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LETTER FROM THE CLERGY
The collapse of Monarch Airlines forced me to
alter my holiday plans. Instead of going to the Holy Land I decided to visit my
family in Beijing. Mum was very pleased with my unexpected visit, but my
sister, who lives in another city, warned me that I would not be able to visit
her at this time of year because of the
forthcoming Party Congress.
You may wonder what the Party Congress has to
do with me visiting my sister. The
problem is caused by the security issue.
In the next few weeks the nineteenth National Chinese Communist Party
Congress will take place in Beijing. Before and during this period the
security in Beijing is tightened to such an
extent that all travel in and out Beijing is tightly controlled and monitored. The movement
control even extends to goods; all online shipping deliveries to and from
Beijing are now suspended.
My family and friends have become used to
this kind of controlling and take it as part of normal life. They simply find ways to work around
it. After enjoying over a quarter of a century of democracy and freedom,
I feel very much frustrated with such governmental control, not only because of
the personal inconvenience it causes, but also because the everyday lives of
millions of people are affected and disrupted.
There must be tens of thousands of businesses which have to be put on
hold because they are unable to travel and goods cannot be moved about.
Moreover, no- one dares to stand up to
challenge the Communist Party. Everyone just accepts the situation. Eight
years ago, to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of the People's Republic of
China, there was a national military parade in Beijing. Many main streets
were blocked off for days. It was at this time my father fell ill, but the
ambulance wasn't able to take him into a proper hospital. When three days
later he finally reached a hospital, it was too late to have any effective
treatment. None of the members of my family, nor any medical staff,
questioned the damage to an individual caused by this kind of inhuman system.
When I raised the issue with my family and friends, I was shushed.
While we enjoy democracy and freedom, we
shouldn’t forget to thank those in ages past who dedicated their lives to
fighting for what we are enjoying today. We also must remember that many such
people were inspired and fired by the love and justice of God which enabled
them to strive for a better world.