“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”—Mark Twain – American Writer
This week in China, dozens of protests have erupted in several cities calling for the end of harsh lockdowns due to the government’s zero-tolerance Covid policy. The Guardian reported that last week, in the most recent of many incidents at least 10 people were killed in a building fire in Urumqi, Xinjiang. The building had been under lockdown for about 100 days, and people blamed the lockdown for the deaths. Protestors are calling for the resignation of Communist party leader Xi Jinping. They are also endangering their lives to make demands for democracy, press freedom, and an end to online censorship in the Communist country. News sources say this type of civil disobedience is reminiscent of the student rallies held in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989. RESISTANCE is the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.
Except in this case the argument is no argument. In the face of censorship, potential imprisonment or worse—the resistance has chosen a form of silent protest called the blank paper remembrance movement. They hold sheets of white paper up, some in front of their faces, to express their opposition, “The white paper represents everything we want to say but cannot say,” one young protester at Beijing’s Liangma River told Reuters. “Do we say anything on the paper? No. All accusations are in our hearts. All thoughts are in our hearts.”
Silence can present a powerful resistance. In a world where the loudest, most verbose orators and pundits are placed in positions of influence and authority; sometimes the earth groans for the integrity of silence. To me, one of the most impressive statements about the coming Messiah was made by the prophet Isaiah, “He was oppressed and afflicted (treated harshly), yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7, NLT)Despite the vitriolic words and savage treatment He received, our Lord Jesus Christ saved the entire world riding on the vehicle of silence.His silent love overcame the hatred of those who sought to kill Him. The quiet rumblings of three days in the grave exploded to a revolutionary victory that has resounded with the sound of freedom for thousands of years, for billions of people. It will echo for ages to come. Perhaps your next tactic might be silent resistance. Prayers for the citizens of China.