A Chinese church leader tells Americans that his country is allowing increased religious freedom.

As if opening another window to the West, Bishop K. H. Ting Guangxun and several dozen other church leaders in the People’s Republic of China hosted some 50 non-Chinese Christians at a recent five-day symposium on the church in China.

Ting (sometimes spelled Ding) told his visitors—most of them Americans—that Christians are finding increased freedom in the “new China” under the Communist government of Deng Xiaoping. He added that Chinese Christians are helping the country achieve its socialist goals.

The visitors who were asked to speak at the symposium were overwhelmingly from the evangelical-conservative camp, said participant Werner Burklin, executive director of the International Conference on Itinerant Evangelists to be held next year in Amsterdam. Former astronaut James Irwin, of the High Flight Foundation, spoke about his Christian faith; and Sam Wolgemuth, president emeritus of Youth for Christ International, spoke on prayer. United Methodist leader Joseph B. Kennedy, head of the U.S. China Education Foundation and one of the symposium’s organizers, presented a Western view of the Chinese church. Others gave summaries of church growth and missionary work around the world.

Ting, president of the China Christian Council and head of the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), China’s officially recognized Protestant body, described life in China under Communist rule. He restricted his comments to the period following the death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and the end of the infamous Cultural Revolution, during which Christians were harshly persecuted. Since 1979, when the government initiated ...

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