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The WEST's war of words against CHINA. Starting with the Uyghurs.


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21 hours ago, Arauna said:

They are not called military bases - that is why you will not read about them.

But I do read about them. Plenty. More than enough to debunk the idea that propagandists promote. A lot of this is emphasized in the US press to distract from the fact that the US spends more on military than the next 10 largest nations combined. And much of what China calls military is used for internal infrastructure. Based on population you would expect China to have at least 5 times the US expenditure, but it's only 1/3 the US. 

21 hours ago, Arauna said:

This is NOT an isolated incident....

There have been several racial attacks on Chinese by Africans in a few countries, mostly based on disagreements by citizens of those countries with the deals made by their leaders, which is then taken out on the Chinese persons there. There are about 10,000 Chinese persons working in Zimbabwe for example. There have been cases of abuse of Africans by Chinese, too. I don't doubt it a bit. But the difference between the numbers of incidents and the scale of incidents has given the Chinese such a better reputation that the West is clearly afraid they will lose their ability to make rapacious deals when the West laments that the Chinese have been doing a better job. 

Similar to the incident you linked to (CNN) where the workers wanted US dollars, the NYT reports that there have been several strikes (riots?) also where workers wanted to be paid in US dollars, due to skyrocketing inflation. This case has nothing to do with China, but NYT reports that Zimbabwe sent its army against its own people and, although it doesn't say who or how, 6 strikers, I assume, were killed, with another 17 fatally shot in 2019 related to another strike. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/06/world/africa/zimbabwe-strike-protest-wages.html

  • Zimbabwe’s Civil Servants in Unprecedented Strike for Better Wages

  • HARARE, Zimbabwe — Civil servants stung by Zimbabwe’s galloping inflation staged a one-day strike on Wednesday in a demand for increased wages, saying that their earnings were disappearing under skyrocketing prices. . . . Zimbabwean doctors, many of whom have been on strike for about two months, are demanding that their wages not only be increased, but that they be paid in American dollars as a hedge against inflation. . . .

    Since coming to power, President Emerson Mnangagwa’s government has resorted to force to quell dissent.

    In August 2018, after demonstrators in Zimbabwe’s capital called the country’s peaceful elections a sham and demanded the immediate release of the results in the July presidential poll, Mr. Mnangagwa’s government unleashed the army on protesters.

    At least six people were killed in the clashes.

    In January this year, Mr. Mnangagwa’s government again deployed the military when antigovernment protests broke out against a rise in fuel prices, leaving 17 people fatally shot in Harare and nearby towns.

21 hours ago, Arauna said:

Last year, Chinese firm Tsignchan signed a $2 billion deal with the Zimbabwean Ministry of Mines to extract chrome, iron ore, nickel and coal, vital resources for China.   Copper in Zaire etc.  

Are you saying this is a bad thing? Perhaps it is, but are you just as willing to say it is a bad thing when Western nations are also making such deals, and have been for years, and currently have more such deals than China?

21 hours ago, Arauna said:

'China’s biggest cobalt producer is to stop buying from individuals in the Democratic Republic of Congo, bowing to pressure from customers and rights groups concerned about child labour in the country’s informal mining sector. '

Here, too, are you saying that it is a bad thing that China stopped buying from Congolese who use child labor? If you are pointing out that they only stopped buying after pressure, then why did you report this as if it was China's problem? The story comes through the UK based Financial Times where it was also reported:https://www.ft.com/content/ce9af944-fb70-4576-88d0-dc76821facfd https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/latest-news/chinas-biggest-cobalt-producer-agrees-to-stop-buying-from-individuals-in-drc-due-to-concerns-over-child-labour/

  • It was named alongside technology companies including Apple, Dell and Microsoft in a US class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of families of children killed or injured while mining cobalt in the central African nation, said the Financial Times.
  • Huayou has said it has cut child labour out of its supply chain and is working to help formalise small-scale mining in the DRC through efforts to improve safety and better trace cobalt…

If China was the first to properly respond to this pressure, then why is this not a story about how and when (and if) US-based compainies like Apple, Dell, and Microsoft responded?

Strangely, the FT article, includes a hint that China hopes that this is a temporary situation, and that the American companies will come together to help enforce standards that resolve the issue. Then there is a quote from Amnesty International that still finds fault with the Chinese decision, saying that if China refuses to buy that it will just make the economic situation worse for the Congolese, not better:

  • https://www.ft.com/content/ce9af944-fb70-4576-88d0-dc76821facfd
  • However, Mark Dummett, head of business, security and human rights at Amnesty, warned of unintended consequences from the company’s decision to stop buying from individual miners. “Artisanal mining is a lifeline for millions of impoverished people in the DRC,” he said. “We need to see companies working with the authorities to formalise it — make it safer, remove children, provide miners with a fair price. By refusing to buy from artisanal miners, Huayou risks making the situation for these miners worse, not better.”
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Whatever perception that is will be solved when they learn to mind their own business, as we are all advised to do. Just how do they do that? Are we to believe that the Wt expects people to eat Bible sandwiches 24/7? I think not. It is indulging an interest that is going on here, that is all, same as if brothers were working on a souped-up stock car, and trading shop-talk back and forth. There are 8.6 million Witnesses in the world. Whatever two or three of them may being doing does

By now, most people have heard about the "Weeger" issues in China. There are supposedly concentration camps, torture camps, medical experiments, thousands imprisoned, etc. When someone changed thousands to "for all we know, there might even be millions" the new number changed to "millions" without Western media even batting an eyelash.  So here's an opinion about it, which focuses on Xinjiang Province (also known as the “Uyghur Autonomous Region”)...There’s a lot of background to this, but

I haven’t tried to rank them. If I did, I don’t think you would be in first place. I do take it seriously. I just dial it back a notch or two. If it is any consolation, I dial JWI’s stuff 2 notches or 3. You don’t think I buy all his stuff, do you? It is but food for thought—sort of like that verse that says you think you know it all after hearing the first witness, and then the other fellow comes along. I don’t know why he goes on and on the way he does—to me, all one need do is see

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I have moved some of this "organ harvesting" stuff over to a new topic so that it is easier to follow. Might also get a chance there to pick up some additional subjects that came up under this current topic before it got so overloaded.

https://www.theworldnewsmedia.org/topic/88011-organ-harvesting-falun-gong-tibet-etc-the-west-vs-china/

 

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On 7/26/2020 at 6:19 PM, JW Insider said:

When someone changed thousands to "for all we know, there might even be millions" the new number changed to "millions" without Western media even batting an eyelash. 

Well there are just too many reports coming out of those who have suffered.  And new camps keep going up ...... one can look at them (and the activities) on google earth. 

Our government is also now more aware how corrupted our politicians are by the big money they made in china during the boom - so most of them are compromised... on both sides of the isle.  Millions of dollars at our universities have been coming in from Qatar and China ... compromising their departments doing research and opening up science research for theft.

Silent wars have silent weapons.

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14 hours ago, Arauna said:

Well there are just too many reports coming out of those who have suffered.  And new camps keep going up ...... one can look at them (and the activities) on google earth.

Not if the original report was made up as an assumed extrapolation from interviews with 8 or fewer interviewees living 1,000 miles from China (and from someone who claims he is doing this for God and for apocalypse), and subsequent reports keep playing off reports from the same original madman, imo, Adrian Zenz. Sure, when the idea caught on as a thing to be against, then lots of people are going to pick up on it and try to make it provable through some kind of evidence. But you'll notice that it requires a lot of loaded words to make sure that this gets picked up by other groups to make sure they are incensed enough to jump on the bandwagon. Even using the term "camps" is intentionally meant to conjure up the the phrase "concentration camps." Obviously, they are not camps, nor are they anything like camps. The article here, in the NYT, which is guilty of several mistranslations, also uses this phrase:

Tactics from Turpan City for answering questions asked by the children of concentrated education and training school students

Does anyone think the term "concentrated education" is in the original? In this sense it's about how these schools are centralized not about concentrated education.

