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Cardinal Ignatius Kung and 200 Catholic priests were arrested by the Chinese communists on Sept. 8, 1955. With his hands bound, Cardinal Kung was then hauled before a Shanghai stadium full of people who were there to witness Kung renounce his faith. But, when the microphone was placed to his mouth, to the shock of everyone, instead of denying Christ, Kung declared, “Jesus Christ is King.”
Many in the crowd echoed the chant, while the communist police dragged him to prison, tried and convicted him as an enemy of the state to serve a life term.
On Aug. 6, 2008, Rev. Pat Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition, Brandi Swindell and Michael McMonagle of Generation Life went to Tiananmen Square with a banner quoting Cardinal Kung: “Jesus Christ is King.” What was the response of the “kinder gentler Chinese?”
Mahoney, Swindell and McMonagle were forcefully dragged across the street while Mahoney shouted, “We speak out for those who’ve been brutalized at Tiananmen Square … we’re being dragged away!” You can watch the video.
But it’s a bit difficult to see at times since the communist Chinese were utilizing their new censorship weapon: the umbrella. Kicking, poking and jabbing the protesters, plain-clothed state police beat off cameramen, blocked the banner with pink and green umbrellas, striking journalists and forcing cameras from their hands.
Rev. Mahoney was a guest on my Faith2Action radio program yesterday; you can hear firsthand all he had to say.
On Aug. 7, the three held a press conference and prayer meeting outside the Mao Zedong Mausoleum and were arrested for a second time as they knelt in prayer, speaking out against China’s forced abortions, religious persecution and human rights abuses.
The three were interrogated and told to, “Leave now!” “You pay!” or go to prison for an extended period of time. They refused to sign a paper confessing wrongdoing, and the Chinese got angry. When the three refused buy a $3,000 ticket home, they were told they were going to jail and put in a van. After a change into plain clothes (to give the appearance of order), the police forced them onto a plane to Los Angeles, instead.
They were Americans during the Olympics, so they were only deported. Had they been Chinese, they might have faced a fate similar to Cardinal Kung.
Mahoney stated that he was there to “be a voice for those who had no voice,” which includes those who are forced to undergo abortions.
But these three are not the only voices speaking up.
Last week Bob Fu, the head of China Aid, was on the Faith2Action radio program where he reported the details of his meeting with President Bush and told of the president’s commitment to speak with Chinese President Hu Jintao. And judging by the reports, the president has kept his word.
President Bush has repeatedly called for more freedom for the people of China. In one speech, he declared, “The United States believes the people of China deserve the fundamental liberty that is the natural right of all human beings.” The Chinese government replied with a stern warning that it opposes interference from other countries on human rights issues.
In Bangkok, the president said, “America stands in firm opposition to China’s detention of political dissidents, human-rights advocates and religious activists.” And standing on the steps of a state-regulated Christian church, the president stated, “No state, man or woman should fear the influence of loving religion.”
Fu added, however, that “a very chilling message” was sent by not allowing the president to visit a church that isn’t sanctioned by the government.
In an NBC interview on Monday, President Bush said Chinese President Hu Jintao, “raised issues of human rights and religious freedoms.” “I can’t read his mind,” he continued, but “every time I meet him, I press the point.”
The slogan for the Olympics this year is: “One World, One Dream.” But, as Mahoney said on my radio program yesterday, how can the Chinese proclaim the “dream of the world when it crushes the very dreams of their own people?”
The Chinese can bug the hotel rooms and taxis. They collaborate with Google to block the Internet sites that relate to freedom and the gospel. They can run tanks over the freedom-loving students in Tiananmen Square. They can rewrite history and pretend it never existed. They can arrest and detain, beat and censor, imprison and kill. But, as Mahoney said, “No matter how the Government tries to silence freedom, freedom will always find a way to be heard.”
His message to the United States? Pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in China who are bracing themselves for yet another crackdown following all the pageantry of these Olympics. Join us today at 3 p.m. Eastern for our weekly prayer call where we will do just that: 1-712-432-1690 with the access code: 499061#
Pray also to use the freedoms while we still have them and for the boldness to proclaim, as Chinese Cardinal Ignatius Kung has, “Jesus Christ is King.”