Oct. 2, 2013
|Taiwanese legislators at the hearing.|
On the morning of Sept. 12, at the invitation of Taiwanese Legislative Yuan legislator Ms. Chiu-chin Tien and Mr. Yang Hsien Hung, director of Taiwan’s Association for China Human Rights, Chinese house church missionary Guo Baosheng testified at a hearing before Taiwanese senior officials from the Taiwan government’s National Immigration Agency, Mainland Affairs Council, National Security Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of the Interior and other departments about persecution of house churches in mainland China, the infiltration into Taiwan by the Chinese Communists’ Three-Self Patriotic Movement and the truth about the United Front. Below is the complete transcript of his testimony:
Legislators, government officials and media reporters, hello!
My name is Guo Baosheng and I was born in 1972. In 1990, I tested into the Department of Philosophy at China People’s University. I became a Christian in 2004. In 2008, I went into exile in the United States because I could not endure the Chinese government’s persecution and harassment. As a house church missionary from 2004 to 2008, I had personal experience of the Chinese authorities’ endless persecution of house churches.
I. My personal experience and testimony
I was baptized in Beijing not long after I became a Christian in 2004, and later attended house church meetings at a house church in Beijing called Tiansi Church. Our church did not have a fixed worship site. Initially, the gatherings were held in the home of the pastor. Then, the neighborhood committee reported us to the authorities and we were forced to hold our worship service in a rented home in a residential complex in Beijing. However, this meeting site was also reported, and our church went to meet in a small room in a restaurant where, after hymns and the sermon, we would all have lunch and then leave. This situation continued even after I left China.
On the other hand, because of God’s grace, shortly after I put my faith in the Lord, I began to preach the Gospel in mainland house churches, and in four years, I travelled all over the country. I mainly preached on the Christian concept of “heavenly vocation” and the Christian values of “lamb culture” as contrasted with the “wolf culture” of the current economic arena and the “dragon culture” of the political arena in China. In fact, the lamb culture is the manifestation of Christian values in China’s economic, political and cultural arenas.
One day in November 2007, as I was giving a lecture to more than 70 believers in a house church in Dongguan, more than 20 uniformed Dongguan police officers with video cameras suddenly burst in and surrounded the meeting site. After I had continued speaking for half an hour with the police officers standing around the venue, several brothers came up and told me to end the meeting quickly, so we prayed and finished. The other members of the congregation were dismissed while I and several key members of the local church were forcibly dragged by the police to the local police station for interrogation. During the interrogation, they said that I was not a government-designated missionary and furthermore that I was engaged in cross-regional missionary work, which is illegal. I used logic to defend myself and, in the end, the several of us were released.
Thereafter, many of my evangelistic sermons and lectures in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Tianjin and other places were pre-emptively banned. Beginning in 2007, police officers from the local police station (Jiangtai Police Station in Beijing’s Chaoyang District) came to my home repeatedly to question me and to interview me, especially around the time of the Olympic Games, when they came to my home eight times. To get away from the Olympic Games, our whole family went to a church in Singapore during the time the Games were held. While we were in Singapore, we learned that a Christian organization in Singapore was infiltrated by a woman spy from the Guangdong Public Security Department who appeared to be very devout. In the end, she was found out only because she sent a work report to the wrong email address. This special agent inflicted great harm to China’s house churches during her half-year infiltration.
Meanwhile, as my influence in the house churches grew ever larger, I also became a target of the Three-Self’s United Front work [Editor’s note: “United Front” is a loaded political term that goes back to the Communist Party’s revolutionary beginnings when it used “persuasion” to achieve cooperation with non-Communist groups]. High-ranking Three-Self pastors often called me on the phone to invite me to give sermons in their churches. After we had a certain amount of contact, they began to ask me to do some United Front work, which I refused.
Fed up with the harassment, I went to the United States to study in a seminary, and after graduating, I am now a pastor in a Chinese church. The main purpose of my coming to Taiwan this time is to unite Taiwan church organizations to jointly boycott the “Cross-Straits Christianity Forum” to be held in Taiwan by the Chinese Communists’ State Administration for Religious Affairs and the Three-Self. On August 30, we held a press conference in the press room of the Legislative Yuan on “Fake Religion, Genuine United Front—A Criticism of the Cross-Straits Christianity Forum.” Today, in addition to continuing to discuss the Cross-Straits Christianity Forum, my main purpose in holding this public hearing is to warn you that the Chinese Communists will take advantage of the “Cross-Straits Agreement on Trade in Services” (hereinafter referred to as Trade in Services Agreement) to infiltrate Taiwan and to aggressively engage in United Front work and spy activities.