However, what China is doing really is is in response to the stabbings and bombings and violent riots by radicalized religious extremists. It's for those people who try to rally others to join in running off to Syria, Turkey and other parts of the Middle East to join "Al-Qaeda" and "ISIS," or who distribute pro-Jihadist materials, or who give or attend rallies and speeches that incite radicalization.

People think that these facilities were hidden, and denied, then only admitted after pressure. That's completely false. There really are prisons for radicalized Muslims and China is very proud of these. They aren't hidden, but are talked about openly in the media daily.

Many Muslim countries have visited and ALL of these countries have praised China for this particular method of handling Muslim extremism. Rather than locking up everyone in a standard prison (unless they have actually killed someone) this method makes use of these less prison-like educational facilities which double as vocational schools and people can even go to them voluntarily. I don't doubt that such schools might include a fair bit of pro-government ideology, since we know that this is true of Chinese elementary schools.  

The narrative created out of Google Earth images is worthless. They find a new facility, maybe even a new prison built somewhere and immediately claim it must be proof of Uyghur "concentration camp" facilities. And of course you cannot see the claimed activities from Google Earth.

Also, so many of the supposed closer images have been debunked. Regular prisons have been shown from other places in China and called Uyghur. A barbed wire fence near Shanghai is shown and it is called Uyghur. A Nike factory in Indonesia is shown and it is called Uyghur. 

There is a very interesting review of the BBC's report on the Uyghur situation here:

https://medium.com/@sunfeiyang/breaking-down-the-bbcs-visit-to-hotan-xinjiang-e284934a7aab

The BBC apparently relies on the idea that few people with the will to debunk the BBC speak Chinese. They also evidently hope that people will just believe BBC propaganda and not think clearly about what they just saw. I'll make some points about it or quote it at more length in another post.

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As mentioned above, there is a very interesting review of the BBC's report on the Uyghur situation here:

a recent video report on Xinjiang by John Sudworth of the BBC .

The link to the original report is here:  “Inside China’s ‘thought transformation’ camps — BBC News”

The fascinating expose of the BBC propaganda in the report is here:

https://medium.com/@sunfeiyang/breaking-down-the-bbcs-visit-to-hotan-xinjiang-e284934a7aab

I'd love to quote the whole thing, and include all the pictures, but I'll quote enough so that some might have enough interest to look. The numbers are the time locations in the video. My own comments will be inside brackets [like this]:

----------------

[Commenter points out that as they get closer to the facility, the blue sky just shown from outside the facility is made darker and darker and the music turns ominous]

1:04–1:42 Sudworth can barely contain his condescension here, letting you the viewer know that the Chinese government would have you believe that these dancers shown are just students and came here willingly!

...

The camera then pans away from the ongoing dance practice to focus on a surveillance camera visible through the window. The implication is clear, though a bit rich coming from the British, who boast the world’s highest ratio of surveillance cameras to people.

...

1:42–2:42 Now here we start to get to even more egregious BBC editing — when a dancer is asked if he came to the school willingly, he replies yes, he previously had extremist views, and says that a village policeman said to him, 这么好的学校,你可以去参加,转化自己的思想 — which translates to “what a great school (that is), you can enroll there, and change your worldview/ideas”. This is glossed as “a policeman told me to get enrolled”, turning a suggestion into a directive.

[Although BBC didn't clearly point it out, the "Chinese officials" running the school are also Uyghurs.]

They then take us through a variety of classes — ending with a peek over a guy’s shoulder as he types. “I love the Communist Party of China”, Sudworth intones solemnly. There’s a lot more visible on that page, including “I love Hotan”, and the classic Chinese children’s song “I love Beijing Tiananmen”. None of these would be out of place in any school outside of Xinjiang, but Sudworth is counting on you not knowing that.

Image for post

In any case, Mandarin is an important skill to have in China, but it also should not come at the expense of Uyghur and other languages, which is why it’s good to see that both are being utilized here, with instruction in other classes still done in Uyghur.

[The commenter also points out how both Mandarin and Uyghur script are written on the wall of the school room.]

2:43–3:56 Sudworth begins this section with a monologue of how terrible the place is, with the following observations:

  1. they have to wear uniforms ([as if] adults never wear uniforms willingly)

  2. they don’t go home at night (remember this one, we’re coming back to it)

  3. they sleep in dorms and have communal toilets (with a nice shot of a squat toilet to remind everyone how uncivilized Easterners are)

Now that the BBC has you properly outraged, we have a short interview with Mahemuti, an Uyghur instructor working at the facility.

Mahemuti reiterates that people are there willingly, but Sudsworth is undeterred: “Doesn’t a place where people have to come, obey the rules, stay until you allow them to leave, sound more like a prison?” he continues.

Putting aside the fact that you have to “obey the rules” even if you’re in a McDonalds, no proof is offered that people are not there willingly — the dancer they interviewed previously said as much as well, but both are ignored because the BBC is sure they’re lying.

[Earlier when a person was asked if could come and go willingly, he apparently said "Yes. Exactly." But the segment was boggled so that they conflated it with a policeman supposedly directing him to go to this school.]

...

3:56–5:25 Here we get a series of Google Earth images purporting to show new facilities built in Xinjiang (much like the one they visited). I’ve captured one at 4:05 that has a noticeable sports field.

Image for post

At 4:40 in the video, they then claim that for the place they visited, the sports facilities were “hastily added” before their tour. But why do other places they showed earlier have sports fields too? Did BBC journalists visit all of them and that’s why they had to hastily build them?

Sudsworth also notes that barbed wire and fences make these places feel unlike schools. But high fences are normal for schools all across China, and security is tight at each of them. Maybe barbed wire isn’t very classy, but plenty of school facilities in the West have them as well. You wouldn’t be shocked to see armed police officers (we call them “student resource officers” here though) in a US school either.

[The commenter adds a picture of a barbed wire fence around a US school, and I should add that it's also found right here along the fences of the high school in New York.]

...

BBC aren’t the first people to suddenly become Google Earth experts. UBC student Shawn Zhang tried to use Google Earth to claim a historical mosque had been demolished (Keriya Aitika Mosque) using satellite images, but later had to retract his claim because he was literally staring at the wrong building on his screen.

5:25–7:50 The crux of the BBC’s argument is here, the interview with Kazakhstan resident Rakhima Senbay. She claims to have been in the camps before and it was far more brutal than what we’ve seen, beatings, etc.

...

Rakhima Senbay isn’t a famous dissident like Enver Tohti (a Google search for her turns up the same “ Rakhima Senbay, who now lives in Kazakhstan but says she spent a year in the camp — simply because she had WhatsApp on her phone” line multiple times), but she’s also the only real evidence the BBC has to support their claims.

7:52–8:39 We have some more interesting interviews here with some higher-ups, discussing the philosophy behind the facilities.

The first guy talks about the preventative nature of vocational training and education — giving people the skills to succeed instead of waiting for a crime to be committed and then applying punishment. His example of hyperbolic, but the second person makes it clear we’re talking about minor offenses.

Sudsworth claims in the monologue prior to the interviews that some people “have not been charged with a crime”, but Xu, the second interviewee, mentions that many people have committed criminal offenses, albeit minor ones — hence the focus on training and rehabilitation instead of punishment. NPR’s previous article on Xinjiang gave examples of these, such as a man who forced his wife to stay home and quit her job. It’s these types of social pressures that these programs are trying to eliminate.

