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Last updated 23rd October 2017

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                                     November 2017

Dear friends,

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.