II. “Trade in Services Agreement” and the Cross-Straits Christianity Forum.
The “Trade in Services Agreement” signed on June 21, 2013 is a “treaty signed with the enemy at the gate” by which the Chinese Communists will engage in economic United Front work and prepare for a large-scale invasion of Taiwan. No matter how much economic interests and actual benefits it will bring to Taiwan, it will not change in the least the true nature of the Chinese Communists in using this to infiltrate Taiwan. If the agreement is implemented, it will enable more spies to sneak into Taiwan under various guises to provide intelligence to the Chinese Communists, engage in United Front work and buy off the people of Taiwan. This is a real threat to the security of Taiwan. And the Chinese government’s official churches, the Three-Self Church, will also use the Trade in Services Agreement to establish in Taiwan many churches that belong to the Three-Self, using religion to engage in their forte of deception and buying [people] off .
In fact, even before the Trade in Services Agreement was signed, a large number of spies had already infiltrated Taiwan. Let me give you an example: Right now, I participate in the ministry of an evangelistic organization in Taiwan that is dedicated to preaching the Gospel to China; I’ve been doing this since about 2004. In 2004, before and after the death of one of the leaders of this organization (a well-known Christian much hated by the Chinese Communists), this organization was harassed by Chinese Communists spies for a long time, and the Chinese Communists spies tailed and stalked people from this organization on many occasions, taking photos and videos. Fed up with the harassment, the members of this organization collected evidence and had no choice but to report it to Taiwan’s state security departments, which confirmed that [these people] were not from Taiwan and really were Chinese Communist spies. A state security official reportedly personally said to the person in charge of the organization: “Chinese Communist spies like this currently in Taiwan number nearly 3,000.”
The Chinese Communists are the enemy of Christianity, but they actually use Christianity to engage in United Front work and in infiltrating Taiwan. The purpose of using Christianity for their United Front work is: to cover up the truth of persecution of Christians on mainland China, to suppress Taiwanese organizations and individuals who are truly advancing the development of Christianity in China, to assist the Chinese Communists’ agents in Taiwan’s Christian circles, and to engage in religious spy activities, [thus] threatening religious freedom in Taiwan and Taiwan’s national security. The Taiwanese government should pay sufficient attention to the Christian United Front of the Chinese Communists.
For example, this “Cross-Straits Christianity Forum” that was held from August 27 to 29 was regarded by the Taiwanese government as similar to a people-to-people exchange or a dialogue within religious circle. To the Chinese government, however, this was the accomplishment of an entirely political task. You should have noticed that the news about this forum first appeared on China’s CCTV and the websites for Xinhua, the Department of United Front Work, the State Administration for Religious Affairs and Chinese Communist Party members. Early this year, the State Administration for Religious Affairs’ “Important Work in 2013” said as clear as black-and-white that: “The key point in our work for Taiwan is guiding the two organizations [China Christian Council and Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee] of China and the people in Taiwan’s Christian circles in jointly holding the Cross-Straits Christianity Forum of 2013 in Taiwan.” The Chinese Communists even see Taiwan’s Christian circles as the object of their guidance; their United Front intention is obvious.
Furthermore, in April of this year, Jiang Jianyong, deputy director of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs, said when he met the “Taiwan Pastors Delegation” that he hoped the “Cross-Straits Christianity Forum” would make an even greater contribution to the great revitalization of the Chinese nation. The Chinese Communists’ State Administration for Religious Affairs actually already regards Christianity in Taiwan as helping the realization of a United Front. Clearly what was called the Cross-Straits Christian Forum was indeed a political task of the Chinese government and the Communist Party and certainly was not a religious people-to-people exchange.
III. The nature of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee as a spy organization.
The Taiwanese government should know that the Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee that came to participate in this Forum is a religious spy organization directly controlled by the Chinese Communists and is not a church. Similar religious organizations are the government-sanctioned Buddhist Association, Islamic Association, etc. The Three-Self Committee is a political organization that works for the Communist Party. The resolution from the second “National Three-Self Conference” in 1961 points out that the Three-Self’s mission is to: 1. raise high the anti-imperialist and patriotic banner; 2. accept the leadership of the Communist Party; 3. actively participate in production; 4. strengthen exposure of all illegal house church activities. To date, there have been no change to these four tasks.
Not a few high-ranking pastors in the Three-Self are members of the Communist Party, and among them are even some who serve as important cadres in the Chinese Communists’ overseas spy organizations. For example, Li Chuwen, who served as deputy director of Hong Kong branch of the Xinhua News Agency from 1983 to 1988, served as senior pastor of the Shanghai Community Church without break since he took up the post in 1950. His status as a Communist Party member came to light when he was beaten by Red Guards in 1966 during the Cultural Revolution.
Zhao Fusan, vice president of the Beijing Three-Self, took up the post of party secretary of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in the late 1980s. The official Chinese government biography of Fu Xianwei, the Three-Self Committee president who came to Taiwan this time, makes no mention of his experiences of becoming a believer or of baptism or pastoral service in any church. He is obviously a high-ranking political cadre who was dropped into the Christian circles from on high to head up leadership work.
