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


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6 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

This smacks a lot of like “putting lipstick on a pig.”

There's a 1960's era joke about a family in their car just pulling out of their driveway in sweltering heat with the all the windows up. The kids ask why they can't roll down the windows to get some air, and the father says: "What? And let the neighbors know we don't have air conditioning?"

This reminds me of one of the claimed blunders of Mao Zedung, who continued to export wheat during a famine so as not to appear weak to the rest of the world. (And Stalin similarly wouldn't import wheat when he needed to, for about the same reason.)

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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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23 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Pushing this number to 16.5 million was necessary for the "gasp" factor in hurting Mao's party faction and Mao's ideas which had become a "cult of personality." It might have been meant as a kind of "negotiation" number, just to make sure it remained extremely high even when challenged.

When you see such shenanigans in the present human interactions of entirely different spheres, you don’t assume that you are seeing it for the first time ever. Rather, you figure that this is but the latest example of what humans will do in pushing their own point of view. Thus, everything you say is plausible. Exaggeration, over-promotion, running the other side off the road, muddying the waters so the other side will give up, outright denial, seeing only what one wants to see: these are the stock in trade tools of humans. Whether right or wrong, to have someone assert it has been put to work here, as well, in the analysis of Chinese communism, is not shocking. It doesn’t speak well of our ability to “know” anything. If we may go from your “lofty” example to one of pop trivia, if there is one fixed star in Dylanography, it is that Bob was booed at the Newport Festival of folk music snobs because he forsook acoustic for electric. Not so, says Pete Seeger, who was there, and who is usually thought the foremost critic. It was because the sound was so garbled nobody could understand him, but the producers refused to fix it, saying “young people like it this way.”

https://www.tomsheepandgoats.com/2019/08/i-aint-going-to-work-on-maggies-farm-no-more.html

This is another reason that I like the Bible—it doesn’t make nearly the attempt to appeal to the head that it does the heart. Try to appeal to the head and you must compete with liars, frauds, loonies, and zealots. Try to appeal to the heart and it is a straight shot. Those too “educated” for the Bible might reflect on Carl Jung, who not only acknowledged that there is a spiritual side of things, but maintained that the spiritual side is the more genuine, the more real, the more true. The “statements of the conscious mind,” he says, “may easily be snares and delusions, lies, or arbitrary opinions, but this is certainly not true of statements of the soul.” 

When it comes to government, I very much like the Bible analogy of ancient rulership being like the heavens over mankind that might rain on you one moment, bless you will sunshine the next, blow away in a windstorm all you own in yet another moment, and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. For all the material advances in both education and “political science,” the reality is not so different today, but participatory government better presents the illusion that “we” are in control. Communism makes no bones about saying we’re not. Someone else is. You are cogs in someone else’s machine. You have no say.

If you are going to take over someone’s life, you’d better not screw it up. 

For all practical purposes, most people have no say in Western government either, but they do have some. Put in $1000 worth of effort and you may see a $10 return. That’s not a lot, but people like the idea of control. Even in situations where communism might produce a $20 return, it will be opposed by many, as it goes against human nature.

I took a public speaking course in college in which the professor coincidentally happened to be a huge advocate of participatory government. With student elections coming up—you know, nothing important, just who will run the Student Council of campus affairs—he relentlessly pushed for getting out the vote, and I got fed up. When it was my turn to plan and present my speech, I chose the topic, “Why we shouldn’t vote.” (This was before I knew anything about Jehovah’s Witnesses) I developed three reasons not to vote: 1) candidates lie, saying whatever they must to get elected. 2) Candidates “grow”—they reassess their views afterward—maybe for good or maybe for ill, but independent of your wishes. 3) Candidates may earnestly try to deliver, but find themselves outmaneuvered by those of opposite view. The upshot the three points is that it is just not worth it sinking that much time into politics—there are plenty of other things that offer better payoff. The professor was fairly sporting about it, mumbling that he didn’t agree but that I had raised solid points. He didn’t flunk me.

On 8/3/2020 at 11:55 PM, JW Insider said:

But the success of the Chinese economy in years to come shows that not all its lessons [of the Great Leap Forward] were wasted.

I doubt it shows that at all. The success is more likely due to the Chinese people better capturing the spirit of Proverbs 6:6: “Go to the ant, you lazy one, consider its ways, and become wise.” Substitute only “cooperative” for “lazy” and you have a perfect fit. China had an “industrial revolution” that precedes that of the West by almost 1000 years—Mao had nothing to do with it.

“In the State of Wu of China, steel was first made, preceding the Europeans by over 1,000 years. The Song dynasty saw intensive industry in steel production, and coal mining. No other premodern state advanced nearly as close to starting an industrial revolution as the Southern Song,” says Wikipedia. Only lack of a middle class, Wiki speculates, prevented that early revolution from catching on, something that makes a hero of Henry Ford, for realizing that without someone to buy his products, he could only go so far.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_industrialization

One author I came across raised the point of Chinese cooperation due to long-engrained Confucian value system that  emphasizes responsibly and holds that the group is more important than the individual—and asks whether that isn’t the very antithesis of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, that holds as “self-evident” the individual’s right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. I think his point is well-taken. The only trouble with too much “group-think” is that it is easy for a scoundrel to insert himself at the head and direct the body per his will.

 

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22 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Whether right or wrong, to have someone assert it has been put to work here, as well, in the analysis of Chinese communism, is not shocking. It doesn’t speak well of our ability to “know” anything.

I appreciate the thoughtful response.

