ChinaAid Responds to World Evangelical Alliance's Statement on their Visit to China

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18, 2009
Last Update: December 20, 2009

CHINAAID--After much prayer and discussion with members of fellow evangelical organizations, ChinaAid issues the following response to the statement issued by the World Evangelical Alliance concerning churches in China, on Wednesday, November 24th. (ChinaAid does not claim to represent the entire evangelical community, but is compelled by our calling to speak truth in love to our Christian brothers and sisters).:

Statement on the World Evangelical Alliance's Report on Meetings with Church Leaders in China, issued by ChinaAid Association

December 18, 2009

In response to requests from concerned Chinese House Church leaders and respected Christian leaders in the west regarding the statement issued by World Evangelical Alliance(WEA) on November 24 after an official trip to China, ChinaAid  feels compelled to respond with the following statement:

While we affirm WEA's sincere intentions to serve the Church in China, ChinaAid believes that the WEA's public statement about their visit with TSPM leaders and Chinese government leaders has contributed to a misleading assessment about the true situation of the church in China.

In November, the leaders of the World Evangelical Alliance met with leaders of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) church and other state-run national church organizations in Beijing, Nanjing, and other provinces.  These organizations in China shared their assessment of the "vibrancy and health" of the state-led church movement in the nation of China. In this overtly positive assessment, there was no acknowledgement of the existence and current deteriorating condition of the more than 80 million believers in China who have chosen, often with dangerous and uncertain consequences, to worship outside the state-sanctioned religious system. WEA's issued statement on this visit to China would lead the international community to believe that the Christian church is alive and well--free to worship under the atheist communist system. This over-simplifies a far more complicated situation for Christians living under communist-rule in China. 

While it is certainly the WEA's prerogative to only meet with national, state-sanctioned and Three-Self church leaders, their failure to mention 80 million faithful Christians who are clearly the majority of Chinese Christian population and meet in house churches and rented offices, has compromised the cause of the suffering church in China. Faithful house church prisoners who number in the thousands are grieved by WEA's statement. 

The WEA is indeed free to choose to work with the Chinese government sanctioned TSPM/CCC organizations and  the Chinese government agencies as they will. We acknowledge there are true brothers and sisters leading faithful lives who attend the state churches. We are simply calling into question the very misleading signal and discouraging sign sent by what the WEA statement chose not to say in their statement. Believers around the world were misinformed by WEA not mentioning the reality of brutal persecution of house church Christians still pervasive throughout China.

ChinaAid embraces its mission to expose the truth where many others refuse to bring the hard realities to light. We believe WEA should speak up when 50,000 members of evangelical Linfen Church in Shanxi were attacked, with over 30 fellow brothers and sisters wounded, in a government organized and sanctioned early morning attack on September 13, 2009;

We believe the WEA should not neglect the injustice  as when the ten leaders of Linfen Church in Shanxi were sentenced to long imprisonment and labor camps this November 25th and 30th for practicing their faith;

We believe the WEA should communicate in their public statement that the banning of Wanbang Missionary Church in Shanghai and subsequent illegally detention and abuse of pastors in October are in violation against China's own Constitution and also international norms on religious freedom;

We believe the severe 15-year sentence with trumped-up charges against a fellow evangelical Xinjiang Uighur believer, Brother Alimujiang Yimiti, in December should warrant a public protest from the WEA leaders.

We believe this silence is regrettable and even unjustifiable.

We call on our evangelical brothers and sisters around the world to open their eyes and see the true situation for the church in China--the good and the bad. It is only then that we can truly serve our brothers and sisters with compassion, and fulfill our calling to encourage the body of Christ.

Read the "WEA Leaders conclude historic meetings in China" article from November 24th, in English or Chinese.

CORRECTION: In the original press release on our response to the WEA's Statement on their visit to China, we informed readers that we consulted with members of the Religious Liberty Partnership with our concerns. While that is true, ChinaAid's statement does not represent RLP leadership nor should be seen as an endorsement from RLP. We have thus made appropriate adjustments to the release.

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