Most of us have heard by now that one of the big reasons we are paying more at the gas pump is China. China's economy is booming and so it's energy needs are booming, as well. The world's demand for oil is not meeting it's ability to supply. China's growth in the past decade is truly incredible. Consider: China has four times more people than America; since 1978 China's economy has grown over 9% annually (in 1978 China made 200 air conditioners - in 2005 it made 48 million!); Pudong, China's main financial district is about the size of Chicago; Chongqing is the world's fastest growing city adding 300,000 people a year (the 20 fastest growing cities in the world are in China); to prepare for the Olympics Beijing has built six new subway lines, a 43 KM light rail system, and a new airport terminal that is now the world's largest; China is the largest producer of coal, steel and cement in the world; it is the largest cell phone market in the world; it has more square feet of space under construction than anywhere else in the world (5x more than the US); it's exports to the US have grown 1,600% over the past 15 years; it manufactures 2/3 of the world's photocopiers, microwaves, dvd players and shoes (Walmart alone imports 18 billion dollars worth of goods from China every year); by2010 Starbucks will have more cafes in China than the US. Today, Fareed Zakaria says, "China is the world's largest country, fastest growing major economy, largest manufacturer, second largest consumer, largest saver, and second largest military spender." (The Post-American World, p.92)
If all eyes are not on China yet, they will be in August when China hosts the Summer Olympic Games. Some American Olympians have thought about boycotting the Olympics this summer due to China's awful human rights record. For all its emphasis on public relations for the upcoming Olympic Games, China is still one of the world's greatest human rights violators. Christians, especially, are targets. China's state government controls what happens in China. If it says you may only have one child, you only have one child or face the consequences. If it tells you to move because a major employer wants to build on the property you and all your neighbors live on, you move or face the consequences. If it tells you to register your house church with the state controlled church, you register or face the consequences. Many non-registered Christians and house churches have been persecuted. Pastors are arrested and sent off to hard labor for "re-education".
That's why a prominent house church leader has asked Christians in the US and throughout the free world to remember to pray for China during the Olympics. China Aid has a helpful website to keep up with what is happening as far as persecution of Christians goes (http://www.chinaaid.org/). They are offering bracelets to be worn during the Olympics as a reminder to pray. These bracelets are being offered in China, as well, so our brothers and sisters in Christ can pray for us, too. You can order then on the China Aid website. I ordered mine today.