You hit upon the basic problem of what we can "know" for certain, especially about a topic for which the waters have definitely been muddied. The very fact that "experts" give ranges from 10 million to 40+ million deaths, already shows there is huge margin of error involved. And the range of reasons for it are inconsistent, too. (Varying amounts of human error vs. drought, or willful disregard for life, or even murderous intent.)

I put the number 4 million out there for the Great Leap Forward (1958-62) as a probable minimum. (I should have said possible minimum.) The range could start lower, and still go much higher. What I was hoping to point out was that if we really don't know, then we can't use those supposed facts to color our reasoning on other claims we hear (about China in this case).

Personally, I think the 4 million number I posited is too low. I think upwards of 10 million really is quite possible. (So you'll notice that presenting the 4 million as a possibility, I was also using "negotiation" numbers.)

I should also say that I believe Deng was actually careful to use believable reports from the various provinces. (He had been a journalist.) By most accounts, he visited some of the hard hit areas himself and gathered reports from those who visited other areas. Since exact numbers were not available, he would have received wide ranges of numbers, and his anti-Mao bias allowed him to choose the upper end of those ranges. His number (16.5 million) would have been an absolute maximum, but not impossible. Even those who criticize the anomalies in the statistics are not usually trying to "prove" a specific number, only that there must have been a one-sided bias behind them.

But back to that point of what we can and cannot "know." We can't very well use dubious "facts" as a foundation for believing more dubious "facts."  It seems to me that there is a constant (intentional) stream of negative news reports about China, and it has been shown that many of these turn out to be false, or are highly exaggerated, one-sided, or believable, but without any basis in evidence. This doesn't mean that negative reports are necessarily wrong, of course. But it does mean we need to use caution.

Even if we still believe the worst possible scenario (70+ million intentional, murderous deaths?), does that necessarily mean we must accept any and all negative reports we hear about China today?

On this idea of intentional deaths, or even a willful disregard for human life, there is another set of factors at play. In the "propaganda game" in politics and other ideologies, it's common to find quotes taken out of context, or a media title tacked onto an article which isn't supported in the article. Even the most famous of all quotes from Mao about how various production requirements would result in many deaths, we have the authors of books against Mao saying:

“Working like this, with all these projects, half of China may well have to die.”

Back to Joseph Ball's article, he says:

This quotation appears in the heading of Chang and Halliday’s chapter on the Great Leap Forward. The way the authors present this quotation it looks as if Mao was saying that it might indeed be necessary for half of China to die to realize his plans to increase industrial production.

In fact, their book (Mao: the Unknown Story which claims 70 million were killed by Mao) uses this quote as part of their proof for, as they say: "“We can now say with assurance how many people Mao was ready to dispense with.”

But here is more of the context. Note what they left out:

In this kind of situation, I think if we do [all these things simultaneously] half of China’s population unquestionably will die; and if it’s not a half, it’ll be a third or ten percent, a death toll of 50 million. When people died in Guangxi [1955], wasn’t Chen Manyuan dismissed? If with a death toll of 50 million, you didn’t lose your jobs, I at least should lose mine; [whether I would lose my] head would be open to question. Anhui wants to do so many things, it’s quite all right to do a lot, but make it a principle to have no deaths.22 . . . As to 30 million tons of steel, do we really need that much? Are we able to produce [that much]? How many people do we mobilize? Could it lead to deaths?

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Another important piece of context about famines in China even before Mao was in power, based on Wikipedia's list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famines_in_China

  1810, 1811, 1846, 1849     Unknown (45 million decrease, unknown how many emigrated or avoided census to evade taxes)[4]
  1850–1873   Nian Rebellion, Taiping Rebellion and drought Primarily caused by famine, lower life expectancy and plague in the case of the Nian rebellion, the total war casualties are claimed to possibly be 10–30 million people[5][6]
Great North China Famine 1876–1879 Northern China Drought 9–13 million[7]
  1896–97 Northern China Leading in part to the Boxer Rebellion  
Great Qing Famine 1907 Northern Jiangsu, parts of central China and Guangdong   Allegedly 25 million
1920–1921 North China famine 1920–1921 Henan, Shandong, Shanxi, Shaanxi, southern Zhili (Hebei)   0.5 million[8]
Chinese famine of 1928–30 1928–1930 Northern China Drought 3 million
1936–1937 famine 1936–1937[9] Sichuan, Gansu   Unknown (the source that claimed up to 5 million people has been unproven)
1942–1943 famine 1942–1943 Mainly Henan Second Sino-Japanese War 2–3 million
Great Chinese Famine 1959–61[10] Entire country[11][12] Great Leap Forward, Floods, Droughts, Typhoons, Insect Invasion[13] 15 to 55 million [14]
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On 8/1/2020 at 7:47 AM, JW Insider said:

I have plenty more details and evidence about the Uyghurs, but so far this was mostly just one set of claims against another set of claims.

I saw a PBS show, China—Power and Prosperity not long ago. The segment about the Uyghurs (toward the end) seems to back what Arauna says, minus only the medical tourism part. Several witnesses who lived through it are interviewed—ones now in “self-imposed exile” in Istanbul. One man tells of massive detention centers where he saw ones interrogated with “unbearable brutality,” one woman of her block mates taken for interrogation 15 at a time, and would reemerge “bruised and swollen.”

On 8/1/2020 at 10:21 AM, Arauna said:

but my sense of right and wrong was outraged when I heard that they take children away from parents and re-train them in boarding schools where state propaganda is spoon-fed day and night.  

