souls for Christ.