This segment is spun as China doing a Minority Report-esque PRE-CRIME program — and the model here is certainly open to discussion and criticism, but on the face it seems far more reasonable than something like California’s Three Strikes law. Instead of punishment or prison, minor offenders are offered training, making reintegration easier. It’s unclear what proportion of people there as an alternative to prison or simply there just to capitalize on vocational training. This is information that I’d be very interested in, but the BBC didn’t think to ask. All in all, if this model of rehabilitation through vocational training centers was applied in the US, it’d be called left-wing extremism and being “soft” on crime.

Where I live, a man was given a 10 year prison sentence for stealing $33 worth of underwear. Imagine if instead of prison, he was given training for a few months and then reintegrated into society, instead of locked away for an entire decade.

...

When Buayxiam (another Uyghur instructor) tells him about how their goal is also to get rid of religious extremism, she’s met with a very solemn WE CALL THAT BRAINWASHING from Sudsworth.

[Commenter points out how the BBC editors cleverly manage an awkwardly angled picture of a person under a hairdryer at this point when brainwashing is mentioned, as if under a real brainwashing machine.]

What should be done then? If there are Chinese citizens who subscribe to jihadist ideologies, shouldn’t an attempt be made to change their minds? Is that brainwashing?

9:34–End

Sudworth is told by the principal that students go home once a week (hey kinda like the weekend happens “once a week”), and shows us an empty courtyard when students should be leaving.

...

Regardless, we soon get to see people leave in the video. Sudsworth tells us that they come back to the facility uninvited the next day only to be surprised that there are students lining up waiting for the bus home.

The bus soon arrives, and instead of acknowledging that they were wrong about students going home, Sudworth instead tries to call it a “testament to the scale of the operation”.

Do you ever see a school bus or a shuttle taking people to a hotel and marvel at the “scale of the operation”?

Finally, Sudsworth claims the bus “disappears into a government compound”, but it appears to just be a central location for the bus to drop people off, as everyone soon emerges. The narrator tells us that they “finally are given freedom of the night for a few hours”.

This section is what really calls into question the credibility of the entire video. Early on, they claimed *without any evidence* that no one was allowed to leave, taking great pains to highlight the cameras, the “watch towers”, the fences, etc., but when they make a surprise visit (which they couldn’t have anticipated and put on some sort of facade) they see the whole normal process unfold before their eyes — a bus comes and picks people up, drops them off at their home, and everyone gets off and goes home, presumably for the weekend.

Xinjiang is a large place and villages are very spread out. Boarding schools are simply an easier way to manage training when everyone is spread out — transportation back and forth is provided, but having people come to Hotan from remote areas is simply efficiency. Go to Sichuan, Jiangxi, anywhere else in China, and you’ll find boarding schools. The images of the dormitories we’re shown, the toilets and beds, they’re not that different from the facilities at Chinese colleges either.

Final Thoughts

While I clearly have my contentions with the narrator of this video, I’m glad that the BBC was able to visit. We saw a good faith effort to provide a variety of tangible, useful vocational skills training (Mandarin, hospitality service, art, performance, and barber training), decent facilities (pickup basketball by students), Uyghur-led instruction, and efficient transportation to get students there and back. The more I see of these facilities, the better they look. It’s easy to make assumptions about a top down Google Earth image, less so when the scariest thing the BBC could show me was a bathroom with the lights off.

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I think it's also fair to point out that most of the persons at these educational facilities appear to be male between the ages of about 18 to about 35. Just today I saw someone claim (on Instagram) that the number of Uyghurs being tortured and "slaughtered" in concentration camps is about "three million." 

Three million is higher than the entire population of Uyghur males in that age range in the entire province. Therefore these very few Google Earth facilities would actually be expected to take up about half the entire populated areas of real estate of the entire province to handle even a million. Yet this Google Earth "proof" shows very few of these relatively small facilities amidst large populated areas, and no one seems to notice the discrepancy. If the Western rumors were true, we'd see 100 times the number of these facilities, and they'd be taking up nearly entire cities.

It should also be pointed out that there are at least a million Chinese Muslims of other ethnic backgrounds in other parts of China, many of whom also travel inside and outside China.

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    • Guest Kurt
      By Guest Kurt
      The similar demolition of a Catholic church last year is prompting Christians to worry that the central government will begin ordering the mass destruction of church buildings nationwide as new religious regulations go into effect next month. These regulations grant the Chinese Communist Party increased power over religion, paving the way for escalated persecution.
      according to 
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    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      (EFE).- China inaugura hoy el mayor parque de hielo y nieve del mundo en la ciudad de Harbin, al noreste del país, con 2000 esculturas talladas en hielo y diversas atracciones interactivas de temática invernal.
      Leer más: 
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    • Guest Nicole
    • Guest
      By Guest
      China is calling in the dogs on North Korea. Kim Jong-un has 120 days to close all North Korean businesses within Chinese borders.
      That means 100,000 workers that help fund the North Korean regime to the tune of ~$230 million a year would be sent home packing.
      The U.N. turned up the heat on China to crack down on North Korea in light of its nuclear missiles program—two warning shots over Japan and a handful of threats will do that. And China might be the only one with the key to Kim’s heart: trade.
      China controls 80% of all trade (~$6.3 billion) that enters and exits North Korea. It has already cut off North Korea’s biggest exports (coal and textiles), and is capping the country’s biggest import (oil).
      If Rogen and Franco couldn’t get Kim to negotiate, maybe China can.
    • By Raquel Segovia
      BEIJING (AP) — El primer avión de pasajeros de gran tamaño fabricado en China completó el viernes su vuelo inaugural, un hito hacia el objetivo chino a largo plazo de penetrar en el mercado del transporte aéreo dominado por las potencias occidentales.
      El C919 despegó entre vítores y aplausos de cientos de invitados en el Aeropuerto Internacional Pudong de Shanghai y fue transmitido en directo por la televisión estatal. El avión desapareció rápidamente en una jornada de viento y contaminación agravada por la proximidad de tormentas de arena desde el norte.
      Tras el vuelo de 90 minutos, los pilotos de prueba bajaron sonrientes en sus uniformes naranja decorados con la bandera china.
      La agencia noticiosa oficial Xinhua dijo que China ha pasado a ser “uno de los principales fabricantes de aviones jumbo del mundo”, el cuarto después de Estados Unidos, Europa y Rusia.
      China presenta el C919 como competido del Airbus A320 y el Boeing 737. El vuelo inaugural estaba previsto para 2014 y la entrega a los compradores para 2016, pero sufrió demoras atribuidas a problemas de fabricación. Difícilmente podrá transportar pasajeros antes de 2019.
      El analista de aviación Mohshin Aziz, de Maybank Kim Eng Securities, dijo que pasarán entre siete y nueve años antes de que se sepa si podría afectar el duopolio de Airbus y Boeing.
      “Este es apenas el vuelo de ensayo”, dijo. “Con el tiempo necesitará algunos clientes fieles, que los tendrá porque hay aerolíneas de propiedad estatal que estarán obligadas a usarlo”.
      Otros clientes potenciales esperarán a conocer la experiencia de los primeros, dijo Mohshin. “Uno no va a gastar mucho dinero en algo que no conocer”.
      El fabricante del C919, la empresa estatal Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., conocida como Comac, pedirá las certificaciones de la autoridad de la aviación civil china y de reguladores extranjeros antes de efectuar entregas.
      Bao Pengli, subdirector del departamento de desarrollo de proyectos de Comac, dijo el jueves que se planea fabricar dos aviones por año hasta 2019 para tener pruebas de vuelo seguro antes de iniciar la producción en serie.
      Veintitrés clientes internos y extranjeros han solicitado pedidos para un total de 570 aeronaves. Entre las extranjeras están GE Capital Aviation Services y la tailandesa City Airways.
      Se puede configurar el avión para entre 155 y 175 asientos y su autonomía estándar es de 4.075 kilómetros.
    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      A firefighter risked his life to remove a burning gas container from a restaurant in southwest China’s Tongren City. The accident happened at a hot spot restaurant table, which suddenly caught fire. Firefighters quickly removed the burning gas container to the open air and kept cooling it with a fire hose. They then moved the container to a river nearby to cool it and kept watching until the gas in it was burnt out.