They testified as to this, too. They all assert that state video of helpful retraining is “staged and scripted.” The justification for all of it is some terrorist attacks from that ethnicity. It seemed convincing to me. Easy to find, if you have not seen it. Google the topic and bring up some YouTubes. The government spokesman who denies it all wonders “who is paying them?”

There is something about a PBS offering, or any offering from ones of similar background. How to put it?

On 8/1/2020 at 10:21 AM, Arauna said:

but they are forced to comply at peril of their life or a system that can take all their social credit away in one swoop.  This new social credit system is terrible and may soon come to the west

Interviewing one Chinese company spokesperson about this, the interviewer asks: “Does it work?” that is—does the system of incentives and disincentives serve to change people’s conduct? The woman seems flustered at this, and mumbles that “Of course it works,” before breaking away. “Something about our question disconcerted the hosts, who suspended the interview and withdrew,” says the narrator, “but our mics were still on and recorded what they next said privately” (not exact quote, but close).

The first thing the woman said privately to some cohorts was: (in the full version, not the edited one) “What kind of a question was that?” That had been my impression, too. What was disconnecting about the question was the sheer stupidity of it. Do incentives and disincentives serve to mold behavior? Of course they do! There is something so naive about persons who have been raised with “enlightened” views of discipline. The next backstage remarks are of how they can’t really refuse an interview, but they want to take care not to criticize the party, and of course, this is what the program seizes upon, as though their dopey question served to expose the underbelly of the beast. 

If a stove is red-hot, and people know it is red hot, will they touch it? Only in the West will moral revisionists question this, extrapolating the few who will indeed touch it anyway into the many. The truth is more in accord with Mark Twain’s observation that “a cat that sits on a hot stove will never sit on a hot stove again. Nor will it sit on a cold one—for they all look hot.”

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The only thing Witnesses around the world need to understand about Uyghurs and other countries where there is willful prosecution of the brethren is by understanding any post that put those witnesses in danger just because some people think of curiosity rather than the reach of china that has government officers that look for any kind of internet articles talking about such religions.

 

 Introduction The government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is notorious for committing human rights violations. These violations include infanticide, human trafficking, violent enforcement of the one-child policy, and religious persecution. The international community commonly overlooks religious persecution of the Uyghurs, who are targeted and often oppressed by the Chinese government. China is arguably the center of the political and economic international system but, as the Uyghur diaspora expands to developed countries, including the United States, the rest of the world must understand the issues at the forefront of the conflict.

https://bitterwinter.org/how-to-survive-being-jehovahs-witness-in-china/

 

Who are the Uyghurs?

This inference with that region goes back as far as second century BC. However, it is by 1949 when China decided to repatriate and abuse all those that didn’t conform to the Geopolitical will of mainland china. That doesn’t mean there weren’t Community Matters in Xinjiang 1880-1949 Towards a Historical Anthropology of the Uyghur.

There was also the Reform and Revolution on the Russia- China Frontier.

Preliminary Notes on Sociological

Research in China and Xinjiang

This analysis cannot be conducted without considering, even though in a preliminary manner, the stage of development of sociological research and methods in China.1 While modern sociology is considered to be

born in Europe in the eighteenth century, in China it became a prominent and respected discipline, in the way it has been articulated by Western scholars, only recently. Shortly after the 1949 Communist takeover, studies in the field of sociology have officially been banned from the official curricula as well as from scholarly research. Under the influence of Lenin’s characterization of Auguste Comte’s sociology as “bourgeois”, the new government of Mao Zedong shut down all the related educational and research programs in 1952. Sociologists were labeled “guardians of the bourgeoisie” and became targets of censorship and torture during political campaigns, anti-rightist movements and the Cultural Revolution. After the Mao era, Deng Xiaoping started to acknowledge that sociology could play a role in the improvement of education, and mainly within the context of the modernization process that China started to uncritically embrace. The rehabilitation of the discipline as scholarly and academic knowledge in China can be traced back to 1979, when the Chinese Sociological Association was re-established. Due to previous historical events, at the time only a few sociologists were still in the country, and Fei Xiaotong (1910–2005) was called to be in charge of the restoration of the discipline.

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@TrueTomHarley, Thanks for bringing this back to the original topic. I'd like to follow up on that too, although I should probably summarize my own view on Mao, lest someone think I am just trying to do a whitewash here.

One can always focus on the negatives, and as @Arauna has pointed out before, should look at people in the context of their time. And if one came out of a time filled with injustice and violence, this should not absolve anyone of their own crimes. Another one might focus only on accomplishments that were considered good. (In Mao's case he apparently got rid of opium/drugs, brought literacy rates up through free education, brought millions out of poverty, succeeded in bringing free health care to the majority, increased the overall production of food per capita, increased industrial production per capita, etc.)

But at what cost? Arauna draws comparisons to the immediate aftermath of the French Revolution. Rebellion and reform in China took the form of an ongoing civil war, where rebellions and civil wars for decades were often met with brutal torture and violence on both sides. In America it was the North winning over the South at a cost of nearly 750,000 lives, and an additional 2,000,000 or so suffering (though surviving) debilitating diseases. (See, NYT:  https://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/03/science/civil-war-toll-up-by-20-percent-in-new-estimate.html and PBS: http://www.pbs.org/mercy-street/uncover-history/behind-lens/disease/ )

In the US Civil War each side poured more men into the war with little apparent regard for the cost of soldiers' lives, and the further suffering of a greater number of orphans and widows produced. But at least that particular war didn't go on for decades, and though the U.S. South was purged from most government positions, they won a generally peaceful amnesty, and regained their political power after not much more than a single decade. (Also consider that the US population was only about 30 million in 1860, compared to China's 550 million in 1950.)

