International Organizations Call for Religious Freedom and Global Prayer for China

China Aid Association
Photo: members of RLP at Zurich, Switzerland in March 2008
International Organizations Call for Religious Freedom and Global Prayer for China March 28, 2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (ZURICH, March 28, 2008) In a historic move, key organizations that work with the persecuted church around the world launched a global campaign calling for prayer for China. In what is called “The Zurich Statement,” the Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP), with member organizations that include China Aid Association, Open Doors International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the Voice of the Martyrs (Canada), and the Religious Liberty Commission of World Evangelical Alliance, have called the worldwide Christian community to pray for China during this Summer Olympics year.  The Zurich Statement acknowledges some important progress made in China over the past few decades and raises the hope that this will translate into the removal of remaining obstacles to the full expression of faith and an end to serious violations of religious freedom. In addition, the Statement recognizes potential of the Chinese nation as a significant political and economic force for the furtherance of regional and global peace. “This historic statement reaffirms the solidarity of the international Christian community with the Chinese faithful esp. the persecuted House Church, ” said Bob Fu who represents China Aid at the Zurich meeting, ” We pray the true religious freedom in China will finally be realized soon.” “The call for prayer is rooted in the fact that the RLP felt it was time to acknowledge some progress in China’s attitude toward religious liberty and also the part Christians play at all levels of Chinese society,” stated Mervyn Thomas, CEO of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, UK, and Chairman of the RLP leadership team. “There is still a very long way to go and religious freedom is something very alien to many Christians in China.  However Christians all over the world have been praying for their Chinese family for many years and I believe we are beginning to see the impact of those prayers today.””What a change we have seen in the nearly 30 years since my first visit to China,” said Johan Compajen of Open Doors International in Holland and a member of the RLP leadership team.  “In spite of many obstacles, the Church in China has multiplied.  What seemed impossible in the past has happened because around the world we joined the Chinese Christians in prayer and our Chinese brothers and sisters have been willing to pay the price for following Jesus.  If we continue to pray, we may be surprised by what God will do in the coming 30 years.”The Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) is a collaborative effort of Christian organizations focused on religious liberty. The RLP seeks to more intentionally work together in addressing advocacy and in raising the awareness of religious persecution globally. The current membership of the RLP is listed on the Zurich Statement. For more information about the Religious Liberty Partnership or the Zurich Statement, please contact Brian O’Connell:E-mail:  [email protected]
Phone: +1-425-218-4718;
Zurich Statement on the Church in China Issued by the Religious Liberty Partnership March, 2008 As members of the Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, we support the appeal of our brothers and sisters in China for the worldwide church to pray for the nation of China and the Chinese church at large in this Summer Olympics year. We specifically call on Christian denominations and organizations worldwide to take this appeal to their members in recognition that we are one body united in Christ. The RLP acknowledges:

  • The advances in religious freedom in China during the past four decades;
  • The commitment of Chinese Christians as law abiding citizens to the development of the nation of China;
  • The Communist Party’s recent affirmation that religious believers have an important role to play in the development of society. We hope and pray this will translate into the removal of remaining obstacles to the full expression of faith and an end to serious violations of religious freedom;
  • The courage and vibrancy of the church in China;
  • The potential of the Chinese nation as a significant political and economic force for the furtherance of regional and global peace.

We call on the worldwide church:

  • To encourage Christian denominations and organizations worldwide to take this call to prayer to their membership using resources provided by members of the partnership and others concerned with China.
  • To respond to the call of Chinese church leaders for prayer for full freedom to manifest their faith in China, the release of unjustly imprisoned Chinese Christians, and an end to discrimination and persecution of religious believers;
  • To recognize the desire expressed by church leaders for China to be a country full of love, justice, freedom and prosperity;
  • To support the God given mandate of the church in China, and its right to operate free from externally imposed agendas;
  • To pray for the church in China as she contributes to the development of a just and harmonious society, fostering integrity, moral and ethical living and caring for the vulnerable.

The RLP commits:

  • To pray, and mobilize our constituents to pray, in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, culminating in 24 hours of prayer on August 8, 2008 (08-08-08), the day of the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics.
  • To encourage other likeminded organizations to also promote and support this statement.

RLP Members (websites are listed, where appropriate, for prayer resources and additional information):

The Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) is a collaborative effort of Christian organizations focused on religious liberty. The RLP seeks to more intentionally work together in addressing advocacy and in raising the awareness of religious persecution globally. Members of the RLP are primarily involved (that is the majority of their time, personnel, and resources) with ministry to persecuted Christians and/or on religious liberty issues in whatever context and strategy. For more information on the Zurich Statement or on the Religious Liberty Partnership, contact Brian O’Connell, RLP Facilitator at: [email protected] © Issued by CAA on March 28, 2008.


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