      World News
    • By admin
      The new carrier is slightly larger than the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier, constructed by the Soviet Union as a Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier.
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Sacconaghi: Bullish on Tesla long-term  Thursday, 9 Mar 2017 | 12:20 PM ET | 05:46
      Elon Musk's Tesla is a growing player in China, where the global fight to develop electric, self-driving cars is raging hot.
      Hong-Kong traded Tencent, a company best known for its WeChat messaging app, disclosed in a Tuesday filing that it's taken a 5 percent stake in Tesla for $1.78 billion. The investment follows Tencent's new stake in taxi-hailing app Didi Chuxing, which can be accessed through WeChat.
      "I think Tencent likely wanted exposure to a company that was growing very quickly in electric and autonomous" vehicles, said Tasha Keeney, an analyst on the ARK Industrial Innovation ETF (ARKQ), whose top holding is Tesla.
      "We think the autonomous mobility as a service market could be $10 trillion in gross sales globally by the early 2030s, and companies like Tesla or Baidu could take a cut of that," she said.
      Tesla declined to comment to CNBC. Tencent did not respond to emailed requests for comment.
      A Tencent spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that "Tesla is a global pioneer at the forefront of new technologies. Tencent's success is partly due to our record of backing entrepreneurs with capital; Elon Musk is the archetype for entrepreneurship, combining vision, ambition, and execution."
      Tesla has 24 stores in mainland China, 114 supercharging stations and 348 regular charging stations, according to the automaker's website.
      Last year, China imported 11,839 Tesla vehicles, nearly five times the prior year, according to China market research firm JL Warren Capital. The firm's analysis also showed that China's market share in global shipments jumped from 5 percent to 16 percent last year.
      "In general, Tesla's done very well in China," said Brendan Ahern, chief investment officer at KraneShares. Tencent is one of the top holdings in KraneShares' exchange-traded fund KWEB.
      "There's a lot of effort in electric cars in China to help address the pollution issue," he said.
      Another Chinese tech giant, Baidu, has its own autonomous driving project, while Chinese automakers have joined the Western giants in the race to develop a viable electric car. The investment money has flowed the other way as well: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is a top shareholder in Chinese automaker BYD.
      "If it weren't for Tesla, I don't think the state of the electric car market would be anywhere close to where it is," said Kevin Carter, founder of The Emerging Markets Internet & Ecommerce ETF (EMQQ).
      "Everyone is working on the electric car now, and almost everyone's working on the self-driving car, but the actual hardware of it [is made primarily by] BYD, Tesla," he said. "Who knows how this plays out? There's lots of things getting stirred together in this pot, lots of players, lots of money."

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    • By TrueTomHarley
      "In 1987, I came to the United States to pursue doctorate studies at Texas A&M University. I was aware that in America, many people believe in God and read the Bible. Also, I had heard that the Bible contains a lot of practical wisdom, so I thought I should read it."
      It was no more complicated than that. Later, a Witness visited Dr. Fan Yu. and offered a Bible Study, which he and later his wife accepted. He tells his story in the Awake magazine, #3, 2017.
      He was a mathematician. When he reexamined evolution, which he had absorbed because from an early age people told him to absorb it, he dismissed it on the basis of probability alone. That's what you do. You find some essential component of evolution, the odds of which could happen accidentally are greater than the number of atoms of the universe, and proceed from there.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      There's fresh impetus to explore Namibia's startling landscapes this year CREDIT:FOTOLIA
      6 JANUARY 2017 • 12:31PM
      If your ambition this year is to try new things and explore new places, you're in luck. From Nicaragua to Tajikistan, a number of hitherto "undiscovered" destinations are increasingly catering to discerning holidaymakers, with a host of new resorts opening and experiences launching over the year to come. Read below for more on the most exciting outdoor adventures to be enjoyed around the world in 2017, or for something more sedate see our guides to 2017's best wellness and fitness breaks; 2017's best luxury beach holidays; the year's best yachting and sailing holidays; and the best cities to visit over the next 12 months. 
      The Desert Circuit: Namibia Exclusive Lodges 
      The four new luxury lodges on the Namibia Exclusive circuit are located in some of the most remote and beautiful northern parts of the country, each designed by architect Greg Scott and built of local materials that reflect the region’s landscapes and cultural traditions.
      Sorris Sorris Lodge in Damaraland  has been built into huge granite boulders scattered across the desert landscape, its modern African rammed-earth structures and pool offering views over the Ugab River and the mountains of the Brandberg Massif.

      Sorris Sorris Lodge
      Omatandeka Lodge is surrounded by vast plains inhabited by the Himba people, table-top mountains and a vital wildlife corridor used by mountain zebra, oryx and endangered black rhino, while Sheya Shuushona Lodge, on the northern boundary of Etosha National Park, is surrounded by photogenic salt pans that change colour with the seasons and turn into a lake in the rainy season.
      Finally, Xaudum Lodge, the most recent addition, is surrounded by the sand dunes of the Kalahari, home to some 3,000 elephants. All four lodges are located in areas with indigenous communities and contribute funds so these people can continue to live in traditional ways on their ancestors’ land.

      The Explorations Company offers a nine-night safari, staying at three Namibia Exclusive lodges, from £8,985  per person including flights, air transfers, full board and guiding.
      The Italian Castle: Castello di Ugento, Puglia
      There are few buildings in Europe in which guests can stay above a Norman keep, dine beneath 17th-century Baroque frescoes and wander around a garden in which Bronze Age artefacts have been found. In April, on the southern heel of Italy, the (rather wonderfully named) d’Amore family will open their restored thousand-year-old Castello di Ugento to paying guests for the first time (doubles from £260).
      Visitors can relax within walled gardens, in which more than 100 medicinal and aromatic plants are grown for the kitchen and spa; admire the frescoes painted in 1694 to portray the noble family’s history; sample local wines in an ancient cistern-turned-cellar; and take cookery lessons in a wing turned by the Culinary Institute of America  into its first European school.
      A maximum of 18 guests will sleep in stone-walled rooms with high, star-vaulted ceilings and views over Ugento’s rooftops,  and they will feast on Puglian favourites cooked by Milanese chef Odette Fada, whose refined cuisine at the renowned Rex Il Ristorante in Los Angeles and San Domenico NY  made her name as one of America’s finest Italian chefs. The nearest beaches are two miles away and Baroque towns such as  Lecce are a short drive from the castle. 
      The Urban Forest: Aman Shanghai
      Aman’s latest property in China (its fourth) must be one of its most anticipated to date. The Shanghai retreat (rates not yet available) is a picture of leafy tranquility – and full of surprises. If  a visitor were to drop into the 100-acre property, planted with thousand-year-old camphor trees and interspersed with historic Ming- and Qing-dynasty houses, they’d never believe that they were within easy reach of buzzy downtown Shanghai. Neither the forest nor village are native to this area; both were moved here over the past 10 years from Jiangxi, some 500 miles southwest, by Ma Dadong, a pioneering businessman, when the building of a reservoir threatened their survival.

