Note: This is the latest in a series of articles on ChinaAid's report on persecution in China. Earlier this week, China Source's Brent Fulton and Open Doors's Jan Vermeer countered some of the conclusions of the report, noting that most Christians in the country do not claim they are being persecuted. Today, ChinaAid founder and president Bob Fu responds.
After reading the opinion pieces of Brent Fulton and Jan Vermeer, I have concluded that we have very different readings of the facts regarding persecution of "house church" Protestantism in China.
The ChinaAid annual report states simply that the number of incidents of "persecution" increased in 2012 from the previous years, including a number of arrest, sentencing to labor camps, short term detentions, rape and torture in police custody, destruction and confiscation of property, beatings, fines, the loss of jobs or business licenses, and police intimidation. We believe these to be egregious and severe violations of the international freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief that warrant the attention of the worldwide Christian church, human rights advocates, and policy-makers.
The mission of ChinaAid is to highlight such abuses and assist the faithful in China to deal with their situation, particularly the members of a fast growing "house church" movement who are technically illegal (or abnormal in Chinese legal parlance) because of their refusal to join the government-approved "Three Self Protestant Movement" (TSPM). Most Protestants in the "house church" movement have vast theological differences with the TSPM and view its leadership as complicit in past and ongoing persecution. Even Vietnam, ...1