Monthly Archives: October 2019

October 2019 Update

Stairs to Heaven in Rolf’s Church

Rolf arrived safely in China on September 30th. He moved into what he calls his “shoe-box” apartment, one room and a bathroom. It is so small he has to squeeze sideways to get into bed which is where he sleeps or to watch TV because that is where it is mounted on the wall! There is no easy chair or couch or closet just a very small table with 2 straight back chairs and a very small desk. On one wall is what they call a kitchen which is a sink, a couple of dishes and a small frig. He has no complaints though. He has what he needs and our small apartment will seem like a palace when he gets home!!

He started teaching his classes in the business school on October 7th. He is teaching 4 classes Monday through Thursday from 2-6pm. His classes are smaller than usual with each class having 8 students. He likes the smaller classes because he can spend more individual class time with each student.

He is already establishing a relationship with 2 of them. They have enjoyed getting together outside of class. One has already gone to church with him. The other when asked politely declined and told Rolf he was a Buddhist and asked would Rolf still want to be friends with him knowing that! Rolf is “feeling” them out to see if they might be affiliated with the Communist Party or not to determine if he should ask them to join his next “Faith of Fiction” class. PRAY God would give him a clear answer on that decision.

He is teaching his “Faith or Fiction” class on Saturdays. He has 12 students, 7 that are new and the other 5 were former students from his regular classes from last semester. There have been 163 potential new believers that have signed up for the new 12-week classes taught by his 6 Chinese leaders. PRAY they will all become followers of Christ!

PRAISE, 232 of the participants from the summer classes taught by his leaders while Rolf was home have committed their lives to Christ!! And more good news. PRAISE, a Muslim student from one of Rolf’s Faith or Fiction classes from a few years past has finally given his life to Christ! He had been hesitant and holding back because of his family. Rolf had given him some books by Nabeel Qureshi, a speaker and author and a Christian convert from Islam. One of his best sellers was “No God but One: Allah or Jesus?” He has passed these books on to his sister and he is praying for her. His parents still don’t accept his decision and the relationship is very strained. PRAY for him, his sister and his parents.

Sherri thought she was done with surgeries only to be told she now needs cataract surgery. So that is scheduled for November 4th for the first one and November 18th for the second. This is a pretty routine procedure but it is still surgery. So please also PRAY for her that it goes well with no complications.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3-6.

We are so grateful for your partnership with us in reaching the lost in China. It makes a difference! We couldn’t do it alone. THANK YOU!

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Cooling Chinese Divorces

China plans to introduce a 30-day “cooling-off period” for couples who apply for divorce, according to a new draft of the marriage and family section of the civil code, “Global Times” reported.

The new draft was introduced amid soaring “divorce” rates in China over the past decade.

A partner could withdraw the divorce application 30 days within applying to the local civil affairs department. For couples who did not go to the civil affairs department to get their divorce certificates 30 days after they submitted the divorce application, their application shall be considered withdrawn, the draft said.

The draft was submitted to the ongoing bi-monthly session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee for a second reading.

Figures from the Ministry of Civil Affairs show that the number of divorces has been soaring in China over the past 16 years, from just more than one million in 2002 to more than 4 million in 2017.

Qi Lianfeng, a divorce lawyer at the Beijing Minghang Law Firm, told the Global Times that a cooling-off period could to some extent reduce hasty divorce decisions and save marriages, and couples could use the 30 days to seek marriage or psychological counseling.

Courts in several provinces, including Sichuan, Fujian and Shandong, introduced a three-month cooling-off period to try to save marriages in 2017. But Qi said a cooling-off period may not work for couples that have long been in dispute, suffering from domestic violence or other serious conflicts, the report said.

There should be more specific conditions for the cooling-off period, as some people may abuse it in battling over family properties, Zhang Yuxia, a lawyer at Shanghai Shenhao Law Firm, told the chinanews.com.

The draft also clarifies issues concerning a couple’s joint debts and the visitation rights of grandparents.

During marriage, debts jointly incurred by a husband and wife, contracted by one spouse but ratified subsequently by the other, or paid by either spouse for family necessities shall become joint debts.

Debts incurred by one spouse for use beyond the scope of family necessities are not considered joint debts, unless the creditor can prove the debt was used for the family or business by the couple or incurred with mutual consent, according to the draft.

Grandparents who have fulfilled their obligations to grandchildren, or if one parent of the grandchildren has died, have visitation rights, the draft explained.

In China, many children are raised by their grandparents as their parents focus on their careers. About 60 to 70 percent of the children under 2-and-a-half years old are raised by grandparents, according to data provided by the China Research Center on Ageing.

