Official China Church Leader Defends Bible Exhibition
ICC NOTE: Rev. Deng concludes that the government has not only permitted registered churches to print Bibles, but has also helped unregistered churches recieve them. According to this Chinese church leader, freedom of religion does exist in China and religious persecution rarely occurs.
ATLANTA Amid criticism from evangelicals and persecution watchdogs over the China Bible Ministry Exhibition sponsored by the government-sanctioned church in China , a top China church leader openly admitted that the exhibition is “propaganda” as many say it is.
“Yes, if they (opponents of the Bible exhibition) say the exhibition is propaganda, I would admit that, said the Rev. Deng Fucun, residential vice-chairperson of the National Committee of Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China , on Monday at Atlanta s Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church.
However, it is propaganda of Gods grace and blessings in China . We count Gods blessings. Whats wrong with that?” he asked.
The China Bible Ministry Exhibition in Atlanta , which opened last Friday at Second-Ponce de Leon and concludes today, is the exhibitions second appearance in the United States following the first in Los Angeles from late April to early May. Sponsored by the China Christian Council and the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (CCC/TSPM), the exhibition is themed “A Lamp to My Feet, A Light to My Path – Bible Ministry Exhibition of the Church in China and reveals the evolution of Bible printing in the People’s Republic of China.
Many evangelicals have criticized the CCC and TSPM for misleading people in the West with reports that only show partly the situation of the Church in China , as many believe that some millions of house church Christians are under persecution. Some have even refused to recognize CCC/TSPM as part of the Christian body because it is allegedly used by the Chinese Communist Party to control religious affairs for its political agenda.
Furthermore, reports claim that the communist state does not only interfere in the internal affairs of the Church, but in some parts of China, government officials continue to forcefully control, monitor and restrain the activities of all religious communities including house church Protestants and underground Roman Catholics. Moreover, according to reports, prominent religious leaders and adherents alike continue to suffer from confinement, torture, disappearances, imprisonment, and subjection to other forms of ill treatment due to their religious beliefs.
When asked about the persecution against house churches, Deng also argued that persecution may exist in some rural areas due to the miscommunication between the officials and the Central government concerning religious policies.
“But if you look at China as an overall picture, the mainstream is that the government does allow religious freedom,” Deng claimed.
In response to claims that Bibles are only for the registered churches, Deng said that they have helped unregistered churches and gave examples of how they distribute Bibles to them.