China Aid July 2014 Newsletter

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Greetings from Asia. As I write this short note to you, I am still traveling on the road in Asia after facilitating a successful training of more than pastors and Christian leaders from China. The training is focused on how Chinese Christians should be equipped with both the Gospel and cultural mandates in preparation for facing the various challenges of the society in China today: escalated persecution, massive corruption, power abuses, irreconcilable social tension, and enormous injustice, just to name a few.

Christians in the Scripture are called to be the “salt and light” of the world so that darkness will retreat under the shining of true “light” and corruption will be reduced with tasteful “salt.” Yet many Christians in China feel helpless and even confused. They are helpless because among thousands of foreign mission organizations working in China, they rarely hear any biblical teachings on how Christians should respond to these social challenges of the day (many organizations choose to engage on non-risky topics such as “education, bible studies, discipleship or counseling,” which are important topics, of course). They are confused because some churches and mission organizations even suggest Chinese Christians should not engage in discussion on the so-called non-spiritual “politically sensitive” issues such as religious freedom, rule of law, and social justice. Facing both external and internal challenges, many Chinese church leaders have requested that we clarify these issues by providing biblical trainings.

The Scripture has actually touched on this issue clearly: He hath shown thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)

My mentor, the late missionary and theologian Dr. Jonathan Chao once predicted that “by 2025, there will be freedom to evangelize and build seminaries in China. By then, hundreds of ‘underground’ seminaries and thousands of training centers will emerge. If well-equipped trainers and funds are in place, hundreds and thousands of Christ-followers from all over the country will flock into seminaries to receive comprehensive theological training and solidify local churches. The best talents in the country will enter into society from church. Can you imagine how that will impact China?” (“Embracing the Challenge of Chinese Missions in the 21st Century” by Dr. Jonathan Chao)

My question is not when China will become the country with the world’s largest number of Christians, but, instead, are Christians, both inside and outside of China, ready for the challenges when that time inevitably comes? Hundreds of thousands of leaders will need to be prepared and equipped thoroughly. It will not be possible without the generous support of friends and partners like you and the earnest response of Chinese churches. We are convinced that all of our investments are worthwhile in order to make this mission to take root and thrive in China, to spur all Chinese Christians to take actions in defending their freedom of religious belief, and to build a “city on the hill” and participate in the global missionary movement.

What Dr. Jonathan Chao envisioned, such as the evangelization of the Chinese People, the kingdomization of the church, and the Christianization of the Chinese culture, will certainly bring a great revival to China, have a profound impact on Chinese society, make an indelible contribution to the Great Commission of spreading the Gospel to the corners of the world, and leave a glorious mark by the Chinese people in the history of global church. May God honor this vision. Amen!

Court sentences TSPM pastor to 12 years

Pastor Zhang Shaojie was photographed
 during a visit with his previous lawyer
Liu Weigo on Jan. 15, 2014.
(Nanle County, Henan—July 4, 2014) Zhang Shaojie, the pastor of the Nanle County Christian Church, was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined 100,000 yuan (US $16,113) on July 4, Beijing time, by the Nanle County People’s Court in China’s central Henan province.

“This verdict is totally unacceptable,” Bob Fu, China Aid founder and president, said. “The so-called core evidence was collected illegally based on a forced confession. Even the key witness, Ms. Li Cairen, has been held in an unknown black jail.

“This case shows the Chinese government continues to cover up religious persecution with fabricated criminal charges against an innocent church leader,” Fu said.

Zhang was detained on Nov. 15, 2013, when he met with Nanle County authorities in the church—a meeting that turned out to be a set-up in order to detain the pastor. Zhang was later charged with gathering a crowd to disrupt public order and fraud, both of which he was convicted. The alleged victim of fraud, Ms. Li Cairen, has been detained in an undisclosed location since Dec. 21, 2013, when police caught her attempting to hide from them at the Zhang household.

Zhang’s lawyers explained that when Li’s son was killed in a work-related accident in 2010, Zhang helped her negotiate a compensation package with her son’s employer. Authorities claim that Zhang then blackmailed Li for part of the payment. However, as the lawyers pointed out, there is no reason for the victim to be held in a black jail. It is this unusual detention that led lawyers to speculate that the testimony against Zhang was coerced.

Zhang’s wife and oldest daughter were allowed in the courtroom during the sentencing trial. Also present was Zhang Xinyun, who previous represented Zhang Shaojie. The Zhang family fired Zhang Xinyun after learning that he worked closely with the government. Authorities arranged for Zhang Xinyun to attend the hearing in order legitimize the sentence.

Zhejiang demolition campaign update: The number of churches affected by the demolition campaign currently underway in China’s coastal Zhejiang has reached 163. These churches have received demolition notices, had their crosses removed or covered, and/or had the church building demolished or repurposed, or a combination of the three. Please remember these Christians in your prayers!

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985