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Children Video Addiction

Chinese parents are struggling to “tear” their children away from watching short videos, as the popularity of platforms rises across the country.

At the beginning of this year, the Cyberspace Administration of China advised various Chinese video platforms – such as TikTok, Kwai and Huoshan – to roll out anti-addiction features to help cut down the amount of time youngsters are spending watching videos, the Paper reported.

Under the plan, which began in early June, users who spend more than 90 continuous minutes in an app will get an alert, and the app will lock users out completely if they have been watching for more than two hours – though it can be unlocked by entering a password.

In December 2018, the number of short video users reached 648 million, with 80% of those being active users, according to the 43th Statistical Report of the Development of China’s Internet Network.

A survey commissioned by the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League in May last year found that 20% of young respondents said that they are “almost always” watching short videos, and another 10% said they “watch a few times a day.”

Sun Hongyan, director for research on adolescence at the “China Youth & Children Research Center,” said that watching short videos or playing video games were means for teenagers to escape from reality.

If they encountered problems in their homes or schools, they might become submerged in the virtual world, satisfying  psychological needs that they can’t obtain in real life.

“To overcome addiction, parents should relate to their children and offer them guidance,” he said.

Zhang, a father of a primary school-aged son, who enabled a parent-monitoring mode in March to limit his son’s screen time, found that his son cracked the pass-code and hid himself in bed to watch videos until midnight.

Instead of scolding him, he paid attention to the content that his son was interested in and started chatting about their interests. Zhang even advised his son to put the skills he learned from the videos into real practice at home.

Zhang said his son now spends less time on screen and their relationship has improved to where they are doing more do-it-yourself projects together.

Parents should be the role models for their children, Sun added. If they are also addicted to using mobile phones, it is hard to convince children to put the devices down.

Parents who are addicted users of technology are also unable to spare quality time with their children, which would worsen their relationship.

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Free Hong Kong

Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters attended a rally in Hong Kong’s Central district and called on the US Congress to pass the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019.”

People filled the rally venue at Charter Garden and the crowd spilled over the roads in Central and Admiralty.

Organizers increased the estimated number of people attending from 130,000 to 200,000 while police said only 25,000 attended.

It was the first rally approved by the police force since the enactment of the anti-mask law, but many defied the law by putting on face masks despite a police warning. The rally organizers also asked people not to wear them.

The US Congress is due to discuss the bill, which would require a re-evaluation of certain rights Hong Kong was granted that are separate from China. The act also proposes economic sanctions and penalties on Chinese and Hong Kong officials found to have suppressed democracy in the city.

The government issued a statement right after the end of the rally, saying it regretted the assembly and reiterated that foreign legislatures should not interfere in the internal affairs of the SAR.

The rally started at 7pm. Demonstrators chanted slogans in English, saying “Fight for freedom, stay with Hong Kong,” while some waved American flags. Others held self-made placards urging the US to pass the act as it not only saves Hong Kong, “but also saves 85,000 Americans, 1,100 US companies and US$80 billion investment in the city.”

They also sang the so-called Hong Kong anthem “Glory to Hong Kong” and broadcast the US national anthem before the rally ended at 9pm.

The organizers said they urged the US Congress to pass the bill as soon as possible and to evaluate the US-Hong Kong Policy Act. They also called for a stop to exporting weapons to Hong Kong, a thorough investigation over injustice and suppression of human rights and to provide humanitarian relief work in Hong Kong.

One participant named Tong, who held a US flag, said “we are not demanding independence. What we want is the rights of autonomy,” the Ming Pao Daily reported.

The rally was generally peaceful, but there were small-scale clashes outside Hong Kong Station. Police arrested at least three men, one of them seen shoving a trolley towards a police vehicle as officers were leaving the station, Radio Television Hong Kong reported. Police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Some protesters blocked major roads around Exchange Square with barricades, but left when riot police arrived. Officers also stopped and searched people at Central MTR station when the rally ended.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Carrie Lam criticized remarks by US senator Josh Hawley, who said: “Hong Kong is becoming a police state.” The senator had just finished a visit to Hong Kong.

Hawley was one of the sponsors of the “Human Rights and Democracy Act.” He went to a protest site in Kowloon’s Mong Kok and talked with Hong Kong people, journalists and lawmakers.

Lam, speaking ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting lashed out and called Hawley’s accusation “irresponsible” and “totally unfounded.” 

“The Hong Kong police force is a highly professional and civilized force. I would challenge every politician to ask themselves if the large extent of violent acts and all those petrol bombs and arson and really deadly attacks on policemen happened in their own country, what would they do? What would their policemen do?” she asked.

