The information contained in these articles has been collected by Arthur G. Clarke, a former missionary to China for over 30 years. Brother Clarke suffered imprisonment during the Japanese occupation of China. His son, Arnold J. Clarke, was subjected to the diabolic treatment of brain washing, as were John McGehee of U.S.A. and Geoffrey Bull of England, and others.
This description of persecution in China under Communist tyranny is inserted in order that more prayer might be made on behalf of God’s beloved suffering people in China by all readers.
So urgent is this matter, the space usually occupied by “The Forum” is being used to bring it to the attention of God’s people. —ED.
One is frequently asked the question today, “How are the Christians in China faring under the Communist regime?” The following article is an attempt to give a comprehensive picture of the situation, a knowledge of which brings an insistent call to continual and fervent prayer for our fellow-believers in that great country.
It may be well first of all to describe something of the kind of life the Christians share in common with the rest of the population. Daily life is completely dominated by politics. Indoctrination classes in Marxism are compulsory. It is considered quite proper to spy upon ones neighbours and denounce them for supposed antagonism to the State. Self-criticism after the pattern usually seen in other Communist-ruled lands is also advocated. There is no real liberty. Fear is a driving force seen at all levels of society.
Political enthusiasm, especially in the larger cities, is maintained by well-organized mass parades. It is mainly students and the younger folk who fill motor trucks, pedicabs and other vehicles and promenade the streets shouting Communist slogans to the accompaniment of blaring horns, clashing cymbals and the banging of drums. Banners are carried displaying Communist propaganda urging harder work and greater production.
Nearly 2500 years ago Confucius, the Chinese sage, taught family loyalties and may be credited with creating the tightly-knit clan and family system which has contributed so much to the solidarity of Chinese society down the centuries, despite the incidence of foreign invasions, internal revolutions, and the later impact of Western-style civilization. The present Government has shown scant respect for these age-old traditions. They have established a communal system in which they think nothing of separating husband and wife, parents and children in the supposed interests of the State.
In a slavish pursuance of doctrinaire Communism, Red China has embarked upon the most stupendous experiment in the world’s history. What Russia has never seriously attempted, China is now carrying out in creating vast agricultural and industrial armies beyond anything hitherto conceived. The entire population of a rural area is united in a “commune” to become a labour force under central direction, available for any task chosen by the authorities and free to be switched from harvesting to road-building, or from dyke-building to industry. The whole country is in fact one tremendous workshop. Young and old of both sexes must all work according to capacity. Even children of ten years old as well as elderly folk must do their share. Should any of the latter become too feeble for work, they are placed in so-called “happy homes” and are given “shots for their health”, which treatment generally kills them off within two weeks.
Hours of work are long, often up to sixteen hours a day including Sundays with a daily period of what is termed “social education”. In addition, young men and women must also perform their daily militia drill. Two rest days per month are permitted. To liberate women from domestic chores in order to engage in more productive work, communal kitchens provide food for all, and creches take full charge of the smaller children few of whom ever see their parents. The education of older children is taken care of by the State and, of course, is along lines agreeable to the views of the regime.
For the unmarried there are communal dormitories and for the married accommodation is set aside in communal buildings. Rations are meagre, often but slightly above starvation level. Labourers are given two bowls of rice at a meal, vegetables being supplied, if obtainable, by the individual himself. Wages amount to about $2 per month, of which one half must be repaid to pay for the rice. It will thus be seen that this conscription of the whole populace for forced labour has totally disrupted all normal social life. There is no place for the Christian home, or the Christian education of the young, and little leisure to cultivate the devotional life of believers or Christian fellowship of any kind.
Supposed to have no existence beyond this life and therefore no needs but material ones, the Chinese have been deprived of practically all the privileges prized by the ordinary person — privacy, family life, freedom of occupation and so on. They are being so incessantly indoctrinated that their minds are reduced to a state paralysing all independent thought. No personal opinion may be expressed. The worker must think and act instinctively in response to every directive of the authorities. The people are forced even to dress alike! Each individual is but a cog in the wheel of State.
In material achievements Red China has certainly made phenomenal progress. Within the past few years a mammoth industrial programme has been brought into operation. Steel production, for instance, is increasing at an astonishing rate and will soon rival that of the Western Powers. Heavy industries are being established all over the country. Great projects for river control and power supply and for building construction are already proceeding.
In the agricultural sphere, too, similar advance is recorded. Immensely increased harvest yields due to Government direction and pressure have made possible spectacular increases in the export of food stuffs, though often at the expense of the country’s own needs. Health schemes, pest elimination, mass education and slum clearance are among other improvements introduced. Against all this, however, must be weighed the loss to the Chinese people of all their rights as individuals as we have shown. There is today no possession of private property. All belongs to the State. The army is largely in charge and the whole population has been organised on a para-military basis.
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God’s people are like stars, that shine brightest in the darkest night; like gold, that is brighter for the furnace; like incense that becomes fragrant by burning; like the camomile plant, that grows fastest when trampled upon. — Anon.