One should not try to clean up Mao's "less endearing" qualities, but should also see him in his historical context. To give an idea of that context --and Mao's participation in purges and executions-- I have a book called "Mao: A Life" by Phillip Short. It's a huge book, and I will offer some bullet point summaries, although skipping some important sections:


 - The Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) was brutal. Internal & anti-foreign rebellions & famines were common.
 - Japan's defeat of Russia in 1905 inspired Asians to nation-build and modernize.
 - Mao at first sought to promote Imperial China (then later promoted Sun-Yat-Sen)
 - Mao went to school in Changsha, where revolutionary and anti-Manchu sentiment were prominent.
 - Republic of China (ROC) was declared in 1911, but there were constant fights within leadership elites.
 - Imperial (Qing) forces fought back to maintain their rule, killing indiscriminately.
 - Mao was a bit of an elitist, though he certainly sympathized with and befriended urban workers.
 - The Qing Dynasty eventually fell in 1912. Sun Yat-Sen became President and the country demobilized.
 - The Xinhai Revolution has come to an end: Republic of China 1912-1949 (with fragmentation).
 - Mao returned to his studies in Changsha, Hunan.
 - In Changsha in 1912, Mao came into contact with socialist/anarchist people and literature.
 - The Guomindang (GMD) led the elections in 1912, but Yuan (pro-Qing) monopolized power by 1913.
 - Sun Yat-Sen (SYS) tried to launch a "2nd Revolution" against Yuan, but it was defeated.
 - Liberals (SYS) took over Southern provinces, but Yuan reimposed control in Hunan and banned GMD.
 - China was ceding a lot of territory and resources to the Western Powers during this period.
 - Japan had issued demands including territory 1914-1915 and the Yuan autocracy capitulated to them.
 - Mao gathered youth groups together in 1915, as well as journalism and hiking groups in 1917.
 - Yuan declared himself Emperor at the end of 1915, resulting in immediate Civil War.
 - In 1916, school surveillance and press censorship prevailed.
 - Mao hated school, vacillated a lot, and had depression & self-loathing.
 - Zhou Enlai & Mao participated in group meetings, rejecting the Church, capitalism, monarchy, etc.
 - Mao decided to go to Beijing in 1918-1919 instead of France, working as a librarian at Beijing University.
 - He then went to Shanghai, where his ideology was a mix of social democracy and anarchism.
 - Japan took Shandong Province after WW1, inflaming hatred of the Western Powers who had allowed it.
 - Mao urged the necessity of rebellion & democracy, warning of authoritarianism in Germany & Japan!
 - Mao also wrote many articles championing women's rights.
 - Mao's study groups eventually became Bolsheviks in 1921, by which time Mao embraced Marxism. 
 - Shanghai at this time was the "Whore of the East," home of British capitalism, expats, prostitution, etc.
 - Signs in Shanghai and foreign-controlled parks said "Chinese and dogs not allowed!"
 - Capitalist industry in China was horrifying: child labor, pollution, and even slavery!
 - Mao joined the Workingmen Association and recruited members and led a strike as head of Changsha.
 - Zhao, 1922 governor of Hunan, executed 2 Workingmen leaders, leading him to be universally despised.
 - Wu Peifu cracked down on labor in the February 7, 1923 Massacre, bringing labor to a standstill!
 - Mao returned again to Hunan in civil war. Zhao won with Northern support, not boding well for labor.
 - An anti-communist Right Wing formed in the GMD, including CKS (Chiang Kai-Shek; training in Moscow).
 - In 1925, the CPC had only 994 members, so he began thinking about a new strategy involving peasants.
 - Japan shot at striking workers in 1925, followed by similar actions by Britain, culminating in riots!
 - Mao enthusiastically organized peasants and created schools for them, realizing their significance.
 - Mao was in powerful GMD positions, controversially calling for peasant rule and combating landlords.
 - CPC membership ballooned to 30,000 by the end of 1926.
 - Stalin shifted to supporting peasant revolt as the Left-GMD won & peasant government was established.
 - Chiang encircled and surprise-attacked Shanghai communist strongholds in April 1927, killing 400.
 - Zhou Enlai organized general strikes & marches in Shanghai. Mass-slaughter ensued, a Left setback.
 - Chiang marginalized the Left-GMD & CPC with violent & secret repression, coordinating with the West.
 - After some GMD killed Westerners, Western media decried the "Bolshevik menace" & funded Chiang.
 - Many Westerners left in 1927. Unemployment rose, GMD purged & executed, with provinces in anarchy!
 - On May 21 (Horse Day), 1927, the Changsha military slaughtered >10,000 peasants and communists.
 - Peasant governments were dissolved, with right-wing slaughter in other parts of Hunan (400,000).
 - Mao & the CPC realized the need for a military. Stalin called for a >50,000-person force.
 - The tension between "Bourgeois Alliance" & "Peasant Revolt" exploded. Both seemed impossible.
 - CPC decision-making seemed to collapse by Summer 1927. Stalin & Bukharin even denounced the CPC.
