China making moves against corruption, yet pollution remains and a river turns red

Xi Jinping


China has taken another step in its fight against corruption:

Chinese state media praised the Communist Party’s decision to open a corruption probe into retired senior politician Zhou Yongkang.

The party announced late Tuesday it is investigating Zhou, China’s former security czar, for unspecified “serious disciplinary violation.”

The 71-year-old Zhou, who retired in 2012, was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s highest governing body.

The investigation breaks a longstanding, unwritten rule that China’s top leaders would be immune from such discipline.

In an editorial, the party-controlled Global Times said the move “reveals the zero-tolerance stance of the Chinese leadership toward corruption.”

It said the Chinese public embraced the probe, saying it is now “more convincing” to believe all officials will be subject to the rule of law.

‘Strict discipline’

The official Xinhua news agency said the announcement shows the party’s determination to “purify itself and run itself with strict discipline.”

Since taking power in 2012, President Xi Jinping has carried out a highly publicized graft crackdown, vowing to go after both high-ranking “tigers” and low-ranking “flies.”

Zhou is the highest-ranking official yet to be brought down. His downfall was expected, since many of his associates and family members have been targeted in recent months.

He is a close ally of disgraced former Politburo member Bo Xilai, who was sentenced to life in jail last year for taking bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power.

For now, the investigation into Zhou is being handled by the party’s internal disciplinary committee.

State media reported Wednesday that it is very likely the committee will expel Zhou from the party and transfer his case to the courts, where defendants have little chance of escaping conviction.

Xi Jinping, in the past, has also stated he would try to reduce corruption by Chinese officials (China’s New Leader Formally Installed and Claims He Wants to Fight Corruption) and he even took the unusual step last month of encouraging the stopping luxury advertisements to attempt to reduce lust (China bans luxury ads in an attempt to fight corruption).

How effective the banning of advertisements and this latest restructuring will be to accomplish this can be debated. But it is interesting that the Chinese apparently have properly connected lust of the eyes with the sin of corruption. Notice some verses in the Bible that seem to do so:

16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. (1 John 2:16)

4…corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4)

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7)

It is quite true that governmental corruption is one of the significant risks that China’s government is now facing. Covetousness, lust, and corruption are wrong, and certainly is not limited to Chinese government officials. Of course, then, attempting to reduce “the lust of the eyes” could be helpful.

The Bible also teaches against those who take bribes:

3…they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice (1 Samuel 8:3).

9 Do not gather my soul with sinners,
Nor my life with bloodthirsty men,
10 In whose hands is a sinister scheme,
And whose right hand is full of bribes. (Psalms 26:9-10)

23…Everyone loves bribes,
And follows after rewards.
They do not defend the fatherless,
Nor does the cause of the widow come before them. (Isaiah 1:23)

12 For I know your manifold transgressions
And your mighty sins:
Afflicting the just and taking bribes;
Diverting the poor from justice at the gate. (Amos 5:12)

So, taking steps intended to reduce government officials from taking bribes is a positive step.

Yet it is not just officials taking bribes, etc. that upsets Chinese citizens.

China still has a major problem with pollution, and government corruption is part of the reason.  Notice the following pollution report:

BEIJING — River water turned red in an eastern Chinese city in recent days, sparking fears of another environmental crisis in China.  The incident is just the latest in a series of environmental scares for people in China.

Late last week, residents in Wenzhou, China, awoke to find the river running through their city a crimson shade of red. Some also complained of an acrid smell in the air.  The local environmental protection bureau investigated the incident and said they found no sign of discharge from the factories that line the river, including a paper manufacturer, food coloring company and clothing-maker…

While the river contamination may not be the sign of the end of times, environmentalist Ma Jun said it signifies a crucial time in China’s fight against pollution.

“So I think the next 20 years will be quite critical.  The government needs to make efforts to reduce pollution to provide a safe and healthy environment for this generation,” Ma stated.

The river water change is the latest of several environmental incidents in China.  In 2012, the Yangtze river also turned red from illegal dumping by a nearby factory, and last year more than 2,000 dead pigs were found floating through a river in Shanghai.  China’s government has also identified several hundred so called “cancer villages,” where the rates of cancer are unusually high due to industrial pollution.

Pollution, a growing problem

Ma said there are more than 1,700 water pollution incidents in China every year.

“China is facing a serious water pollution challenge.  Much of our rivers, lakes and even our aquifers are polluted. Especially in the densely populated regions. This has posed a serious risk.  Up to 300 million residents don’t have access to safe drinking water,” said Ma.

Earlier this year Chinese Premier Li Keqiang vowed to wage war on pollution.  Environmental activists say that war will depend on enforcement of existing Chinese laws, which would be welcomed by the residents of Wenzhou, where 80 percent of the water off of the city’s coast is considered polluted.

This pollution affects everyone’s health, thus could be a rallying point for protests against the Chinese government. Corruption hurts people.

Presuming its problems are not solved, China likely will have more civil unrest (it currently has some in some parts of the country), and at some point likely massive civil unrest. But, even taking small steps to reduce covetousness and make bribe-taking more difficult, could help some, especially if the amount of pollution can be reduced.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 1: Genesis and Chinese Characters Where did the Chinese people come from? This article provides information showing that the Chinese peoples must have known about various accounts in the Book of Genesis up until their dispersion after the Tower of Babel.
China, Its Biblical Past and Future, Part 2: The Sabbath and Some of God’s Witness in China When did Christianity first come to China? And is there early evidence that they observed the seventh day sabbath?
Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for Asia? Who are the “Kings of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Chinese, Russians, Indians, and others of Asia? China in prophecy, where? Who has the 200,000,000 man army related to Armageddon?
The Bible, Christians, and the Environment How should Christians view the environment? Does the Bible give any clues? What are some of the effects of air, water, and land pollution? Is environmental pollution a factor in autism and death? Do pollutants seem to double the autism risk? What will Jesus do? A YouTube video is available titled Air Pollution, Autism, and Prophecy.
CCOG.ASIA We in the Continuing Church of God also have the url which has a focus on Asia and has various articles in Mandarin Chinese as well as some in English, plus some items in other Asian languages. 我们在继续神的教会也提供此网址, 关注于亚洲并且有各种各样的中英文文章,其中一些用菲律宾语翻译的文章也正在进行中,准备添加到这个网站中。 HHere is a link to our Statement of Beliefs in Mandarin Chinese 继续神的教会的信仰声明.

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