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No short prayer or summary can even begin to do justice to the full complexities of all that China is, let alone all that the Lord is doing there, but we pray that these simple thoughts may prove a worthwhile offering . . .

Spirit of God, breathe new life into this vast and ancient land. Praise You that You are raising up Your servants in every stratum of society – from those who work on the land right up into the echelons of the communist party itself. Let your Holy Spirit flow into places where it has long been frowned on to speak openly of anything that is not endorsed by the State.

Let the river of Your Spirit be with all who seek to take the word of God to their neighbours, to their places of work, and into the heartlands of power, politics and the universities, and especially into those provinces and districts where there is but little knowledge of You. Let the cause of Christ burn bright.

Thank You that You have used even the persecution that was designed to stamp the Church out to purify it mightily – and from that to cause a vast army to arise of those who love their own lives less than the desire to make You known.

Forgive us in the West for all we have done in importing imperial power and distorting the pure light of the gospel. Thwart false teaching and increase Bible knowledge and understanding and grow Your unity amongst Your people Lord. Guard the seeds that You have sown.

Keep Your church in the face of constant assaults from the Spirit of Mammon as well as the tares of atheistic thought. Reach out to those who are trapped in the penal system or otherwise forgotten by their communities. Thank You that they are remembered by You. Let the Church in China become the brightest of beacons for Christ we pray.

“It’s time for China to take centre stage in the world,” Chinese Premier Xi Jinping announced in October 2017. Everyone can see how this is happening on many fronts, not only concerning the huge economic powerhouse China has become, but in the quite extraordinary extent to which it remains a heavily policed state. China is setting up a ‘social credit system’ that analyses every single thing about a person’s life: financial transactions,  consumer habits, social beliefs and connections – all with a view to assessing a citizens’ ‘trustworthiness’ (See Time Magazine 13.11.2017)

Even the slightest ‘misdemeanour’ finds its way onto this vast record. This degree of scrutiny surpasses anything that has ever been seen before, and has direct consequences on a person’s permission to travel, their right to a better education, medical care, pension and even their dating prospects. (A person’s social credit score appears on dating sites).

The door has been well and truly opened wide for the State to be able to access every part of a person’s private life. For their part the Chinese authorities prefer to think of this as a tool for building a more harmonious society. Pray for all who are engaged in building the true harmonious society for Christ – and for believers not to fall foul of these intrusive reports.

Xi Jinping has gathered to himself enormous power, but how he will deploy it is far from clear. He is presiding over an ageing society that is facing ongoing issues of corruption and serious pollution. The temptation may be strong to adopt a more aggressive foreign policy but that would not be without risk since it would destabilise living standards on the home front at a time when the economy is already starting to slow.

China also faces the seriously destabilising impact of the calamitous effects of the one child policy and selective sex abortions, which has left many provinces with 30-40% more men than women. Elderly people are often left to fend for themselves and multitudes of Chinese people are suffering from mental health disorders, as well as a sense of hopelessness. Chinese women have the highest suicide rate in the world. May the Lord find ways to reach the many who feel lost and marginalised in this beautiful land.

It is certainly right to pray for where Anglo-Sino relations lead. Britain has, for example, made the decision to invest in Chinese technology in the nuclear industry. For a start, the nuclear issue is in no respect a cheap option. The French company invited to manage another project are years behind their anticipated date, during which time their technology has become outdated and the costs continue to spiral massively. China has been brought in to help finance the deal, and increasingly to roll out their own nuclear reactors, which they are very keen to do in other countries around the world (e.g. Argentina).

Security experts are worried. It is known that the Peoples Liberation Army attach dedicated units to Chinese companies working abroad with the sole intention of hacking into hi-tech systems, and are therefore in a position either to steal material or, in worse case scenarios, to scupper the ability of these plants to work at all should relationships take a serious downturn between China and the West.

Is the current rush to invite the government of China to fund major infrastructure projects in our country justified in the light of their proven track record in terms of cyber espionage as well as of human rights? “Partnerships for expediency” are always likely to come at a high price in the long term. When a godly King of Judah, Jehoshaphat, made an alliance with Ahaziah, the son of king Ahab, and agreed to construct a fleet of trading ships, the Lord was not pleased. After these were built a prophet warned Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.’ The ships were wrecked and were not able to set sail to trade. (2 Chron. 20:35-37) 

Britain is at a dangerous point morally as well as economically. The government has been forced to admit recently that it is far less interested in raising matters of human rights with countries such as Saudi Arabia, than with selling armaments to them – which have been shown to be used time again and again against the people of the Yemen. We have often been critical of nations such as France for selling advanced weaponry indiscriminately, but what about us in our great concern to develop new tradition partners in the world post Brexit? It is never too soon to pray!

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