(As reported by Religious Intelligence)
By: George Conger.
A COALITION of Christian advocacy groups has issued a call to prayer for the persecuted Christian Churches of China following a meeting in Zurich on March 28.
The Zurich Statement “reaffirms the solidarity of the international Christian community with the Chinese faithful, especially the persecuted house church” movement, Bob Fu of the China Aid Association said. “We pray the true religious freedom in China will finally be realized soon.”
The members of the Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) noted that since the dark days of the Cultural Revolution there had been “advances in religious freedom in China” and that the Communist Party’s recent affirmation that “religious believers have an important role to play in the development of society” were welcome steps forward.
China’s burgeoning Christian population could not be considered a subversive foreign element, the Zurich Statement said, as Chinese Christians were “law-abiding citizens” committed “to the development of the nation of China.”
Official statistics published by China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) state there are 10 million Protestants and 4 million Catholics in China. However, China Aid reports the number of unofficial Christians being 10 times as large.
In a briefing for Community Party cadres and academics held last year in Peking, SARA director Yie Xiaowen reported there were 110 million Protestants and 20 million Catholics in China at the close of 2006. In 1949 there were an estimated 750,000 Chinese Protestants, many of whom subsequently fled to Taiwan and Hong Kong following the defeat of Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist forces.