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Wang Zhiming

Thought little is known of his early life, we do know

that Wang Zhiming was born in 1907, a year after Christian missionaries had come to Wuding in China converting much of the local Miao population. By 1949, nearly 20% of the total Christians in China could be found in Yunnan province. After education in Christian schools, he was elected chairman of the church council and officially ordained in 1951.

When the cultural revolutions bega, Wang initially accommodated the new communist government by signing the Three Self Manifesto. The Red guard attempted to force him into humiliating local landlords and other intellectuals, but he refused saying:

"My hands have baptized many converts, and should not be used for sinfulness".

Declared a counter-revolutionary, Wang was arrested with at least 21 other leaders in Wuding between 1969 and 1973 and viciously beaten. In prison, at the age of sixty-six the Red Guard officially condemned him to death. On December 29th, 1973, in front of a crowd of nearly 10,000 people, he was publicly executed. The crowd of Christians rushed the stage immediately afterwards, with the prosecuting official beaten and assaulted violently. The Chinese government would later try to pay 1,300 yuan to the family. Much like the early Christian church in Rome, the persecution and martyrdom of Wang exploded the local Christian population - In 1973 there were 2,795 Christians in Wuding - by 1980 it was officially 12,000. Today there are over 30,000 with over 100 different churches and worship houses.

The only monument known to commemorate a Christian killed in the Cultural Revolution was erected in 1981 in Wuding. A carving at the bottom of the statue reads:

"They will rest from their labours for their deeds follow them".

In July 1998, a statue was unveiled above the west entrance to Westminster Abby.

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