Tuesday, March 25, 2008

China's Tibet response prompts ministry call to action

China-Tibet protesters publicly embarrassed China by disrupting the Beijing Olympics flame-lighting ceremony.China's recent crackdown on the minority group was swift and strong. On the anniversary of the 1959 failed uprising against China's rule of the Himalayan region, demonstrations were held throughout Tibet's capital city and around the country.Those demonstrations in Lhasa turned deadly four days later.Chinese troops clashed with protesters, and riots broke out. The deaths led to waves of unrest in surrounding provinces and Nepal and set off more rallies from sympathizers around the world.The death toll from the violence varies widely, depending on who is reporting the statistics. Suffice it to say the range between 22 and 80 dead is likely impossible to confirm.China's response provoked calls from the international community to open dialogue with the religious leader of the Tibetans, the Dalai Lama. While China has refused talks, the strength of their reaction to the protests raised the concerns of ministries like Open Doors.
Open Doors-USA president, Dr. Carl Moeller notes that, "China is very sensitive to its public relations image in the run up to the Olympics here. They are using the repression in Tibet as a means to send a signal to all groups that don't approve of China's policies on human rights records to settle down and be quiet."Since China wants to present a unified face, dissenting voices could mean that the persecution of Christians may get stronger.[[[[[[[However, despite the opposition, the church in China is growing rapidly. One estimate suggests that six percent of China's population is Christian.]]]]]]]By contrast, Tibet has an estimated total of three hundred Christians.Although many ministries hope to use the event to share the hope of Christ, Moeller says, "We need to pray for China's leaders, because as they make these decisions to crack down or not crack down, it's going to take the result of people's experience with persecution and either make it better or worse."

As in the days of Noah....


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