 - The Left-GMD then broke off with the CPC. The Left-GMD then collapsed and the CPC went into hiding.
 - Chiang eventually seized Beijing, forcing Wang Jingwei (Sun-Yat-Sen's left-wing successor) to flee to Europe.
 - In this adventure in 1927, Mao (on the run) was almost killed by other GMD forces several times!
 - Li Lisan, a major CPC leader, was found to be withholding Soviet diktats. He was disgraced in 1930.
 - In December 1930, Chiang sent 100,000 troops south. Mao trapped/destroyed them, stealing weapons!
 - Chiang sent 200,000 in 1931, but still lost! Mao's strategies worked & radio technology was taken.
 - Then 300,000 were quickly sent. Mao won some battles, but had to narrowly flee, dropping heavy items.
 - In September 1931, Japan invaded & took over Manchuria, sufficiently distracting CKS.
 - Mao criticized previous orders to attack cities, & the Comintern promoted the Army's role in Revolution.
 - In February 1930, Mao purged rich opportunists from the Jiangxi Party, killing 4 major officials.
 - Secret GMD Rightists called "AB-tuan" infiltrated CPC leadership, collaborating with rich landlords.
 - 2,000 AB-tuan suspected to have murdered important CPC & military leaders were tortured & executed.
 - Torture was approved by the CPC and was gruesome and rampant, so much so that parts of it rebelled.
 - A rebel group petitioned the CPC to remove Mao using incriminating forgeries.
 - Even the rebels did not deny AB-tuan sabotage. There was general amnesty, but 3 leaders were executed.
 - 3,400 people were killed in Jiangxi purges in 1931. 20,000 total were killed in other CPC regions.
 - The purges and killings, called the "Futian Incidents," were later deemed panic-induced and excessive.
 - Liu Shaojiu was reprimanded for his brutal methods. Torture and low-level CPC killings were banned.  
 - Class background was considered to be the determining factor in purges from then on.
 - In 1931, the Politburo sent a secret agent to assassinate CKS. It failed and he defected to the GMD.
 - The agent's defection led to the killing of thousands of CPC members in Shanghai and elsewhere.
 - CKS killed >1.2 million people by this point, including Mao's wife Kaihui, collecting ears as trophies.
 - The Chinese Soviet Republic was proclaimed in Jiangxi and southern regions on November 7, 1931.
 - The CPC shifted to a strategy to attack cities in 1932. Mao violently disagreed, but could do nothing.
 - The March 1932 attack on Ganzhou City failed horribly and Mao was brought back.
 - Mao was stripped of most positions in 1932 for two full years. This decision was at first kept secret.
 - Bo Gu later openly denounced Mao with outright lies, initiating an anti-Mao influence campaign.
 - However, praise & support from Stalin & the Comintern since 1928 meant that Mao couldn't be ruined.
 - As Chairman, he imposed taxes on the rich & public ownership, redistributed land, & forged a currency.
 - Mao investigated poverty, food, & industry, addressing questions of rules, geography, & scale in policy.
 - In his investigative analysis, he found that 27% of society was middle-to-upper class, & 73% laborers.  
 - Class repression was also carried out, coinciding with the USSR's de-kulakization, 1930-1933.
 - The right to vote was given to workers only and one-quarter of all officials had to be women.
 - Chiang assembled >500,000 troops, strangled Ruijin, & encircled the Reds with forts & German help.
 - The Red Army was now outnumbered 10:1. Mao, now very sick again, twice urged an escape.
 - From 1932 onward, the CPC gained popular support by arguing it was the sole defender against Japan.
 - Hitler purges his troopers in 1934; Italy invades Ethiopia; Japan menaces in Asia. The Axis is forming!  
 - Mao went east to propagandize & recruit. The anti-CKS policy gradually became secondary to Japan.
 - Anti-Japan protests erupted all over China & Chiang was arrested in the "Xi'an Incident" of 1936.
 - The USSR still supported Chiang's government, despite its corruption, betrayals, & unpopularity.
 - Japan then invaded Shanghai in 1937 and Massacred & Raped Nanjing, the Nationalist capital.
 - Mao moved into Yan'an (a walled city) with He Zizhen, where he began to study and give (bad) lectures.
 - Mao studied Marx, Lenin, Stalin, European history, philosophy, and dialectical materialism in depth.
 - Stalin more officially endorsed Mao in 1938 as Chiang ordered anti-communist crackdowns in Wuhan.
 - The Japanese air-bombed Mao's headquarters in Yan'an in 1939.
 - Chiang increasingly sabotaged & blockaded. The "100 Regiments Campaign" killed 9,000 Reds in 1940.
 - The Red Army grew from 50,000 to 500,000 in 1940. The CPC now had more than 1 million members.
 - The CPC launched the "Rectification Campaign" in 1941 to root out "Leftist Dogmatism & Repression."
 - It was clear the USSR would defeat fascism in 1942, signalling confrontation between the GMD & CPC.
 - Mao was elected Chairman of the Politburo in 1943.
 - While CPC membership was exploding, 5% (40,000) had to be expelled for political unreliability.
 - 90% of the expelled were rehabilitated into the CPC in 1943. Mao said "we should not kill anyone."