      Aman Shanghai
      Now that the painstaking replanting (which took three years) and the building of the hotel are complete, the 37 villas in the new sanctuary are being decorated with original beams, floors, sculptures and carvings from the uplifted village homes. Kerry Hill, the project’s architect, has taken care to reflect traditional Chinese culture while blending in contemporary comforts and natural tones of earth, moss and creamy whites. Guests can take day trips to Shanghai, walk in the forest, sample Eastern cuisine, or relax in the spa, beside the two pools or in the Nan Shu Fang contemplation garden. 
      The South American Sleeper: The Belmond Andean Explorer, Peru
      For the first time in May 2017, travellers will be able not only to traverse the Andes in one of the most luxurious trains on earth, but to sleep overnight on one. The Belmond Andean Explorer has been built to carry up to 68 passengers in en-suite cabins decorated by the South African designer Inge Moore in contemporary light woods and comforting alpaca-wool colours.
      Each of the train’s cars is fitted with expansive windows to frame views of the Andean plains, mountains and grand architecture, including the Unesco World Heritage Site of Arequipa. Although another two trains already operate in this area – Belmond’s Hiram Bingham, which offers day trips to Machu Picchu, and the more traditional Inca Princess  – this is the first modern luxury train to offer trips from Cusco to Lake Titicaca and Arequipa, on one- and two-night journeys. Chefs from the Hotel Monasterio in Cusco will serve modern Peruvian cuisine in two dining cars; guests can also enjoy spacious lounge and observation cars, and an open deck.  Doubles from £738 , all-inclusive, for one night. 
      The Gorilla Camp: Bisate Lodge, Rwanda
      One of the key trends in Africa in 2017 is the growth of camps that offer both sustainable luxury and adventure. Hence Wilderness Safaris’ decision to open Bisate Lodge in June as a luxury base for tracking the 10 habituated gorilla groups  in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park (doubles from £1,762 full board, excluding gorilla permits).
      The lodge, raised high above the forest floor in the amphitheatre of an eroded volcanic cone, has been designed by architect Nick Plewman to echo the spherical, thatched structures that dot the hills, as well as the layout of traditional Rwandan palaces. The interiors by Caline Williams-Wynn have been inspired by the rich detail of Rwandan textiles, many of which are made using a technique called imigongo, an ancient art form incorporating geometric shapes.
      When the first guests arrive, they will be able not only to track gorillas, but to  hike to Dian Fossey’s grave and her former research station at Karisoke, to trek to the top of a nearby volcano, and then to relax in the extensively reforested gardens.
      The Jungle Retreat: Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat, Nicaragua
      Nicaragua’s first luxe mountain resort sits in the lush landscape of Nandaime, just 40 minutes’ drive from the pretty colonial city of Granada. Nekupe – or heaven, in the indigenous Chorotega  language – was designed with the help of a feng shui architect to have the highest energy flow and least environmental impact possible, and the four freestanding villas and four expansive suites, with king-sized beds, made-for-sharing bathtubs and alfresco showers, are decorated in earth tones and warm woods that echo the serene setting (doubles from £720, full board). Floor-to-ceiling windows frame views over Mombacho  volcano’s perfect cone, and wraparound terraces  are perfect for sipping daiquiris, before farm-to-table feasts of nuevo-Nicaraguan cuisine.

      Nekupe will provide access to Nicaragua's underexplored nature reserves
      The surrounding nature reserve,  which echoes with the sounds of primates and toucans, can be explored on ATVs, as well as on paths created for hikers, bikers and horseback riders, or on zip wires, which soar above the forest canopy. For those not expending energy on target-shooting, tennis and yoga, there is an infinity pool and a spa.
      The Cook Ski Spot: Lech, Austria
      Size matters to ski resorts, so the hotly anticipated coronation of Ski Arlberg as Austria’s largest contiguous ski area is big news indeed. Encompassing eight villages, including big hitters St Anton, Lechand Zürs, Ski Arlberg is already one of the best-known ski areas in the Alps. But now its four new lifts are open, linking the entire area to deliver 109 miles  of pistes (three more than Val d’Isère), Ski Arlberg will join the ranks of the world’s über resorts.

      New developments have given Lech a leg up
      The four connected lifts, known as the Flexenbahn, will place Lech at the epicentre of the ski area (stealing some thunder from St Anton). While expanding its lifts, Lech has also been consolidating its position as Austria’s leading town for luxury ski chalets. In December – hot on the heels of properties like the Aurelio Clubhouse, Chalet N, Chalet 1597 and Überhaus, which have raised the luxury bar in recent years – Severin’s Alpine Retreat will open its doors. The nine-suite hotel will be fitted with only the best: Minotti furnishings, a spa with an indoor infinity pool and hypoxic chamber for altitude training, and a ski room with bespoke Indigo kit.
      Guests can take over the chalet, for free rein over the suites, restaurant, capacious spa and fire-lit lounges, or plump for The Residence: a sleek four-bedroom private apartment spanning two floors  with a professional kitchen, cinema, bar and outdoor hot tub. The Oxford Ski Company offers a week for two people at Severin’s Alpine Retreat from £6,440, including transfers and flights.
      The Rugged Destination: Pamir Mountains, Tajikistan
      Tajikistan was the second-fastest growing tourist destination in the world in 2015, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). Which is why in 2017 Edge Expeditions will be running a two-week Luxury Tajikistan tour of the country’s spectacular Pamir Mountains: one the most diverse, wild, exhilarating and least-explored corners of the planet.
      With a team of expert guides, a maximum of eight guests will traverse the raw wilderness by either four-wheel-drive vehicles, with a driver, or motorbikes. Journeying along the legendary Pamir Highway, travellers will spend days exploring azure mountain lakes, hidden valleys, ancient ruins and high mountain passes that very few outsiders ever get to see.
      The trip starts off at a five-star hotel in the capital, Dushanbe, while on the road the ground crew will prepare yurt camps with hot showers, comfortable beds, Egyptian cotton sheets and gourmet meals prepared by the expedition’s private chef. Along the way, both British and Tajik guides will interpret the layered history of the region, while astronomers with telescopes will also be on hand to explore some of the least light-polluted night skies in the world. 
      Edge Expeditions is offering a 14-day Luxury Tajikistan journey by four-wheel-drive or motorcycle, from £9,495 full board, starting and ending at Dushanbe, including transfers, motorcycle rental or vehicle (with driver), back-up vehicles, guides and medic, but excluding international flights.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/travel/2017-years-best-luxury-outdoor-adventure-holidays-namibia-nicaragua/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Chinese Communist Party prepares offensive against Christianity
       

    • By The Librarian
      China's governing Communist Party is set to launch a nationwide crackdown on the Christian Church.
      By Matthew Carney - ABC
      The Communist Party has just enacted much tougher laws that criminalise Christians if they do not pledge loyalty to the state.
      Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned that all religions now have to become "Chinese" and the new laws will attempt to bring churchgoers and their leaders under party control.
      The new laws will put the state firmly in charge, giving the Communist Party the ability to hire and fire church leaders and change religious doctrine to make it more Chinese...
      That means churchgoers will have to pledge loyalty to the Communist Party first.
      There is good reason to be afraid. Chinese Authorities have already started the crackdown in the Christian heartland in the southern province of Zhejiang.
      It's been extensive and brutal. In the past two years they have torn down nearly 2000 crosses and in some cases demolished churches.
      Church leaders and their followers have been arrested and imprisoned.
      There's also good reason to why the Communist Party is threatened by the Church.
      Some say there are 100 million Christians in China — that's more than Communist Party members.
      The Chinese Government admits there are about 25 million Christians registered at state-run churches where pastors are appointed by the state and theology approved by the governments Religious Affairs Bureau.
      ABC 
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    • Not the usual Hebrew word for "law" but a late word borrowed from Persian, which is why they say it only shows up in Daniel and Esther (meaning law or custom). It did not come to mean ceremony/ritual until even later. In MODERN Hebrew, not Biblical Hebrew, is it also used to describe someone who is religious. From what I can tell, this is not the same word "dat" which is related to data/datum. That word "dat" is from the word "give" implying "thing" as it to "give a thing" or "any gi
    • Well the GB and Elders act as judges that's for sure, but they will suffer for it later.   
    • Interesting. In both Arabic and Hebrew the words for religion are “din” and “dat”, which both mean “law”. Religious leaders are basically judges. By the way, the word “dat” is the origin of the word “data”.
    • Any collective belief in some approach as "the way" to solve problems is, literally, a bringing together of individuals (re = again, ligio = bond, reverence, and religare = to bind).
    • Bitcoin adoption took another boost in South America yesterday after the Argentinian central bank announced measures to tighten controls on the movement of foreign currency. The announcement came shortly after the Argentine peso plunged over 10%, setting the long-suffering Argentinian people back further. Only 20 years ago, the Argentine peso was 1:1 with the USD, but corruption and mismanagement has seen its economy collapse and the national currency is now artificially pegged at 72:1
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    • Eric Ouellet

      Qu’est-ce que le Jour du Jugement ?

