The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Wang Zhiming (1973)
Wang Zhiming was the pastor of a church in Wuding County in the Yunnan region of China during the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, in which the authorities sought to eliminate religion from the country. Churches were closed, Bibles destroyed and Christians forced to meet in secret. Between 1969 and 1973 at least 21 Christian leaders in Wuding were detained; many of them were sent to camps, denounced or beaten. Zhiming was one of them; he was arrested, along with his wife and children, in May 1969 for criticizing the atheistic campaigns of the Red Guards. His wife was locked up for three years, two of his sons were detained for nine years and a third son reportedly committed suicide while in detention.
Zhiming was condemned to death and on 29 December 1973 he was publicly executed, aged 66, in front of a mass rally of around 10,000 people. The execution was intended to promote Chinese nationalism but led to riots among those who opposed such an act of cruelty.
In October 1980 Zhiming’s name was “rehabilitated” by party officials and the following year a memorial to the martyr was erected in Wuding County. It is the only monument known to commemorate a Christian killed in the Cultural Revolution. At the bottom it reads, “As the Scripture says of the Saints, ‘They will rest from their labours for their deeds follow them.’”
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my love; my Lord I pour
At thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for thee.
Frances R Havergal (1836-79)