 - Wang Shiwei was a famous writer accused of "Anti-Party" Trotskyism in 1943 & later executed in 1947.  
 - In 1943, both Chiang and Mao publicly claim to be the destined rulers of China.
 - At the Yalta Conference (February 1945), Stalin & the West came to a deal on post-war alliances.
 - The 1945 "Resolution on Questions of Party History" urged CPC reform & brought back former enemies.
 - Stalin signed an alliance with Chiang in 1945, which left the CPC to fight the GMD virtually alone.
 - Truman drops an A-bomb on Hiroshima, then Stalin invades Manchuria, then the US bombs Nagasaki.
 - Imperial Japan unconditionally surrenders to the capitalist Powers (only) in August-September 1945.
 - Korea, a brutal Japanese colony, was also divided between North (USSR aid) and South (US aid).
 - The Cold War then intensified: the US occupied cities & aided CKS; the USSR sought a Red Manchuria.
 - GMD forces with US aid attacked the CPC in Manchuria in November 1945. Stalin ordered the CPC out!
 - Mao was at first very depressed, but then the US needed to withdraw from China, uplifting his outlook.
 - And Mao was still overwhelmingly popular in China as the Civil War loomed in Summer 1946.
 - The Red Army quietly retreated into Shenxi & Hebei provinces, then completely destroyed GMD forces.
 - The CPC went offensive in May 1947, took Manchuria railways, & destroyed 640,000 GMD by December.
 - The CPC retook Yan'an in 1948. Low GMD morale & incompetence led Mao to estimate victory by 1951.
 - The purges made infiltration into the CPC impossible; whereas the GMD contained moles at every level.
 - Many were conscripted into the GMD involuntarily; almost the opposite was true in the Red Army.
 - The US gave $300 billion-equivalent in arms and aid to Chiang Kai-Shek, but it made no difference.
 - The GMD in Manchuria was wiped out in 1948. Mao called imperialists & atom bombs "Paper Tigers!"
 - The CPC expanded in Central China (Anhui, Henan, Jiangsu, Shandong) trapping & ruining 500,000 GMD.
 - Tianjin fell in January 1949. Beijing quickly surrendered. Nanjing, Shanghai, etc. fell in Spring 1949.
 - The People's Republic of China (PRC) was established on October 1, 1949, with support & celebration!
 - Mao lifted urban conditions, nationalized major/foreign business, & created a regulated capitalism.
 - The extreme South & West of the country was still under GMD control, with occasional fighting.
 - Stalin received Mao to discuss alliances but, bound by Yalta, he still didn't want to displease the West.
 - But when Britain recognized the PRC & the Cold War ramped up, Stalin reversed & recognized the PRC.
 - The Korean War was brewing in 1949 and Kim Il-Sung warned Mao of the impending struggle.
 - The PRC took over the island of Hainan, planning also for Taiwan, but the US threatened to nuke China.
 - South Korea & the US launched a counteroffensive on North Korea, prompting Mao to intervene in 1950.
 - However, Stalin didn't want to risk a US confrontation, so provided only basic support & no air-raids.
 - Chiang's arrest (1936), Stalin's orders in Manchuria (1945), & now Korea all felt like USSR betrayals.
 - Chinese troops took back North Korea, & even Seoul (but had to withdraw), with truce talks 1951-1953.
 - Imperialist atrocities (especially biowarfare) & GMD murder/sabotage led the PRC to execute 700,000.  
 - Mao's son Anying was killed in Korea. The USSR aided China and China aided Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.
 - Class struggle was center-stage 1950-1952, with land reform, anti-corruption, & anti-sabotage efforts.   
 - 1.5 million were sent to camps; 1-2 million (landlords) died in crackdowns & spontaneous violence.
 - At this time, 1950s, provincial economic self-sufficiency was stressed; foreign trade was reduced to minimum.
 - The PLA took over Tibet in 1951, and other regions soon followed.
 - Mutual Aid Teams (MAT) & Agricultural Cooperatives (APC) were set up on a voluntary basis in 1953.
 - Policy vacillated between rural collectivization & "spontaneous capitalism," 1953-1954.
 - Crash-collectivization began in 1955: 63% of peasants belonged to APCs after this campaign.
 - Urban businesses were incorporated into the CPC (public-private); Mao wanted crash-industrialization.
 - In 1956, Khruschev delivered his "Secret Speech" against Stalin. China-USSR relations then soured.
 - Disagreements: Stalin; Parliamentary Road to Socialism; Peaceful Co-existence; Contradiction Analysis.
 - Mao proclaimed "Let 100 Flowers Bloom": the CPC brought back intellectuals, etc. in 1956.
 - The CPC disagreed on "100 Flowers," but Mao strongly pushed, troubled by the 1956 Hungary Uprising.
 - Mao spoke on "Correct Handling of Contradictions among People" in 1957, calling for open criticism.
 - Some critiqued the CPC as alienated, bureaucratic, & aristocratic; some wished to overthrow socialism!
 - The 1957 Anti-Rightist Campaign began amidst GMD terrorism. 520,000 had to labor with peasants.
 - APCs were not producing surpluses & the Four Pests Campaign failed. Large industry was still needed.
 - The Great Leap Forward sought to irrigate farms & increase steel production, based on the communes.
 - Party cadres & the PLA were ordered to work in communes for 1 month each year.
