Do we have any idea what is happening in the concrete jungles of the world? Hardly! We only hear the names of big cities…Paris, London, Moscow, New York….and more. What is actually happening in these great metropolises is anybody’s guess. They are only names…without real understanding of the hard working people in their midst.
In these great cities of steel and stone are real people who are trapped in a cycle of over-population, rising costs, air pollution and the rush for investors to take every inch of land in order to build…and build. These great towers rise high and gleam in the sky…the symbol of wealth and prosperity….or DOES IT?
Take a look at our large cities and you might get an answer if you have something to compare the life of those living there and the lives of others around the world. It could make us decide that life in many American towns, even with the great improvements that need to be made, is good and should be appreciated. We must not forget that for most our blessings are great! Perhaps this blog will help us put things into perspective.
You are going to have the opportunity to follow the lives of some select people in a towering city of gigantic, concrete high rises and see what things are really like….HONG KONG. This story can be played out in any large city in the world as desire for more and more constitutes the creed in the world.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9
Hong Kong is by far the largest source of foreign direct investment in China, totaling U.S.$76 billion by the end of 1995. Mainland money is also pouring into Hong Kong, with Chinese companies investing as much as U.S.$60 billion in the territory in recent years. (Rand)
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM…IN ALL THIS PROSPERITY?
“In glitzy and prosperous Hong Kong, thousands live in conditions deemed an “insult to human dignity”. Low-income residents who can’t keep up with soaring property prices have no choice but to cram into homes barely bigger than a coffin or wire cage. More than 200,000 Hongkongers survive in the cramped and squalid conditions of so-called coffin houses and cage homes. “(RT documentaries)
A BRIEF HISTORY OF HONG KONG and ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE
Starting out as a farming fishing village and salt production site, it became an important free port and eventually a major international financial centre. The Qing dynasty ceded Hong Kong to the British Empire in 1842 through the treaty of Nanjing, ending the First Opium War. (Wikipedia)
The treaty of Nanking in 1842 ceded Hong Kong to the British. Their big ships and military might meant China had little choice at the end of the first opium war. It was given to them in perpetuity. … It was this, the New Territories, that in 1898 the British pledged to give back in 1997 (Newsweek)
Hong Kong exists as a Special Administrative Region controlled by The People’s Republic of China and enjoys its own limited autonomy as defined by the Basic Law. (Investipedia)
The cause of the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests was the proposed legislation of the 2019 Hong Kong extradition bill…and demands for democratic reform…and the fear of losing a “high degree of autonomy” in general. (Wikipedia)
Hong Kong is officially known as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Hong Kong has one of the world’s most thriving economies and is a hub for international trade and investment. A cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong weaves Western and Asian influence into a world-class center of business, culture, and trade. (Hong Kong Atlanta)
One would think that the power and influential of Hong Kong would have economic problems figured out for the workers of this vast empire. However, the desire for wealth doesn’t mean that the average, working citizen can live with any dignity. The economy of any nation is extremely important, but the workers who are the steam behind the engine must not be overlooked.
I’ve asked why most of the workers in our country and others are the poorest of the poor…the most vulnerable to disease that spreads to others? Why are they mostly the only ones willing to work? Why, even during the pandemic in the U.S., did many of these workers, mostly Spanish or Asian, continue working in the slaughter houses while others collected unemployment, refusing to return to work as long as the government paid out?
The answer is simple…they did not want to lose a job that was their only life line. This is also the reason for the workers interviewed in the video below. We must not forget that Hong Kong is still under the thumb of communistic China. You will see in one episode where the men refused to be photographed in fear of losing the only thing they had…a job and a tiny place to live, not much bigger than your average large dog cage in the USA. Fear is a great motivator in survival.
Governments and companies should look seriously at the Holy Scripture and its promises to the worker in Psalm 128:2. The worker is promised something from God if the bosses over them do not interfere.
“You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.”
God rewards those who work hard. They deserve to be rewarded and blessed with a good and decent life. Authoritarian powers often cancel out God’s purposes. The world will suffer and men’s actions and greed will eventually be held accountable…not only in the East…but the West.
