The Daily News Tiananmen Square and Inner Peace
For months now, the media has focused on large protests in China. What’s taking place in Hong Kong now is eerily similar to what took place just before the massacre in the summer of 1989 at Tiananmen Square. It’s within that framework that this past week I’ve given some serious thought to The Daily News, Tiananmen Square, and Inner Peace.
As I was watching the coverage of these latest protests one of the news anchors reflected back on what happened in Tiananmen Square back in June of 1989. So I asked myself “What happened that day 30 years ago and why didn’t I know about it“?
I researched Tiananmen Square and I thought to myself; What could I have done about it even if I knew? How would it have affected my inner peace? Of course, I could have prayed, but other than that, let’s be honest, what could I do? Does that mean I bury my head in the sand? Of course not, but it doesn’t mean I have to be “tuned in” to world events 24/7. Between the tv, the iPad, the MacBook, and the iPhone, it is a constant bombardment of information, and much of it is sad and/or negative. I was reminded of how peaceful my life was those many years ago and how different things are now.
Why the people of Hong Kong are protesting now:
The daily news covering (along with references to Tiananmen Square) the protests we see now began as opposition to a now-shelved “extradition bill“. The bill would have allowed Hong Kong citizens to be sent to mainland China in the event they ever face a legal trial. Although the bill is dead the concern is that the Chinese government may restart the process. Some of the citizens are for the bill and, amazingly, some are against it. Some are worried that we may see a repeat of massive government intervention mirroring the Tiananmen Square horrors of 1989.
Millions of people in the streets.
Over the last few months, the protests have blossomed into “millions of people in the streets”. Alleged police brutality on August 11, 2019, led to the protesters shutting down the city’s international airport for 2 days! Bejing feels the anti-extradition goes against the “root” of Hong Kong *rule of law. The situation has begun to affect the economy, and officials in both Hong Kong and Beijing are becoming increasingly critical of the protestors. The extradition bill, although dead, is in reality only “suspended” and actions from BOTH protesters AND law enforcement are intensifying. Many people are wondering if this will be a repeat of 1989 Tiananmen Square’s horror of people being moved down by tanks. The protesters are not backing down. Bejing is not backing down. Here’s what the protesters want:
1. The extradition bill to be completely withdrawn (not suspended).
2. Don’t want to be called “rioters”
3. Arrested protesters released and exonerated.
4. An independent investigation into police brutality.
5. The resignation of Hong Kong’s “pro-Beijing” Carrie Lam, Chief Executive
*Backstory of the protest taking place now: Hong Kong was a colony of the United Kingdom. But in 1997, Britain handed Hong Kong back over to China and Hong Kong’s legal system was to remain like Britain. In other words, there are two justice systems inside one country, and the people in Hong Kong are supposed to be guaranteed freedoms that Chinese mainlanders do not receive.
Can the overconsumption of media (news) affect our inner peace?
The short answer is, “yes”, and my point is this:
DAILY, countless times daily, the news is replete with the misfortunes of people, places and things. Science now shows that along with poor diet, insufficient sleep, lack of exercise and even bad news can cause a rise in cortisol levels causing us stress which can lead to disease, even disease leading to death. We have apps like CALM, and countless meditation and spiritual channels to “fine-tune” our lives. Many people cope or escape by being overworked, and overplayed, or turn to drug or alcohol coping strategies. No matter what side of the aisle you are on, I hear so many people state how they can’t stand to turn on the tv anymore. It’s just so stressful!
Stress has ALWAYS been a part of the human condition and our Lord counseled us this way: Philippians 4:8, ESV: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
It may be time we rethink about how we spend our consumption of media.
It’s important to be well informed so that we can effectively vote and/or contribute to society. Thanks to technology, we can now learn about current events in 10 minutes time. Certainly, if I don’t understand something I can dedicate an hour or two once a week to research. Information overload can weigh us down and even, for some, be overwhelming. It may also not be the best use of our precious time.
Have we drifted away from the wisdom of God even as it applies to something as “seemingly innocent” as the daily news? God wants what is best for his children and his counsel to us in Phillippians is sound and the wise will heed it. Without heeding Philippians 4:8 we may be allowing the noise and chaos of the world to rob us of our joy. .
During the summer of 1989, I was busy making arrangements to begin my college studies to become a missionary. In the years prior to my decision to become a missionary, I did not own a tv and I listened to the radio often but rarely turned on the news. I spent a good portion of my spare time reading and studying and the news of the world did not interest me at all. I remember feeling a lot more peaceful back then. What changed?
Many things have changed, haven’t they? The one thing that remains the same is the source of our peace. God instructed us how to hold our peace, and it is we who must actively pursue it.
Peace be with you, it’s a peace that the world can not understand.
Being in a place of spiritual peace is the only way any believer can apply prayer for personal, individual or needs of the world.
So, yes … maybe it’s time to rethink how we spend our life and time.
May God bless you! Angela