 - Steel-making was successful, but only 80% usable; farming was mixed, but 1958 had a record harvest.
 - Mao admitted miscalculations & over-enthusiasm; Mao was skeptical of high expectations & numbers.
 - The US threatened communists with nukes, so Mao & Khruschev sought to develop their own weapons.
 - The USSR launched Sputnik in 1957. Khruschev also cancelled military aid to China in 1959.
 - Peng Dehui (arguing with Mao for decades), criticized the pace/scale of the Great Leap & was sacked!
 - Mao redoubled the Great Leap's efforts, but southern floods & northern droughts brought mass hunger.
 - The Tibet Revolt, Indian border clashes, and Russian intransigence in 1959 all heightened tensions.
 - The Sino-Soviet Split in 1960 resulted in mutual denunciations & total withdrawal of USSR aid to China.  
 - 1/3 of all land and 8 of 12 major rivers dried up simultaneously, compounding the suffering (India too).
 - 1/6 of all land (in south) severely flooded.
Combination killed [up to] 20 million from 1959 to 1961 (like 1876).
 - 1961 saw local civil wars with peasant-militia rebellions in Henan, Tibet, Sichuan, with separatists too.
 - China had to import grain from Australia and Canada in 1961. Mao gradually withdrew from politics.  
 - Communes, collective mess halls, and the free supply system were challenged (albeit cautiously).
 - Communes were reduced in size & function, and private ownership, markets, & wage-gradation allowed.
 - Mao rejected proposals by Liu Shaoqi & Deng Xiaoping to differentiate farm policy in North & South.
 - Mao took a lot of blame at the C.C. meeting in 1962, attended by thousands, opening up CPC leadership.
 - Mao returned to politics in 1962 and reimposed strictness. The "Antis" campaign was revived in 1963.
 - 1.5 million CPC cadres were mobilized to oversee policy changes & cleanse corruption, killing 2,000.
 - Liu Shaoqi was supposed to succeed Mao, but was cast aside after criticizing his policies too much.
 - Jiang Qing played a key role in Mao's political attacks and propaganda.
 - Affluence & zeal were inversely related according to Mao: "Those who are poor want revolution!" (1964)
 - Mao believed a "Capitalist Road" conspiracy was emerging within the Party.
 - By 1965, Mao was preparing a Purge and "class struggle," and accused Liu & Deng of plotting.
 - The Socialist Education Movement began in 1964; the "Cultural Revolution" (formally) in 1966.
 - Mao delivered a speech to young "Red Guard" at Tiananmen; Lin Biao campaigned against "The 4 Olds."
 - Red Guards killed >300 people, given virtually free reign (& free train travel) to spread Mao's Revolution.
 - Books, temples, and some schools were destroyed as Mao's "Little Red Book" was popularized.
 - China developed its first nuclear weapons in 1967.
 - Purges & attacks in schools shifted to Party elites: officials were conned & persecuted, without trial.
 - Provincial & city committees were overthrown; Labor organized strikes & took over newspapers in 1967.
 - Shanghai wished to become a Commune. Mao recognized anarchism & put the CPC back to share power.
 - The PLA, disgruntled by Red Guards & rebellions, initiated the February 1967 Crackdown (100s killed).
 - Liu Shaoqi & Deng Xiaoping were dispelled. Officials were humiliated; the Politburo ceased to function!
 - Factional violence ensued, with 10,000s shooting at each other in some provinces.
 - The "Million Heroes" campaign, led by old PLA, tried to retain power in Wuhan.
 - Mao blamed the chaos on the "May 16 Group." 10,000s more were killed in purges through 1968.
 - Shensi & Guangxi were now in civil war. China's unemployment rose as industrial output fell 14%.
 - The Army essentially had to help & supervise the countryside, cities, places of employment, etc.
 - The "Revolution" was declared "complete" in September 1968.
 - >1 million people were killed as a result. Half of the C.C. was now from the Army.
 - Border skirmishes with the USSR in 1969 (along with other tensions) led Mao to court the US.
 - Liu Shaoqi's death in 1968 opened up the Head of State position in 1970, a source of contention.
 - Lin Biao was next for Mao's position, written into the Constitution.
 - Lin Biao's son planned to either kill Mao or set up a rival regime.
 - Lin Biao's plane crashed as he tried to escape to Mongolia or the USSR in 1971. Everyone died.
 - Mao was depressed upon finding out about all the betrayals and deaths.
 - Nixon courted China & PRC was given its UN seat in 1971, Taiwan now sidelined. Mao was very sick!
 - Nixon met with Mao in his study in 1972, discussing deeper relations & the USSR as a common enemy.
 - Mao admitted to the US that "world defeat of imperialism" was "just rhetoric."
 - Mao brought younger CPC members on to run China and rehabilitated Deng Xiaoping in 1973.
 - Mao then attacked Zhou & Jiang Qing. Mao promoted Deng in 1974, against whom Jiang Qing conspired.
 - Mao in 1975 criticized the "Gang of Four" and former Cultural Revolution rebels as "revisionists."
 - Mao wrote that Jiang Qing's dismissal of Deng as "capitulating to capitalism" was "malarkey" (s**t)
 - Mao later denounced Deng as a "Capitalist" in 1976. 
 - Mao Zedong died on September 9, 1976.