      La Bible dit que Dieu “ a fixé un jour où il va juger la terre habitée ”. (Actes 17:31.) Pour beaucoup, l’idée d’être soumis à un jugement, quel qu’il soit, est désagréable. Voyez-vous les choses ainsi ?
      SI C’EST le cas, rassurez-vous : le Jour du Jugement est une disposition pleine d’amour qui apportera de grands bienfaits à la famille humaine, y compris aux morts (Matthieu 20:28 ; Jean 3:16). Mais pourquoi est-il nécessaire ? Et que se passera-t-il réellement pendant ce “ jour ” ?
      Pourquoi le Jour du Jugement est nécessaire
      Lorsque Dieu a placé les humains sur la terre, il ne la destinait pas à n’être qu’un lieu d’épreuve en vue d’une existence dans un autre monde. Il a créé les humains pour qu’ils y vivent éternellement. Bien que parfaits physiquement et mentalement, Adam et Ève, le premier couple, se sont rebellés contre Dieu. Ils ont alors perdu la perspective de la vie éternelle pour eux-mêmes, et ont transmis le péché et la mort à tous leurs descendants. — Genèse 2:15-17 ; Romains 5:12.
      Le Jour du Jugement sera une période de mille ans durant laquelle les hommes auront la possibilité de retrouver ce qu’Adam et Ève ont perdu*. Remarquez que, selon Actes 17:31, cité plus haut, ce “ jour ” concerne les personnes qui vivent sur “ la terre habitée ”. Celles qui recevront un jugement favorable vivront sur la terre, éternellement et dans des conditions parfaites (Révélation 21:3, 4). Le Jour du Jugement contribue donc à l’accomplissement du dessein originel de Dieu pour l’homme et pour la planète.
      Le Juge que Dieu a établi est Christ Jésus. La Bible révèle qu’il va “ juger les vivants et les morts ”. (2 Timothée 4:1.) Qui sont “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés ? Comment les morts vont-ils revenir à la vie sur “ la terre habitée ” ?
      Jésus juge “ les vivants ”
      Nous sommes maintenant proches de la fin annoncée du présent système de choses, où Dieu va détruire tous les éléments de la société humaine corrompue et supprimer les méchants. Les personnes qui réchapperont seront “ les vivants ” qui seront jugés. — Révélation 7:9-14 ; 19:11-16.
      Durant la période de jugement qui durera mille ans, Christ Jésus ainsi que 144 000 hommes et femmes ressuscités pour vivre dans les cieux dirigeront la terre. Exerçant les fonctions de rois et de prêtres, ils dispenseront les bienfaits du sacrifice rédempteur de Jésus et amèneront progressivement les humains fidèles à la perfection physique et mentale. — Révélation 5:10 ; 14:1-4 ; 20:4-6.
      Pendant le Jour du Jugement, Satan et ses démons ne seront plus libres d’influencer l’activité humaine (Révélation 20:1-3). Toutefois, à la fin de ce “ jour ”, Satan sera autorisé à éprouver la fidélité de tous les humains alors en vie. Ceux qui resteront fidèles à Dieu passeront avec succès l’épreuve à laquelle Adam et Ève ont échoué. Ils seront jugés dignes de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre redevenue un paradis. Ceux qui décideront de se rebeller contre Dieu seront détruits pour toujours, de même que Satan et ses démons. — Révélation 20:7-9.
      Le jugement des “ morts ”
      On lit dans la Bible qu’au Jour du Jugement les morts “ se lèveront ”. (Matthieu 12:41.) Jésus a dit : “ L’heure vient où tous ceux qui sont dans les tombes de souvenir entendront sa voix et sortiront, ceux qui ont fait des choses bonnes, pour une résurrection de vie, ceux qui ont pratiqué des choses viles, pour une résurrection de jugement. ” (Jean 5:28, 29). Il n’est pas question ici des âmes désincarnées des défunts. Ces derniers sont totalement inconscients et n’ont pas d’âme qui survive à la mort (Ecclésiaste 9:5 ; Jean 11:11-14, 23, 24). Jésus relèvera sur la terre tous ceux qui se sont endormis dans la mort.
      Seront-ils jugés sur la base de ce qu’ils ont fait avant leur mort ? Non. Les Écritures enseignent que “ celui qui est mort a été acquitté de son péché ”. (Romains 6:7.) Ainsi, tout comme les survivants de la fin du système actuel, les ressuscités pour la vie sur la terre seront jugés “ selon leurs actions ” au cours du Jour du Jugement (Révélation 20:12, 13). En fonction de l’issue de leurs actions, leur résurrection se révélera aboutir soit à l’éternité, soit à la destruction. Nombre de ces ressuscités découvriront Jéhovah Dieu et ses exigences pour obtenir la vie. Ils auront la possibilité de se conformer à la volonté de Dieu et de recevoir la vie éternelle sur la terre.
      Aucune raison d’avoir peur
      Le Jour du Jugement ne sera pas seulement un temps d’instruction divine, mais aussi un temps où tous les vivants appliqueront ce qu’ils apprendront et en verront les bienfaits. Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus et progresserez à leurs côtés vers la perfection !
      Imaginez la joie que vous ressentirez quand vous retrouverez vos chers disparus.
      Au terme du Jour du Jugement, Dieu permettra à Satan d’éprouver la fidélité des êtres humains. Il n’y a cependant pas lieu d’être inquiet ou d’avoir peur. Tous seront alors solidement armés pour faire face à cette dernière épreuve. Ainsi, le Jour du Jugement est une étape dans l’accomplissement du dessein divin qui effacera toutes les conséquences de la rébellion originelle contre Dieu dans le jardin d’Éden.

      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Chantons avec coeur et allégresse 
      Psaumes
      146 Louez Jah!
      Que tout mon être loue Jéhovah !
       2 Je veux louer Jéhovah toute ma vie.
      Je veux chanter des louanges à mon Dieu aussi longtemps que je vivrai.
       3 Ne mettez pas votre confiance dans les princes,
      ni dans un fils d’homme, qui est incapable de sauver.
       4 L’esprit de l’homme sort, l’homme retourne au sol ;
      ce jour-là, ses pensées périssent.
       5 Heureux celui qui a pour secours le Dieu de Jacob
      et dont l’espoir est en Jéhovah son Dieu,
       6 Celui qui a fait le ciel et la terre,
      la mer, et tout ce qui s’y trouve,
      celui qui reste fidèle pour toujours,
       7 celui qui garantit la justice aux spoliés,
      celui qui donne du pain aux affamés.
      Jéhovah libère les prisonniers ;
       8 Jéhovah ouvre les yeux des aveugles ;
      Jéhovah relève ceux qui sont courbés ;
      Jéhovah aime les justes.
       9 Jéhovah protège les résidents étrangers ;
      il soutient l’orphelin de père et la veuve,
      mais il contrecarre les projets des méchants
      10 Jéhovah sera Roi pour toujours,
      ton Dieu, ô Sion, de génération en génération.
      Louez Jah !

