Globe Trot A summary of international news compiled by senior editor Mindy Belz

‘Saved’ by the Communist Party

International | China’s forced labor practices give new meaning to becoming ‘born again’
by Mindy Belz
Posted 12/19/19, 03:22 pm

CHINA: A report by researcher Adrian Zenz, one of the first to document Beijing’s oppression of mostly Muslim Uighurs, cites the authorities’ extensive plan for reeducation and forced labor at factories where Uighurs “can learn the nation’s common language” and “understand the right and wrong.” At a clothing factory in Shenzhen, a manager claims the “de-extremification” process “causes workers to become born again.” Writes Zenz:

“The Chinese term for ‘born again’ (重生) is the exact same as in the Chinese translation of the Bible, in the well-known passage in the book of John (3:7) where Jesus says to Nicodemus: ‘You must be born again.’ The implication here is that re-education and subsequent factory labor is akin to a process of spiritual transformation and salvation, whereby the minorities are ‘rescued’ from the brink of disaster (religious extremism) and ‘saved’ through the Communist Party’s enlightened re-education program.”

ALGERIA inaugurated Abdelmadjid Tebboune as president, a 74-year-old former prime minister who protesters persistently cited as part of the country’s corrupt elite.

LEBANON named Hassan Diab, an academic with backing from Hezbollah, as its next prime minister hours after former Prime Minister Saad Hariri said he would no longer be a candidate. Hariri resigned the post amid massive protests and unrest that threaten the country’s Christian population.

INDIA: In the midst of widening turmoil, Tennessee pastor Bryan Nerren remains unable to leave India after he was arrested in October over money he carried for a missions conference.

Three people are reported dead in continuing protests over a controversial citizenship law, and authorities have shut down the internet and continued arrests, including of a well-known scholar and Gandhi biographer.

PAKISTAN: A special court on Tuesday sentenced former President Pervez Musharraf to death after finding him guilty of high treason. Musharraf seized power in a 1999 coup. Questions about the verdict are growing, as part of the sentence called for the body of Musharraf, now in Dubai and tried in absentia, to be hanged in the streets for three days.

CHILE: A Walmart in a remote area “looks like a war zone” after weeks of protests set fire to businesses and left property looted.

BRITAIN: Queen Elizabeth opened a new session of Parliament with a speech detailing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan, including a pledge to leave the European Union by Jan. 31, 2020.

UNITED STATES: A few perspectives on Wednesday night’s action in Congress, where the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump but Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will delay forwarding the articles of impeachment to the Senate, pushing a Senate trial into the 2020 election year.

  • Trump, in his call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, attempted to subvert Congress in a way that threatens the separation of powers and “will haunt” a future Republican Congress, wrote Bret Stephens: “That he was prepared to endanger an ally and benefit an enemy is not treason, as the Constitution defines treason, but it is a travesty.”
  • On the left, wrote longtime foreign policy expert Paul Miller, a strong strain “refused to recognize the reality that Trump was a legitimate president, confusing their judgment about his merits with the legitimacy of the process that brought him to power.”
  • Overseas, an impeached president is a weakened president, and congressional action comes at a critical time for the Pentagon, where six senior officials have resigned in the past month.

TURKEY is looking for a UN endorsement of its glossy, $26 billion plan to move 1 million Syrian refugees into areas it has taken in northeast Syria, in what amounts to ethnic cleansing.

  • The Trump administration does not consider the mass killings of Armenian, Greek, and Syriac Christians in 1915 genocide.
  • The international community considers Hamas “not a terrorist organization but as a political reality,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after a report this week that Turkey has allowed senior Hamas operatives to plot attacks against Israel from Istanbul.

SYRIA: ISIS kidnapped Elias Antar’s people, killed his friends, and torched his village, but he returned to replant his orchard. Antar is one of 800 residents in Assyrian Christian villages that before 2015 held 20,000 people and now risk a takeover by Turkey. “I am challenging all those who run away by growing things,” Antar said.

WEST BANK AND GAZA: Christians living in Palestinian territories say religious freedom is an elusive concept, with Muslim-background believers forced to hide their faith and the city of Gaza “no longer … a place for the Christians.”

ARCTIC: The Earth’s north magnetic pole is moving at an unprecedented clip, about 30 miles a year.

NOTE: Globe Trot will break for the holidays, returning Jan. 2, 2020. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.

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  • not silent
    Posted: Fri, 12/20/2019 10:37 am

    I suppose we should not be too surprised that the Communist Party is saying that their "re education" program causes workers to be "born again," but it's still frightening.  It's a reminder that we are in a spiritual battle and must be diligent in prayer for the Uighurs and all persecuted people-for justice and that they could be truly born again in Christ.