 

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China: King of the North together with Russia and other totalitarian states - its allies:

One can use all the information from publications that whitewash China's atheist hate of religion and its atrocities that is now going on. Investigate the communist manifesto and you will know what a totalitarian state looks like and its goals.  It can easy become a tool of Satan. We know that the West is part of the beast ….. but what makes this kind of system so handy to turn against all religion and be the inspiration to the UN for one world order ……. and become the King of the North? 

https://bitterwinter.org/persecution-against-jehovahs-witnesses-escalates-in-china/

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

and Mao's participation in purges and executions

It was for the "greater good"  - a popular phrase in this kind of ideology.  It reminds me of the Pharisees who said that one man must die to save many ……  Yes - there are many ways one can justify deliberate murder and killing.  

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https://time.com/5467628/china-uighur-congress-torture/

You will see here in this testimony above it speaks of forced abortions.  I have listened and read many over the past two years.  I listened to  secret interviews (translated) of husbands who testified that the government suddenly came to pick up their wives when they were just about full term - ready to give birth with a second child.  They sterilized them - took their children (probably used the body parts because it is valuable) and threw the women out on the street far away from home!  Most of them had severe mental issues after this happened to them -  what they did to them I do not know but most of them lost their will to live...    I rarely cry when I listen to these kind of testimonies -  but these made me cry.

The woman all could not go back to the life they had before.  One husband said he is poor and his wife cannot work hard and support him and look after her living child.  He said he loved her but he may have to divorce her because he needs a partner that can work.  His wife was just sitting there like a zombie.  He found her wandering after her forced abortion.

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On 8/6/2020 at 7:36 AM, JW Insider said:

Another important piece of context about famines in China even before Mao was in power

The other day my mum and I talked about communism, I wanted to glean some more information from her since she, as opposed to me, really lived during the totalitarian regime, and had to study it at school as part of the mandated curriculum. I mentioned some of the research I have been doing on China, and she confirmed that there was famine in China even before Mao...

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2 hours ago, Anna said:

I mentioned some of the research I have been doing on China, and she confirmed that there was famine in China even before Mao...

"Never let a good crisis go to waste" is an expression that fits a lot of situations. When I googled that phrase just now, I was reminded of dozens of such examples. For example:

The TSA is one example of how crisis was used to create a police state at America airports, when its known that there are other more effective tactics which are used by other nations to avoid airliner incidents.

I was listening to Al Jazeera news two days ago (Western media disguised with a non-Western name) and I noticed that after the Lebanon explosion they gave interview after interview only to people who said that this was just another reason for regime change. And of course, the interviews were always with the whitest or most photogenic persons who spoke extra-perfect English. Other points of view are also prevalent, but you have to go outside Western media to find them. You can tell when something is amiss when a media outlet can go on for hours about the terrible economic situation in a country without a single mention of Israel or the United States or sanctions.

The famines in Russia and China provided a perfect crisis for anti-communists. It didn't matter that there had been far worse famines under the czars, because it doesn't take much to double or triple the size of a famine, and then merely state that it was through the murderous intent of a leader. (I went to school in the 1960's in Missouri with kids who still thoroughly believed that Hitler lubricated machinery with human babies.)

The dust bowl days in the midwestern United States (https://www.history.com/topics/great-depression/dust-bowl) caused the loss of 35,000,000 acres of farmland, and near ruination of another 125,000,000 acres. Imagine if there had been no place for the displaced to migrate to:

Roughly 2.5 million people left the Dust Bowl states—Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma—during the 1930s. It was one of the largest migrations in American history. Oklahoma alone lost 440,000 people to migration. Many of them, poverty-stricken, traveled west looking for work. From 1935 to 1940, roughly 250,000 Oklahoma migrants moved to California. . . . These Dust Bowl refugees were called “Okies.” Okies faced discrimination, menial labor and pitiable wages upon reaching California. Many of them lived in shantytowns and tents along irrigation ditches.

The basic problem was somewhat analogous to the "Four Pests" campaign under Mao that included sparrows as pests. The United States had promoted farming of wheat for export when Europe was paying high prices, and farmland was promoted to inexperienced farmers without instructions for methods that protected topsoil in case of drought.

Under Mao the conditions for poor farmers were just as dire, but the problems were more widespread, with losses due to drought in one part of China, and losses due to heavy rains washing away crops in another part. As I included above:

On 8/7/2020 at 11:03 AM, JW Insider said:

 -  Mao redoubled the Great Leap's efforts, but southern floods & northern droughts brought mass hunger.
...
 - 1/3 of all land and 8 of 12 major rivers dried up simultaneously, compounding the suffering (India too).
 - 1/6 of all land (in south) severely flooded.
Combination killed [up to] 20 million from 1959 to 1961 (like 1876).

The big steps and the movement away from agriculture to try to build up an industrial economy at the same time made it worse. And much of that was Mao's fault, just as US policies can be blamed for much of the Dust Bowl problems. And then there were the ongoing threats by the United States to "nuke" China as the US had already done in Japan and already threatened to do in Korea. For this reason, Mao did not want to express any weakness of his programs and continued exporting grain, partly to pay for his own nuclear weapons. (Or so I've read, but not confirmed.)

2 hours ago, Anna said:

she, as opposed to me, really lived during the totalitarian regime, and had to study it at school as part of the mandated curriculum.

It would be interesting to compare notes with you and Srecko, for example, to learn more about some Eastern European experiences. In the late 1970's and early 1980's I heard several talks from Witness branch overseers who had worked in some of those countries, especially those where preaching was banned.

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      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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    • In the recent QFR https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines/watchtower-study-december-2020/Questions-From-Readers-December-2/ we find a "clarification" on the use of Proverbs 24:16: “The righteous one may fall seven times, and he will get up again.” We should no longer refer to the fall and subsequent rising of the righteous related to moral or spiritual setbacks,  but to the righteous recovering from the setbacks of life, even those that bad ones can inflict. Perfect! Now, what surpri
    • I have just one word of advice for you: “Plastics,” said the parent’s comfortable friend to Benjamin Braddock. Plastics—the new growth field in 1967, the year The Graduate movie came out—just as computers and then the internet would be to succeeding generations. Plastics—a graduate could make a killing in it. But Ben didn’t want any career advice just then. Just out of college, with no goals at all, the only thing he knew is that he wanted no part of the phony monied world that had been his
    • 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.   
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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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