What Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo Teaches Us About the Chinese Christian Boom

Pro-democracy activists mourn the death of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, outside China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, China.
Pro-democracy activists mourn the death of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, outside China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, China. (REUTERS/Bobby Yip)

I was in Beijing at the time of Tiananmen Square in May 1989. I visited the Square, and the atmosphere was very tense. Many were killed when the Chinese Army took out their fellow citizens. Soldiers rose from underground, and the Square was ruthlessly cleared.

China changed that night and rapidly adopted the capitalist mode of life, leaving the communist way behind, largely due to the blood of those who sought change. The communist way of doing things remains, and freedom as we know it has not been wholly embraced. Rebellion is always quickly and ruthlessly kept down.

The 336 million people on the eastern coast have prospered beyond our imagination, while the 1.1 billion inside China look upon jobs in the east with great envy and enthusiasm. The capitalist wish list is the fuel of the domestic economy.

The change from Mao to more in less than 40 years is meteoric, and the nation is still a commercial baby, handling a future with the 21st-century technologies, buoyed by a population of 1/5 of the world's.

Today, Liu Xiaobo, one of the 1989 Tiananmen Square activists, died of cancer at age 61. He was a rebel with a cause, which resulted in his imprisonment and the inevitable parallel ill-treatment of his captors, who sought to suppress the human spirit that so longs for freedom.

The pain was exacerbated by the love of his life, Liu Xia, often having to travel 1000 miles just to see her husband in prison. The authorities confiscated his love letters to her, but they could not take away the memories and love the two shared.

I have known China since 1980 and have built a business and a school in the country as well as undertaken various humanitarian works there. My greatest achievement was probably creating over 300 jobs for the Right to Work, as embodied in the Rights of Man.

The Chinese are good people, yet as with all nations, evil persists, and we as Christians must rise above any ill feelings. Through our witness, we must embrace these people and show them the true tenets of Christianity, great families, great opportunities and great love to our neighbors. The Chinese have great families. We all need help, guidance and life purpose, which can only come from above, as we well know.

The Chinese have always admired America and longed to mimic life in the West.

They love Hollywood and tried to buy it; they purchased the Waldorf Astoria in New York and hold great quantities of U.S. Treasury bonds. They love Britain and speak fondly of Charles Dickens, Robin Hood and William Shakespeare as though they were still alive today.

They would often ask me about the London fog and Jack the Ripper. Little did they expect the fog that often clouds Beijing these days; they have begun to see that with progress comes responsibility. There is a Chinese saying that on a hot day, you must open the windows, but then the flies come in. Change comes at a price, and freedom has never been free.

We should hope and pray that their human-rights record improves and that in governing 1.3 billion lives, their best policy must be to be fair and rule with mercy and justice. As Christianity blossoms in China, let's pray the people begin to see that the principles laid within the gospel and Jesus' words, printed in red in our Bibles, are intended to be read and followed.

China needs the USA and the West, and we need China. The sooner the playing fields of our lives level, the sooner we can enjoy the harmony to follow, and by giving, we receive. We can then benefit from our global knowledge and share more for the benefit of all. Let's pray that on this sad day, those like Liu Xiaobo will have lives lived not in vain but purpose. May they be no longer sad or suffering, and may they find the salvation Christ, who suffered for us, made in His image, makes available to all.

Martin Clarke is a charismatic Christian and London businessman. He often provides Charisma with an international perspective.

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