Why China’s National Day is not worth celebrating

Chinese Christians kneel in the rubble of their church, demolished by the government.
On Oct. 1, China celebrated its 70th National Day, marking 70 years of Communist
Party rule. While the Chinese Communist Party boasts of its achievements over the
past seven decades, it still demolishes churches, detains, tortures, and arrests people
of faith, and harasses those who attempt to legally defend them.
(Photo: ChinaAid Stock Image)

(Midland, Texas—Oct. 2, 2019) On Tuesday, China celebrated its 70th National Day, marking seven decades of Communist Party rule. But even as the Chinese government boasted its power and ability to draw an ancient empire into the modern world, insidious abuses lay just beneath the shiny surface.

One of these abuses happened just last week, when Xie Yang, a human rights attorney, was discussing the bizarre death of a Chinese prisoner. Then, six SWAT team members swarmed his hotel room.

“I haven’t violated any [laws], isn’t that right?” he asked the authorities. He hadn’t, but law enforcement still asked to see his ID and held in the room for 14 hours.

Xie’s wife, Gloria Chen, and their two daughters fled from China to West Texas, in 2017. As a professor at a university in China, Chen risked her life after she disclosed details of the torment Xie endured when he was detained for 19 months. During this time, Xie suffered from starvation, beatings, sleep deprivation, pressure to confess to his crime and fire his attorneys, and the lack of provision of toothpaste and toilet paper. Chen and her daughters also faced persecution for their connection to Xie, with the eldest daughter even being blacklisted from traveling to Hong Kong. As a result, the trio fled the country, but were seized in Southeast Asia, where they were held in an immigration detention center and faced repatriation to China. At the last possible moment, the U.S. intervened.

Since the Chinese government took power in 1949, it has promised prosperity and progress for its citizens. However, it continually attempts to draw power around itself, routinely abusing rights in order to exert itself as the ultimate authority.

However, those it targets are hardly subversive entities. Instead, they are individuals who practice religious beliefs and those who seek to defend them legally, including human rights lawyers. These individuals are often harassed, arrested, tortured, and sentenced to lengthy terms behind bars. Others have their daily activities monitored and interrupted by officials, even when they are simply trying to live their daily lives.

These human rights abuses came into the spotlight earlier this year when Hong Kong residents took to the streets to protest a proposed bill that would allow China to extradite individuals charged with crimes to the mainland for prosecution. The bill sparked fears that China would target religious adherents and human rights activists, who currently find relative freedom in the former British colony. Desperate to preserve their rights, many of Hong Kong’s residents have carried out months of protests, often clashing with the police, who have fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and bean bag rounds at the crowds.

Instead of standing up for the rights of Hong Kong’s citizens, however, Chinese officials sent military to the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border, prompting concerns that China would invade and attempt to squash the dissent.

In response to the backlash, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam withdrew the bill completely, but the protests continue as the Hong Kong people call for Lam’s resignation, the unconditional and immediate release of those arrested for protesting, and cessation of the Hong Kong government’s characterization of the protests as “riots.”

On Sept. 29, 20 human rights organizations co-hosted a rally outside of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., to stand in solidarity with Hong Kong’s residents and in opposition to China’s rights abuses. The demonstrators hoped that their efforts would bring hope to the people who have been suppressed by the Chinese government for the past 70 years and highlight that an abusive regime is not worthy of celebration.

ChinaAid exposes abuses in order to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law. If you wish to partner with us in helping those persecuted by the Chinese government, please click the button below to make a charitable donation.

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