Friday, March 2, 2012

God is Red

I've been reading a book titled God is Red by Liao YiWu. He had written several books about China; I also bought and read The Corpse Walker several years ago. Here's the book description from Amazon:
When journalist Liao Yiwu first stumbled upon a vibrant Christian community in the officially secular China, he knew little about Christianity. In fact, he’d been taught that religion was evil, and that those who believed in it were deluded, cultists, or imperialist spies. But as a writer whose work has been banned in China and has even landed him in jail, Liao felt a kinship with Chinese Christians in their unwavering commitment to the freedom of expression and to finding meaning in a tumultuous society.

Unwilling to let his nation lose memory of its past or deny its present, Liao set out to document the untold stories of brave believers whose totalitarian government could not break their faith in God, including:

- The over-100-year-old nun who persevered in spite of beatings, famine, and decades of physical labor, and still fights for the rightful return of church land seized by the government

- The surgeon who gave up a lucrative Communist hospital administrator position to treat villagers for free in the remote, mountainous regions of southwestern China

- The Protestant minister, now memorialized in London’s Westminster Abbey, who was executed during the Cultural Revolution as “an incorrigible counterrevolutionary”

This ultimately triumphant tale of a vibrant church thriving against all odds serves as both a powerful conversation about politics and spirituality and a moving tribute to China’s valiant shepherds of faith, who prove that a totalitarian government cannot control what is in people’s hearts.

I'm only 1/3 of the way through the book (Kindle edition) but the stories are both heartwarming and troublesome. For example, chapter 8 tells the story of a doctor who had to give up his career as the deputy dean of a medical school because he was a Christian. After spending time in Thailand working with other foreign volunteer doctors, he decides to travel to poor areas of Yunnan and provide free medical care. Since he was trained as a surgeon, he would even do lifesaving surgeries in the most rural areas, where locals cannot access, much less afford, healthcare. At the end of the chapter, we read that the local officials accused him of "ulterior motives" and halted his medical mission trips. He later visited the US to talk about his mission work and was refused re-entry back to China.

This is the problem with China and the CCP. All government officials are basically in power for themselves. Without accountability, local officials can do whatever they want if it benefits them financially, or if it will help them gain a promotion. Public health should be the responsibility of government officials. However, in this case we see how small minded officials are causing additional pain and suffering to their citizens by denying them their only source of healthcare, and providing nothing in return.

People are basically selfish. If we give government power over our lives, then there needs to be careful checks and balances, something that is sorely lacking in China.

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