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Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Execution; perscution.

The execution of the death penalty on British subject (as a monarchy, we do not have citizens!) Akmal Shaikh has sparked a diplomatic war of words between the U.K and China. I have very mixed feelings about the situation. On the one hand, I am totally opposed to addictive drugs and believe that those who traffic in them should be punished with all severity. On the other hand, I am unhappy with the taking of a human life - whether in the womb, on the battlefield, or in the execution chamber of a Chinese jail.

However, as I read about the strenuous efforts that appear to have been made, albeit unsuccessfully, on behalf of the late Mr Shaikh - whose guilt has not been disputed - I cannot help but wonder why it is that similar efforts are not made with regard to China's poor human rights record as a whole. I think of people like house church leader Alimjan Yimit, recently sentenced to 15 years in prison - after almost a full year in custody - on the apparently contrived charge of having provided state secrets to foreign organisations!

I think, too, of Gao Zhisheng, a human-rights lawyer who in September 2007 sent an open letter to the Congress of the U.S. of A. alleging a number of abuses in great detail and urging international protests. The Chinese authorities responded by abducting Mr Gao and, in a secret location outside Beijing, torturing him for 13 days - holding burning cigarettes to his eyes and nose; electrocuting, and piercing, his genitals; and using other forms of physical abuse. He 'disappeared' again on February 4th 2009 after having been seized by about a dozen police officers. Mr Gao's wife and children have managed to escape to the relative safety of the U.S. of A., but in spite of repeated inquiries from international organisations, the Chinese government refuses to provide any information as to his wherabouts.

There are many encouraging reports coming out of some parts of China, but these two are mere representatives of thousands - if not tens, or even hundreds, of thousands - who suffer persecution to one degree or another, for the simple reason that they acknowledge the Lord Jesus as their personal Saviour, Lord, and King.

Those of us who value the relative freedom that we enjoy in 'the West' should be at the forefront in remembering these brave people - people who, as a follower of Jesus, I am proud to call my brothers and sisters in Christ.

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