Group says China deporting missionaries

China Aid Association
Group says China deporting missionaries
By ALEXA OLESEN Associated Press Writer

(BEIJING – July 10, 2007) China has kicked out more than
100 suspected foreign missionaries in a campaign to prevent
proselytizing ahead of next year’s Beijing Summer Olympics, a U.S.
monitoring group said Tuesday.

The government launched “a
massive expulsion campaign of foreign Christians” in February dubbed
Typhoon No. 5, said the China Aid Association, based in Midland, Texas.

foreigners, mostly from the United States, South Korea, Singapore,
Canada, Australia, and Israel, were expelled or deported between April
and June, the group said.

It said the campaign was believed
to be part of “efforts to prevent foreign Christians from engaging in
mission activities before the Beijing Olympics next year.”
China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment late Tuesday.

mission groups from around the world say they plan to quietly defy the
Chinese ban on foreign missionaries and send thousands of volunteer
evangelists to Beijing next year. Evangelicals worked the crowds at the
Olympics in Athens, Sydney and Atlanta but the groups say the Beijing
Games offer an opening like no other, in a communist country that
conservative Christians have long reviled.

Susan Stevenson,
a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy, said the embassy had “heard some
reports of deportations,” but could give no details, citing privacy

China bans open proselytizing and harasses, fines
and jails Christians worshipping outside the Communist Party-controlled
official church. Despite that, millions more Chinese Christians
continue to meet independently and carry out missionary work such as
distributing leaflets at markets, train stations and other public

Foreign faithful who live in China are often able
to evangelize privately while working as English teachers, humanitarian
workers or in business.

The Aid Association said foreigners
expelled had been either working in or visiting Beijing, the far
western region of Xinjiang, Tibet or the eastern coastal province of

It cited an American who has lived in Xinjiang
for 10 years as saying that 60 foreign religious workers were expelled
from the heavily Muslim region alone.

Jean-Paul Wiest, a
Beijing-based expert on Chinese Catholicism, said he had not heard of
mass deportations of missionaries but would not be surprised if it was

“I’ve not heard of that … but it’s not too surprising if they are preaching,” Wiest said. “It’s supposedly not allowed here.”

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

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