      · 0 replies
    • REDROCHA  »  T.B. (Twyla)

      Thank you Sister !!!!
      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      LES QUALITÉS D'UN BERGER ET LES ASSISTANTS DE L'ASSEMBLÉE 

      PREMIÈRE LETTRE DE TIMOTHÉE

      3 La parole suivante est digne de foi : Si un homme aspire à être un responsable, il désire une belle œuvre. 2 Il faut donc qu’un responsable soit irréprochable, mari d’une seule femme, modéré dans ses habitudes, réfléchi, ordonné, hospitalier, capable d’enseigner, 3 que ce ne soit pas un ivrogne ni un homme violent, mais un homme raisonnable, non querelleur, non ami de l’argent, 4 un homme qui dirige d’une belle façon sa propre famille, qui tienne ses enfants dans la soumission en toute dignité 5 (car si un homme ne sait pas diriger sa propre famille, comment prendra-t-il soin de l’assemblée de Dieu ?), 6 que ce ne soit pas un homme récemment converti, de peur qu’il se gonfle d’orgueil et tombe sous le coup de la condamnation portée contre le Diable. 7 D’autre part, il faut aussi qu’il reçoive un beau témoignage des gens extérieurs à l’assemblée, afin de ne pas tomber dans le déshonneur et dans un piège du Diable.
      8 De même, il faut que les assistants soient des hommes dignes, qu’ils n’aient pas un langage double, qu’ils soient modérés dans la consommation de vin, non avides d’un gain malhonnête, 9 attachés au saint secret de la foi avec une conscience pure.
      10 De plus, qu’ils soient d’abord mis à l’épreuve quant à leurs aptitudes ; puis, s’ils sont exempts d’accusation, qu’ils servent comme ministres.
      11 De même, il faut que les femmes soient dignes, non calomniatrices, modérées dans leurs habitudes, fidèles en toutes choses.
      12 Les assistants doivent être maris d’une seule femme et diriger d’une belle façon leurs enfants et leur propre famille. 13 Car les hommes qui servent d’une belle façon acquièrent une belle réputation et une grande confiancepour parler de la foi en Christ Jésus.
      14 Je t’écris ces choses, bien que j’espère venir bientôt chez toi, 15 pour que, au cas où je serais retardé, tu saches comment tu dois te conduire dans la maison de Dieu, qui est l’assemblée du Dieu vivant, colonne et soutien de la vérité. 16 Oui, il faut avouer qu’il est grand, le saint secret de l’attachement à Dieu : « Il a été manifesté dans la chair, a été déclaré juste dans l’esprit, est apparu aux anges, a été prêché parmi les nations, a été cru dans le monde, a été enlevé dans la gloire. »





      · 0 replies
    • Eric Ouellet

      Bergers, imitez les Grands Bergers
       
      Christ [...] a souffert pour vous, vous laissant un modèle pour que vous suiviez fidèlement ses traces » (1 PIERRE 2:21)

      QUAND un berger s’intéresse de près au bien-être de son troupeau, les moutons se portent bien. Selon un manuel sur l’élevage ovin, « l’homme qui se contente de mener le troupeau au pré puis n’y prête plus attention risque fort, en quelques années, d’avoir de nombreuses bêtes malades qui ne rapportent rien ». Par contre, quand les moutons reçoivent l’attention voulue, le troupeau prospère.
      La qualité des soins et de l’attention que les bergers du troupeau de Dieu prodiguent à chaque brebis dont ils sont responsables influera sur la santé spirituelle de toute la congrégation. Tu te souviens peut-être que Jésus a eu pitié des foules parce qu’« elles étaient dépouillées et éparpillées comme des brebis sans berger » (Mat. 9:36). Pourquoi se trouvaient-elles en si piteuse condition ? Parce que les hommes chargés d’enseigner la Loi de Dieu au peuple étaient durs, exigeants et hypocrites. Au lieu de soutenir et de nourrir les membres de leur troupeau, les guides spirituels d’Israël posaient sur leurs épaules de « lourdes charges » (Mat. 23:4).
      Les bergers chrétiens d’aujourd’hui, les anciens, ont donc une lourde responsabilité. Les brebis du troupeau sous leur garde appartiennent à Jéhovah ainsi qu’à Jésus, qui s’est présenté comme « l’excellent berger » (Jean 10:11). Les brebis ont été « acheté[e]s à un prix », que Jésus a payé avec son propre « sang précieux » (1 Cor. 6:20 ; 1 Pierre 1:18, 19). Jésus aime tellement les brebis qu’il a bien voulu sacrifier sa vie pour elles. Les anciens ne devraient jamais oublier qu’ils sont des sous-bergers sous la surveillance du Fils bienveillant de Dieu, Jésus Christ, « le grand berger des brebis » (Héb. 13:20).
      Comment les bergers chrétiens devraient-ils traiter les brebis ? Les membres de la congrégation sont exhortés à « obéi[r] à ceux qui [les] dirigent ». De leur côté, les anciens ne doivent pas « commande[r] en maîtres ceux qui sont l’héritage de Dieu » (Héb. 13:17 ; lire 1 Pierre 5:2, 3). Alors comment peuvent-ils diriger le troupeau sans le commander en maîtres ? Autrement dit, comment peuvent-ils répondre aux besoins des brebis sans abuser de l’autorité dont Dieu les a investis ?
      « IL LES PORTERA SUR SON SEIN »
      Parlant de Jéhovah, le prophète Isaïe a déclaré : « Comme un berger il fera paître son troupeau. De son bras il rassemblera les agneaux ; et sur son sein il les portera. Il conduira doucement celles qui allaitent » (Is. 40:11). Cette comparaison montre que Jéhovah se soucie des besoins des membres de la congrégation faibles et vulnérables. De même qu’un berger connaît les besoins particuliers de chaque brebis de son troupeau et se tient prêt à les combler, Jéhovah connaît les besoins des membres de la congrégation et est heureux de leur apporter le soutien voulu. À l’image d’un berger qui, si nécessaire, porte un agneau nouveau-né dans le pli de son vêtement, « le Père des tendres miséricordes » nous portera, ou nous consolera, quand nous serons durement éprouvés ou rencontrerons un besoin particulier (2 Cor. 1:3, 4).