“You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the Lord, and you be guilty of sin. Deuteronomy 24:14,15
This video, “Trapped inside Hong Kong’s cage houses” proves what over-crowing and rising costs leads to completely being trapped for these Hong Kong’s workers. When watching this, keep in mind that the same thing can happen in any large city in the world today.
Are you the thrill-seeking type? Frankly, when it comes to heights, I stand far back in a hotel open-view elevator. Why? I’m not certain for if it drops, the entire elevator will fall and it will not matter if one is peering from a closer view. It does beg a question however, when thinking of this along with goals for 2017 and fighting our fears to do something that is beyond our comfort zones. The goal may not have anything to do with heights, but only a kind of a dread…of doing something that may be considered unusual or “out there” to others…or to one’s self. You can ask yourself the question…am I willing to live a little more this next year? Am I held back by what others may think or say? Have I been putting off doing something, but believed that I’d do that “someday”? My mother did an embroidery that says “Life is short…handle with prayer.”
China has just this year finished a bridge that is the highest above the ground than any other bridge in the world. It is called the Beipanjiang Bridge. Take a look and think about the engineers who designed it…and the workers walking above the gorge on the partly built bridge (with or without a life-rope).
So go for it! No one is asking you to build or dive off a bridge, but to reach out to the one thing that you have been putting off. Nevertheless, handle life and your decisions with prayer. God will give you the strength and wisdom to know if it is the right thing or the right time. There could be an adrenaline rush for you or maybe just a peaceful feeling that you are taking life seriously and don’t plan to miss any of it.
12 Bridges…for your New Year pleasure from around the world
The commercialization of Christmas has reached around the world, especially to those who labor in the factories to make the hundreds…no, millions of pieces of plastic that are placed on Christmas trees and even manger scenes of the Baby Jesus.
How many Chinese hands have painted the figures and perhaps wondered who this person is and what Christmas is all about? Is there a meaning to Christmas other than a small paycheck? Stacks and stacks of ornaments…piles and piles of plastic…hours and hours of labor…boxing and labeling “made in China” to be moved thousands of miles away around the world. This is Christmas to so many.
Below are parts of an article that is worth sharing. After reading this, one may decide that Christmas next year may be celebrated in a different way. We will mention only briefly the economic issues as it relates to the U.S.A, but simply see how the Baby Jesus has been lost in the mountains of plastic.
Tim Maughan writes about his visit to Yiwu, a Chinese city that could almost be called “Christmas town” His trip was organized and funded by the Unknown Fields Division, a group of architects, academics and designers at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.
Most of these pictures were made by Tim Maughan as he toured the Christmas city of Yiwu. As we study these pictures, it is most revealing of commercialism on a mass scale.
“I’m a few hours away from Shanghai and I’ve not seen daylight for over three hours. I’m also hopelessly lost. I’ve been trying to get out of this place for the last 45 minutes, but the vast labyrinth of corridors and stores all look identical. I’m surrounded by artificial trees, baubles, fake snow, felt Santa hats, and animated LED reindeer. All I hear is festive music. I’m trapped in my worst Christmas nightmare, and it is only August. A hot, sticky day in August. For a moment, it feels like I may never escape, doomed to spend the rest of my life in a never-ending Santa’s Grotto.
I’m at the Christmas level of the International Trade Market in Yiwu, around 300 kilometres (187 miles) south of Shanghai. more than 60% of the world’s Christmas decorations are made in Yiwu, a significant proportion of which is sold at this enormous wholesale market. As I discovered, Christmas is made in Yiwu. That tree lighting up your lounge. Those decorations hanging from the ceiling. That novelty stocking filler you bought for your child. Chances are they came not far from where I am standing….
It’s hard to know how to describe Yiwu Market’s scale. I could start with the statistics; how it currently covers an area of four million sq m, with 62,000 booths inside. I could tell you how it is estimated to have an incredible 40,000 visitors every day, 5,000 of whom are said to be buyers from foreign countries. But these are just numbers.
