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This made me think about the Laogai forced labor prisons in China (the "reform through labor" prisons). I have studied a lot about sweatshops and the like around the world and some of the worst that i have seen in a long time is these. what makes this so bad is not just that it is operated under a "no work, no food" system that puts the poor souls in such hazardous conditions, but that the bulk of them are there for political or religious beliefs and that these are state sanctioned environments. these prisons have become cash cows for not only the prisons but for the state as well. (for more info: http://www.boycottmadeinchina.org/en/why_boycott/rationale/direct_reasons/ ). It is heart breaking that many of our brothers and sisters being held in Chinese prisons for deciding to worship our God are forced to live such a horrible existence. Most of us don't think about that when we look for the bargains and buy these "cheaply made" items. Here in the US, Christmas time brings out the billions of Christmas tree lights that not only cover the trees but the houses, buildings, streets, and parks of our towns. It makes for a beautiful sight, but the biggest supplier of these lights is China.
I decided that i was going to boycott these lights and other items made in China and spread the word about these atrocities, but then i ran into an interesting debate. The counter to boycotting China made items is that it may do nothing to improve the live and may, in fact create a worse situation for our Chinese siblings. The arguement is that if we shut the door on trade with China or simply boycott all China made items, it may cause the human rights violations to increase. Spiritual leaders that promote this idea are Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, and the Dalai Lama who says that confrontation and isolation will not work, the best thing to do is to be a genuine friend.
Here are the problems i personally face with this:
do i boycott or not?
do i condemn the American and European companies who use Chinese labor to make their products or praise them for growing relations with China?
Do i condemn the UN for doing very little to bring attention to these things or praise them for doing little to bring to light the human rights violations?

i feel that so many of our problems would be solved if we adopted the simplisitc lifestyle of St. Francis.



Change will happen through living intentionally. When living on autopilot is no longer an option. When bringing "God-in-me" to everything I do, rather than inviting His participation only on Sunday mornings and major holidays.

Thanks for the link!!

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