      Quel exemple admirable pour un berger chrétien ! Comme son Père céleste, il lui faut être attentif aux besoins des brebis. S’il est au courant des difficultés qu’elles rencontrent et des besoins qui méritent une attention immédiate, il sera en mesure d’offrir l’encouragement et le soutien nécessaires (Prov. 27:23). Il doit donc bien communiquer avec ses compagnons chrétiens. Tout en respectant la vie privée de chacun, il s’intéresse à ce qu’il voit et entend dans la congrégation, avec amour, il se rend disponible pour « venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:35 ; 1 Thess. 4:11).
      Parlons de la mentalité de bergers que Jéhovah a désapprouvés. Aux jours d’Ézékiel et de Jérémie, Jéhovah a dénoncé ceux qui auraient dû s’occuper de ses brebis, mais ne le faisaient pas. Quand personne ne surveillait les brebis, le troupeau devenait la proie de bêtes sauvages et se dispersait. Ces bergers exploitaient les brebis et, plutôt que de les faire paître, « ils se paissaient eux-mêmes » (Ézék. 34:7-10 ; Jér. 23:1). Le reproche que Dieu leur a fait est tout aussi valable pour les chefs de la chrétienté. Mais il souligne également combien il est important qu’un ancien s’occupe avec sérieux et amour du troupeau de Jéhovah.
      « JE VOUS AI DONNÉ L’EXEMPLE »
      En raison de l’imperfection humaine, certaines brebis peuvent être lentes à comprendre ce que le Berger suprême attend d’elles. Elles ne se conforment pas toujours à un conseil biblique ou ont un comportement trahissant un manque de maturité spirituelle. Comment les anciens doivent-ils réagir ? Ils devraient imiter la patience qu’a eue Jésus envers ses disciples quand ils cherchaient à savoir qui parmi eux serait le plus grand dans le Royaume. Au lieu de perdre patience, Jésus a continué à les enseigner et à leur donner des conseils bienveillants sur la pratique de l’humilité (Luc 9:46-48 ; 22:24-27). En leur lavant les pieds, il leur a fait une démonstration d’humilité, qualité que les surveillants chrétiens sont tenus de manifester (lire Jean 13:12-15 ; 1 Pierre 2:21).
      Le point de vue de Jésus sur le rôle du berger n’était pas le même que celui que Jacques et Jean ont un jour manifesté. Ces deux apôtres cherchaient à s’assurer une place en vue dans le Royaume. Mais Jésus a rectifié cet état d’esprit ainsi : « Vous savez que les chefs des nations dominent sur elles, et que les grands usent d’autorité sur elles. Il n’en sera pas ainsi parmi vous ; mais quiconque voudra devenir grand parmi vous sera votre serviteur » (Mat. 20:25, 26, Bible de Darby). Les apôtres devaient résister à l’envie de « commander en maîtres » leurs compagnons ou de « dominer sur » eux.
      Jésus tient à ce que les bergers chrétiens traitent le troupeau comme lui le traitait. Ils doivent être disposés à servir leurs compagnons, pas les dominer. Paul a manifesté une telle humilité. Il a dit en effet aux anciens de la congrégation d’Éphèse : « Vous savez bien comment, depuis le premier jour où j’ai mis le pied dans le district d’Asie, j’ai été avec vous tout le temps, travaillant comme un esclave pour le Seigneur, avec la plus grande humilité. » L’apôtre souhaitait que ces anciens soutiennent les brebis avec dévouement et humilité. Il a ajouté : « Je vous ai montré en toutes choses que c’est en peinant ainsi que vous devez venir en aide aux faibles » (Actes 20:18, 19, 35). Il a par ailleurs dit aux Corinthiens qu’il ne dominait pas sur leur foi. Il était plutôt leur humble compagnon de travail, pour leur joie (2 Cor. 1:24). C’est un bel exemple d’humilité et de courage pour les anciens de notre époque.
      « FERMEMENT ATTACHÉ À LA PAROLE FIDÈLE »
      Un ancien doit être « fermement attaché à la parole fidèle pour ce qui est de son art d’enseigner » (Tite 1:9). Mais il le sera « dans un esprit de douceur » (Gal. 6:1). Un bon berger chrétien ne force pas une brebis à agir de telle ou telle façon. Non, il réfléchit à la manière dont il stimulera son cœur. Il attirera peut-être son attention sur les principes bibliques à considérer avant de prendre une décision importante. Il reverra avec elle ce que les publications ont dit sur la question. Il l’exhortera à réfléchir aux conséquences de tel ou tel choix sur ses relations avec Jéhovah. Il pourra aussi insister sur l’importance de demander à Dieu sa direction avant de prendre une décision (Prov. 3:5, 6). Ensuite, il la laissera prendre elle-même sa décision (Rom. 14:1-4).
      La seule autorité que les surveillants chrétiens détiennent leur vient des Écritures. Alors ils doivent absolument se servir de la Bible avec habileté et adhérer à son contenu. Ils se garderont ainsi d’un éventuel abus de pouvoir. Car ils ne sont que sous-bergers ; chaque membre de la congrégation est responsable devant Jéhovah et Jésus de ses propres décisions (Gal. 6:5, 7, 8).
      « DES EXEMPLES POUR LE TROUPEAU »
      Après avoir déconseillé aux anciens ( prêtres )« commander en maîtres ceux qui [leur] sont échus en partage », l’apôtre Pierre les exhorte à « devenir des exemples pour le troupeau » (1 Pierre 5:3, note). De quelle façon sont-ils des exemples pour le troupeau ? Prenons deux des choses requises d’un frère qui « aspire à une fonction de surveillant ». Il lui faut être « sain d’esprit » et « présider de belle façon, sa propre maisonnée ». S’il a une famille, il doit la présider de manière exemplaire, car « si quelqu’un [...] ne sait pas présider sa propre maisonnée, comment prendra-t-il soin de la congrégation ( assemblée) de Dieu ? » (1 Tim. 3:1, 2, 4, 5). Il doit également être sain d’esprit, c’est-à-dire comprendre clairement les principes divins et savoir comment les appliquer dans sa propre vie. Il est calme et équilibré et se garde de porter des jugements hâtifs. Autant de qualités qui inspirent confiance aux membres de la congrégation.
      Les surveillants donnent également l’exemple en prenant la tête dans l’œuvre de prédication. Jésus lui-même leur a donné l’exemple à cet égard. La prédication de la bonne nouvelle du Royaume a occupé une grande partie de son activité terrestre. Il a montré à ses disciples comment il fallait l’accomplir (Marc 1:38 ; Luc 8:1). Qu’il est encourageant, de nos jours, de prêcher aux côtés des anciens, de constater leur zèle pour cette œuvre salvatrice et d’apprendre de leurs méthodes d’enseignement ! Leur détermination à consacrer du temps et de l’énergie à la prédication malgré un emploi du temps chargé insuffle du zèle à toute la congrégation. Enfin, les anciens donnent l’exemple en préparant les réunions de la congrégation et en y participant, mais aussi en prenant part à des activités comme le nettoyage et la maintenance de la Salle du Royaume (Éph. 5:15, 16 ; lire (Hébreux 13:7) 
      « SOUTENEZ LES FAIBLES »
      Quand une brebis se blesse ou tombe malade, un bon berger vole à son secours. Pareillement, quand un membre de la congrégation souffre ou a besoin d’une aide spirituelle, les anciens doivent réagir rapidement. Un chrétien âgé ou malade a sans doute besoin d’une aide pratique, mais il a surtout besoin d’un soutien spirituel et d’encouragements (1 Thess. 5:14). Les jeunes rencontrent peut-être des difficultés. Résister aux « désirs de la jeunesse » en est une (2 Tim. 2:22). Le berger doit donc rendre régulièrement visite aux membres de la congrégation dans le but de comprendre les épreuves qu’ils traversent et de les encourager par des conseils bibliques bien choisis. Quand ces visites pastorales sont faites au bon moment, beaucoup de problèmes peuvent être résolus avant qu’ils ne s’aggravent.
      Et si les difficultés d’un chrétien s’aggravent au point de menacer sa santé spirituelle ? « Quelqu’un parmi vous est-il malade ?, a demandé le rédacteur biblique Jacques. Qu’il appelle à lui les anciens de la congrégation, et qu’ils prient sur lui, l’enduisant d’huile au nom de Jéhovah. Et la prière de la foi rétablira celui qui est souffrant, et Jéhovah le relèvera. De plus, s’il a commis des péchés, il lui sera pardonné » (Jacq. 5:14, 15). Même quand un chrétien « souffrant » « appelle à lui les anciens », ces derniers doivent lui venir en aide dès qu’ils sont au courant de son état. Les anciens qui prient avec sont là pour le fortifier et aussi tout frères en difficulté, et ils les soutiennent, se révèlent une source de réconfort et d’encouragement (lire Isaïe 32:1, 2).
      Dans tout ce qu’ils font au sein de l’organisation de Jéhovah, les bergers s’efforcent d’imiter « le grand berger », Jésus Christ. Grâce à l’aide de ces hommes dignes de confiance, le troupeau se fortifie et prospère. Tout cela nous réjouit profondément et nous pousse à louer le plus Grand Berger sans pareil,  notre Dieu Jéhovah



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