Inside, it looks like a run-down large shopping mall, but you need to start walking to appreciate its size… (after going through many levels of artificial flowers/pencils etc)
It’s not just the size that separates Yiwu market from your local shopping mall. For a start you can’t really buy anything here, at least not in the conventional consumer sense. Yiwu market is, for the large part, strictly wholesale. Each of the 62,000 booths, all identically sized 2.5m by 2.5m cubes, is a showroom for an individual company or factory. The market is less a shopping mall than a vast, endless trade show, built for those most important of middlemen: retail buyers, who flock here from across China and the rest of the world to negotiate deals on shipping containers full of cheap products to fill the shelves of stores back home. The sheer scale of what’s in front of me belies the fact that Yiwu market’s heyday was in the past – much of this trade is now migrating online, to websites such as Alibaba and Made In China. But it remains the physical manifestation of a vast invisible network that supplies many of the inexpensive goods we all buy in the West and worldwide.
(Boyer Writes has to stop here and reflect on the fact that President Nixon appeared to be ahead of his time when he opened the way for trade with China. Even now, we are looking at what to do with Cuba and the opening of trade. Nevertheless, we know what has happened to jobs in the United States because of the China decision. The furniture companies of N.C. closed. Small businesses buckled across the United States because of the cheap labor of China. Thousands of American suffered because of this decision. This is probably true for other countries as well. )
Tim Maughan continues:
The first room we’re shown is the main factory floor, where a couple of dozen workers – of all ages and genders, but predominately women under 20 years old – are assembling and painting plastic mistletoe, wreathes, miniature trees and more.
One woman folds elaborate ribbons from plastic sheeting, whilst the woman next to her glues them on to “Merry Christmas” signs covered in red glitter paint. A young boy in a stained apron, who looks to be barely a teenager, is hand-painting holly berries red. And in a side room a man sits in front of a huge fan as he dips metal wires into a bucket of unidentified boiling liquid, bending them while they’re hot into curved headbands for novelty reindeer antlers.
Everywhere the fruits of their labor surround them; thousands of Christmas ornaments and novelties constantly being piled into cardboard boxes and plastic crates faster than they can be moved out, spilling on to the floor and towering above the workers.
In the next room the fabric products are made; again about two dozen women sit at rows of sewing machines. It’s hot and all you can hear is the constant hum of the machines as they stitch together hats, Christmas stockings, and festive bunting (see video, below). The red and white Santa hat – the kind you wear at office parties – that you buy for a few pounds and then throw away by New Year’s Eve. I see it being made here. I watch a girl sew white fur trim on to red felt at the rate of about two hats a minute, and as she finishes each one she simply pushes them off the front of her desk where they fall, silently, onto an ever-increasing pile on the floor.
It’s not just seeing Christmas being made in August that’s disorientating, but also the scale of the manual labor that’s involved that surprises me. Perhaps I was naive, but if you’d asked me before I visited Yiwu how Christmas decorations are made I’d have guessed they were mass-produced in largely automated factories. But the truth here is actually the real secret of China’s manufacturing success – keeping labour costs so low that making things by hand is cheaper than using machines…
As we leave, we get a glimpse of boxes of Christmas decorations being loaded into a shipping container heading to the mega-port of Ningbo. There it would be transported on a container ship to… who knows where. I’m told that most of the decorations are headed to the US and Europe, with Russia being a new, large, and very lucrative market. Watching Christmas being assembled by hand in front of us that day, I heard more than one person in our group remark that the holiday season will never be the same again. Perhaps they were right…”
If I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Maughan, I’d ask him if he saw the Baby Jesus, Wise Men, Joseph and Mary? Jesus, the Savior of the World, Who was born to bring the message of new life. Jesus who died for the sins of men and rose again to prepare a place for men and women… is under the stack somewhere….lost in the piles of plastic….and to the millions of people who pour His image into molds.
As we sing this Christmas, “Joy to the World” or walk the malls with the beautiful lights, we may want to say a prayer for those whose lives are caught up in the sweat shops of China for our Christmas pleasure. As the workers use their smartphones to release themselves from boredom, one of those workers may find a message of hope and understand that there is a true meaning to Christmas.