Hawley said in his Tweet that he chose the words “police state” intentionally to reflect what he had witnessed. “I chose the words ‘police state’ purposely – because that is exactly what Hong Kong is becoming. I saw it myself,” he said.

“If Carrie Lam wants to demonstrate otherwise, here’s an idea: resign.”

A protester waves a US flag at the rally in Hong Kong calling on American politicians to pass a bill that could alter Washington’s relationship with the trading hub.

US senator warns HK becoming “police state”
More violence as Hong Kong protests continue

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Lady Liberty

The four-meter Lady Liberty statue erected on top of Lion Rock.

The four-meter tall “Lady Liberty” statue that was erected at the top of Lion Rock by pro-democracy supporters on Sunday was found to have collapsed and broken on Monday morning.

According to an online photo, the statue’s feet were broken. Some red marks were found on the body of the statue.

An online photo showed the damaged and fallen Lady Liberty.

The statue was complete with a gas mask, helmet, umbrella and protective goggles, the standard dress-code of protesters on the streets in Hong Kong over the past four months.

It held a black banner that read “Revolution of our time. Liberate Hong Kong.”

A team of about 20 people dismantled the statue, which was originally placed on the campus of the University of Hong Kong, before “smuggling” it overnight to the top of Lion Rock in Kowloon on Saturday.

During the transportation process, they encountered thunderstorms in the night and it was slightly damaged during the trek and had a broken hand when it was erected.

More than 100 hikers went up the 495-meter-high Lion Road to see it.

The team responsible for transporting the statue said that they had expected “vandalism” and there was no plan to try to reinstall it.

They said that even if the statue was not put up again, the memory of it on the top of Lion Rock would remain in Hong Kong people’s minds.

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that any attempts to split China would result in “bodies smashed and bones ground to powder,” amid four months of anti-Beijing unrest in Hong Kong.  “Any external forces that support the splitting of China can only be regarded as delusional by the Chinese people.

Xi did not mention any region by name, but China has accused “external forces” of fueling unrest in Hong Kong.

Xi’s comments came as Hong Kong entered its 19th week of protests, which started as peaceful marches and has escalated into violence by both protesters and police in the city.

‘Bones Ground to Powder’: Xi Threatens Gruesome Death for Hong Kong, Taiwan

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Red Holiday Tourism

China saw a total of 782 million domestic tourist trips made during the seven-day National Day holiday, up 7.81% from last year, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Tourism revenue reached nearly 650 billion yuan (about US$90.94 billion) during the holiday, up by 8.47%, officials said. The country’s scenic sites also received more domestic travelers, up 42% from last year, CGTN.com reported.

“Red Tourism,” or tourism themed on the revolution, remained a highlight. About 78.84% of the tourists participated in activities celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, according to statistics from the ministry.

About 66.4% of the tourists visited sites related to history and culture, while 44.96% participated in nighttime tourist activities. Over seven million outbound trips were made by the Chinese during the holiday, said the ministry.

Meanwhile, box office revenue on the Chinese mainland totaled about five billion yuan (about US$699.54 million) during the holiday, making it the highest-grossing National Day film season in history, the report said.

According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, the combined sales of retail and catering enterprises in China rose by 8.5%t year on year during the week long National Day holiday which ended on Monday.

Between October 1 and 7, the total sales of China’s retail and catering firms reached 1.52 trillion yuan (about US$215 billion), the ministry said in a statement on its website.

While tourism, culture and sports-related consumption maintained rapid growth, the sales of organic food, fashion clothes, smart home appliances and new electronic devices showed dynamic performance, the report said.

The supply of daily necessities was sufficient, and the prices were generally stable during the past week, according to the ministry. Data also showed new trends in online food ordering this holiday, with more orders being placed for tourist sites.

Night fairs, midnight canteens and fantastic light shows during the holiday also provided tourists with a new way of enjoyment. Some cities selected the most popular nighttime consumption areas, entertainment places and shopping malls, offering overall guidance for tourists.

From October 1-6, late evening catering increased 54.9%, a 14.6 percentage point increase over the 40.3% growth of the entire catering industry, according to China Union Pay.

The new trend shows that China’s household consumption is moving toward quality and diversification, said Xu Guangjian, a professor at the Renmin University of China. The popularity of the night economy during the holiday is the result of the transformation and upgrading of consumption, said Xu.

And lastly, according to China’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba’s latest report, the transaction volume of aromatherapy products increased by a whopping 240% during the first three days of the week.

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