Chinese (non) Entertainment


The Economist magazine recently reported that “according to an order that took effect on Jan. 1st this year, China’s 34 satellite television stations must limit ‘excessive and vulgar content’”. The Economist noted that “compared with offerings in other countries, China’s television fare is already quite tame. Viewers looking for sex, nudity, gore or crude language will search in vain”. That sounds wonderfully unbelievable! But things are evidently getting tighter still: since Jan. 1st in the 7.30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Chinese “Gold Time” viewing slot there must now be two 30 min. news broadcasts and only 90 min of lighter shows. A much loved singing contest “Super Girl” has been axed. Chinese tastes are clearly being brought to heel!

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The Plight of Man

The title of this post, “The Plight of Man” seems rather old fashioned, but it conveys the sense of a desperate need in humanity, a need which has not gone away with the years. I have recently felt the weight of that need more and more, and I cannot find a better phrase.

This phrase has come afresh to me as a result of a more intensive look at the nations of the world and especially perhaps at looking at India. Operation World, the Prayer Guide to Every Nation, says quite bluntly, “India has more human need than any other nation”. It goes on to note that poverty affects hundreds of millions, a poverty that often means utter destitution; forty per cent in India live below the poverty line. Poverty abounds not only in the vast cities but throughout the whole of rural India. This is the truth behind a nation which now boasts a middle class of 350 million and the fourth largest number of billionaires. These merely stand astride a mountain of people in poverty and do not hide the plight of most.

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The Power and Hope of the Gospel

I mentioned a fortnight ago that my local church is engaged in a month of prayer over January. My own involvement has been in leading prayer for the world. The research and reading behind that world prayer (much of it from “Operation World”) has given me a fresh sense of spiritual hope as we walk into a very uncertain year ahead. Two of the areas of the world we have majored on in prayer have been China and Africa (China having the larger population!). When we look back over the last century we find that, from the point of view of the gospel and the growth of the church, both these areas show something quite staggering, something that releases a deep joy.

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