The three weeks that I spent in Japan as a Fulbright Scholar was an experience that I will not forget. More recently, my husband and I returned to Japan where we found the beauty of nature and its preservation one of the most fascinating parts of Japan. Quiet, calm gardens with running water; swimming fish, rocks and white stones raked into perfect form gave us a rest that is hard to find in this busy world. It is my hope that in the day of hand-held, high-tech inventions, the artistry of Japan will be handed down to Japan’s young people. What a disaster if it should vanish with those who know how to make beauty out of bamboo, stone and craft to perfection. The same is true of other parts of Asia.
The ancient art of celadon making in Korea; Jade designs in China; Lacquer artisans of Japan, and builders of the Tea Houses throughout the world. Below are videos showing these art forms. Learn and enjoy!
Chai Ling emerged as one of the student leaders in the Tiananmen Square Movement in 1989 . She has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace PrizeShe organized many of the hunger strikes during demonstrations … was known as the “general commander” during the student protests and was then listed as one of the 21 most wanted students by the Chinese government after the military crackdown. She fled from China in April 1990, with the help of Hong Kong-funded organizations. After 10 months of hiding, she settled in Paris, France, where she then accepted a full scholarship to Princeton University. She later received an honorary Masters degree in Political Science from Princeton and attended Harvard. She is married to an American; is a mother, and owns a software company.
Chai brings with her the story of God’s working in her life and a number of other leaders who survived the massacre and imprisonment. Her testimony of finding Christ as her Saviour is compelling. The sufferings of the people of China, then and now, is revealing. It is a story you do not want to miss. A small part of Chai Ling’s story is written below:
“At Beida, I (Chai Ling) discovered for the first time something about God from a graduate student, who had done a biking trip along China’s famous Yellow River. His report was spoken in a hushed and careful manner; it made a lasting impression on me.
In the middle of his journey, he entered a poor village so destitute that no woman had been married into the village for years; even the birds would not stop when flying over. A group of villagers ask him to do them a favor. It was a Sunday night, they gathered in a small shack that was made with hay and mud bricks. In the dim, oil lantern light, they passed something that was wrapped in a thick, black rain cloth to prevent water and damage.
He opened the cloth, layer by layer. At the end was a copy of the Bible. The pages had turned yellow, and the edges had many wrinkles. It was the only copy that was left by a missionary, who was driven out of the country after the Communist’s revolution 40 years earlier. They kept it for all those years, risking their lives during all those movements.
They had one problem. None of the villagers could read. So each time when they gathered together to worship, they passed the Bible around, touching the Bible by their hands to be connected with God’s spirit. So finally, this college kid who can read showed up. They were thrilled. Their prayer was answered. They begged him to read the words to them. He did.
That night, he stood on a stool; read, read, read, and read. The villagers looked at him, standing, hungry and thirsty for every word spoken from his lips. They stood without moving, listening and listening, until dawn broke through the window.
The villagers had to go back to work the fields. They left reluctantly. To thank my friend’s work to bring them God’s words, they gave him a big bag of sweet potatoes to bring home–the only gift they can find from their village. Our friend had to dump many things as his journey became long and tough, but he kept that bag of potatoes all the way to the end.
As a young college girl, dashing around campus trying to do a million things at the same time, that story stopped my rush. I was touched by his witness and the spirit that attracts those villagers strongly attracted me. For we have grown up being ask to worship the Communist leaders and Chairman Mao, all I saw was done out of fear and obedience, I had never seen such a public display of this genuine strong devotion and faith. And for reasons that I don’t even understand today, ever since that moment, my life was turned from one event to another, and went spinning out of control… ”
Chai gives details of her story in the Tinananmen movement. She explains her view of the many abortions in China. She shares her survival and escape: “…..So with that clarity and relief, I endured 5 nights and 4 days of complete darkness and isolation in a wooden crate inside a boat, on a trip suppose to be only 8 hours, with nothing but a simple faith. My work in this life is not done yet….”
