House Church Leaders Visit Chinese Government’s Bible Exhibition, Call for Exhibit to Tour ChinaWednesday, November 2, 2011
China Aid Association
(Dallas Texas–Nov. 2, 2011) Three former Chinese house church leaders on Wednesday called a Chinese government exhibit of Chinese Bibles currently touring the United States a propaganda ploy to mislead the American public into believing that there is freedom of religion in China.
The three former house church leaders, all of whom were imprisoned in China for their religious beliefs, were visiting the exhibition “Thy Word is Truth” on the campus of Dallas Theological Seminary, where it is on display from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3 before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina. It had earlier been in Washington, D.C. and Chicago. (See ChinaAid’s commentary about this exhibition at: http://www.chinaaid.org/2011/10/chinese-bible-exhibition-is-political.html)
Shi Weihan, who served a three-year prison term for printing and transporting Bibles in China, said after viewing the Bible exhibit, “I hope that one day this Bible exhibition can also tour every city in China.” (Photo: Shi Weihan, Liu Zhenying and Bob Fu at the entrance of the Bible exhibit “Thy Word is Truth” in Dallas. ChinaAid photo)
Shi, who escaped to the United States earlier this year, added, “I wish I could have the right to print and transport Bibles without having to worry about being sentenced to another three-year prison term.” A woman believer charged in the same case is still in prison and won’t finish her sentence until next May.
Shi on Tuesday was part of a ChinaAid delegation led by ChinaAid founder and president Pastor “Bob” Xiqiu Fu that presented to former President George W. Bush pages from a Chinese Bible hand-copied by house church Christians imprisoned in a labor camp in China. The gift is to be part of The Freedom Collection at The George W. Bush Institute in Dallas. (See http://www.chinaaid.org/2011/11/chinaaid-donates-bible-hand-copied-by.html)
(Photo: Laura Bush, George W. Bush and Bob Fu hold the hand-copied Chi
nese Bible donated by ChinaAid to The George W. Bush Institute. ChinaAid photo)
The three house church leaders, including Fu, engaged Bible exhibit personnel in conversation, trying to show what a misleading picture the exhibit paints.
They asked why Bibles can only be purchased from bookstores at government-approved churches and are not available for sale at any other bookstores. The answer: “Because the funds for the printing is donated, and the agreement says the Bibles cannot be sold for profit.”
When further asked why Bible printing was only permitted at only one printing plant, the one that is a part of the government-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement Protestant church system, and no commercial enterprise are allowed to print the Bible, the exhibit personnel were unable to come up with an answer.
The three house church leaders also asked why China bans the printing of Bibles in three major ethnic minority languages—Tibetan, Mongolian and Uyghur. They were told that it was because if people from these minority groups wer found to be in possession of Bibles in their own language, they might be killed for it by members of their own minority group, which would lead to ethnic conflict.
The Chinese house church leaders said, “This logic is absurd.” They noted that Uyghur Christian Alimujiang was highly respected by fellow Uyghurs for responding with Christian virtue when people came to him looking for trouble. What later happened to Alimujiang is an example of the lack of religious freedom in China. He was originally arrested for “illegally spreading religion,” but because the government could not make the charge stick, it resorted to charging Alimujiang with “leaking state secrets to foreigners” and sentenced him to a 15-year prison term, which Alimujiang is currently serving at the No. 3 Prison in Urumqi, the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang.
The third house church leader, Minister Liu Zhenying, who was imprisoned for nine years before fleeing to Germany, questioned the need to bring a Bible exhibition to America. “What family in America hasn’t got a couple copies of the Bible at home?” he asked.
“You could take this kind of Bible exhibit to countries like India where the Bible is not so common and donate some Bibles to them,” he added. “China should print large quantities of the Bible and give them as gifts to people, including giving large quantities of free Bibles to the Mongolians, Tibetans and Uyghurs.”
Fu said, “This exhibit is a failure. In a country like the United States where there is freedom of religion, people know what the truth is. And to the Chinese people, this wild scheme is clear to all. We hope and pray to our Lord Jesus Christ that China’s house churches can soon be legally recognized, that all our brothers and sisters who are in prison for the sake of their faith would be quickly released, and that the Bible in China could be freely printed and transported. May the whole world see this come to pass!”
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