We are now in great debt to China. This is no secret because we have placed ourselves as a nation in their care…financially and in the economic market place. Because of this, we have turned a blind eye on the suffering that goes on in this communist nation. We have refused to speak out when it comes to those imprisoned for attempting to use the human rights that we in America enjoy. These include freedom of speech and freedom to worship as one chooses.
How soon we forget the Tiananmen massacre. How soon we forget those who died for speaking up and those who are still imprisoned today.
Chinese tanks after massacre
Financially we are also becoming this country’s slave. This is not all. We no longer speak up in horror when persecutions take place on their soil. Who am I speaking of? Why am I writing this? Let me give you an example or two among the thousands:
Christian Pastor Wang Dao of Guangzhou
The following is a quote from a China Aid press release:
“GUANZHOU–At noon on September 3, 2009, the administrative reconsideration office in Zhuhai notified Pastor Wang Dao of Guangzhou Liangren Church that the Guanzhou court had ruled in favor of his application for reconsideration on behalf of the church, and requested he come to the office to pick up the award. At 5:00 PM, four public security officials came to his home in Donghai Garden Community, and requested that he join them for an investigation in Luoxi Police station. They claimed they were from Guangzhou Bureau of Public Security, but when Pastor Wang demanded they show him the warrant of investigation, they could not furnish one. Instead, they instructed him to “lighten up,” claiming they just “wanted to talk.” The security officials then took Pastor Wang to the residential police office and “conversed” with him for two hours.
According to Pastor Wang, the men were primarily interested in the details surrounding his signing the Chinese Christians Statement on 20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre, released earlier in June. They further threatened him: as his “friends” they urged him to think about wife and children, “You will have to consider your future and security.” Pastor Wang refused to succumb to the intimidation; he thanked them for their concern, but asserted, “Since I follow Jesus and am determined to be a servant of God, I have prepared myself for those consequences.” The officials did not release him until 8:00 PM that night.” (Click to read more article details} The update to this article is that Pastor Wang has now been kidnapped and taken to an undisclosed location.
China Aid explains that exposure and public opinion has had some good results. The internet is also a means of exposure.
“China Aid seeks to uncover and reveal the truth about religious persecution in China, focusing especially on the unofficial church. We do this through conducting investigations, press releases, annual persecution reports, the China Aid News brief, media campaigns and advocacy. National and international media outlets including: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Associated Press, the BBC, The Wall Street Journal, Voice of America and Radio Free Asia rely on ChinaAid’s timeliness and accuracy.
As soon as China Aid verifies a persecution report from inside China through a network of investigators. A press release is sent to the international media, U.S. embassy staff and other NGOs. These, in turn, launch inquiries of the arresting agents or agencies, putting enormous pressure on the Chinese government that they not torture the victims.”
Gao Zhisheng in Chinese Prison
“Gao Zhisheng is a 2008 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Chinese army veteran and prominent Christian attorney. He cares deeply for the nation of China, and is a loyal citizen. Since 2005, Gao has been repeatedly kidnapped, arrested, imprisoned and tortured by Chinese authorities for his work defending those persecuted for their faith. He, his wife and two children have been monitored and tormented by authorities for more than two years. On January 21, 2010, the Chinese government publicly acknowledged Gao Zhisheng to be in their custody, for the first time since his abduction more than 365 days ago.
In response to a reporter’s inquiry, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu said: “The relevant judicial authorities have decided this case, and we should say this person, according to Chinese law, is where he should be.” Mr. Ma then added, “As far as what exactly he’s doing, I don’t know. You can ask the relevant authorities.”
Almost everything we purchase in America is made in China. If we have a choice, determine to make the right one…. or will we turn a blind eye? Backing ourselves into an economic corner does not mean we do not have a voice…or a pen. Use it where we can….or while we can.
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I started writing Boyer Writes in 2009. Over the years, the “visitors” to my blog have been 287,834 and counting. A “FOLLOWER” is one who would like to have a notification each time I write. I hope that you will choose to FOLLOW. My purpose, as a Christian writer, is to inspire and to do some critical thinking. In today’s world, we all need the hope and peace that is given by Christ, our Lord. My thanks to all my readers. Feel free to write me with a prayer request or any concerns at this email: firstname.lastname@example.org