The Three-Self Committee in the Chinese mainland has always worked in conjunction with the State Administration for Religious Affairs and the Public Security Bureau in suppressing house churches, and it has become a henchman in persecuting religious freedom. For example, when believers from Beijing Shouwang Church who take part in outdoor worship are detained and taken to the Public Security Bureau, one of the interrogators is a police officer and the other is a Three-Self pastor. The overseas task of the Three-Self Committee is to cover up the truth about persecution of religious freedom and to create the false appearance that there is religious freedom in China. At present, the persecution of Christian house churches by the Chinese Communists is growing, not diminishing. Recent examples are Beijing Shouwang Church, the Christian Assembly Hall in Ye County, Henan [province], Enyu Bookstore in Taiyuan, Shanxi [province] and others. The Three-Self however never mentions a word about these religious cases and only talks about how the Gospel is now promoting social harmony, etc., etc.
Another overseas task of the Three-Self is to deny the existence of house churches, to blacken their name and to conceal them. As early as September 2010, on his first visit to Taiwan, Wang Zuoan, director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, denied the existence of house churches and gave irrelevant answers when he was asked about them during talks with Christian pastors. In November 2011, during an interview on the Phoenix TV program “Mainland Q&A”, he said: “I myself don’t recognize any such house churches. This issue does not exist.”
In November 2011, Fu Xianwei, president of the Chinese Communists’ Three-Self Committee, spoke with Taiwan’s Christian circles at the “Cross-Straits Pastoral and Theological Symposium” organized by the Taiwan Dandelion Hope Foundation. According to the Christian Tribune, Fu Xianwei said in response to questions raised by some Taiwanese pastors about house churches: “In China, the concept of house churches does not exist. There are only Chinese Christian churches.”
At the opening ceremony of Cross-Straits Christianity Forum held at the end of August 2013, Fu Xianwei delivered an address in which he conveyed greetings to Taiwan’s Christians on behalf of 23 million Christians in mainland China. As everyone knows, the number 23 million is only the number of Christians in the Three-Self churches, while the number of Christians in house churches is several times that of the Three-Self churches. When Fu Xianwei said he represented 23 million believers, he had obviously cast the more than 60 million house church Christians outside the Cross-Straits Christianity Forum, totally ignoring these Christians and acting as if they don’t exist. In the video clips on the Christian Daily website of Taiwan media interviewing Fu Xianwei, when he is asked the current number of Christians in mainland China, he actually said: “There are many Christians in mainland China. There are 23 million.”
IV. The Three-Self’s United Front work on Taiwan
The Three-Self’s United Front work on Taiwan began in 2010. On September 17, 2010, Wang Zuoan, director of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs, and his delegation came to Taiwan for talks with more than 100 pastors and elders from the Dandelion Hope Foundation and other Taiwanese Christian organizations. Ever since then, the mutual visits between the churches in Taiwan and China have continued without break, right up to the general elections and the Cross-Straits Christianity Forum. There were several larger-scale ones:
On November 14, 2010, Shan Weixiang, associate general-secretary of the China Christian Council and editor-in-chief of Heavenly Wind and his three-person delegation conducted a four-day visit of churches in Taiwan and met Wei Ti-hsiang, Chou Shen-chu and other pastors.
On March 14, 2011, the Xiamen Municipal China Christian Council and the Three-Self received a delegation of 22 people from the Kaohsiung Church of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. The churches from both sides of the Strait held a joint communion worship at Bamboo House.
From March 21 to 25, 2011, a delegation of Taiwanese pastors led by Wei Ti-hsiang and Hsia Chung-chien traveled to Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and other places and visited the United Front Work Department, the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the China Christian Council and the National Committee of Three-Self Patriotic Movement, and Nanjing Union Theological Seminary.
From November 21 to 26, 2011, Three-Self president Fu Xianwei met in Taipei with Wang Hsüeh-hung and then visited many churches in Taipei and Taichung. The Christian circles controlled by the Chinese Communists engaged in United Front work on Wang Hsüeh-hung (see the Three-Self publication Heavenly Wind Vol.1, 2012, p. 34). As a result, on the eve of Taiwan’s general elections, she was reciting the cross-straits policy of the Chinese Communists, which had a huge political impact.
On August 27, 2013, the Cross-Straits Christianity Forum formally opened in Taipei. The forum was attended by more than 200 people from China and Taiwan’s Christian circles.
The United Front [Work] of Christianity in Taiwan includes the splitting of Taiwan’s Presbyterian churches. From what I know, quite a few pastors of Presbyterian churches have been invited to visit mainland China since 2010. The Taiwanese natives who are deeply rooted in the Presbyterian Church have been roped in and bought off through various means by agents of the Chinese Communists. Some heads of Presbyterian seminaries have received numerous phone calls of invitation from China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs and the United Front Work Department.
One seminary head personally told me that the first phone call he received on the first day in office was from China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs. The caller congratulated him on his new job as the head of the seminary. As for this “Cross-Straits Christianity Forum,” even though the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church published a pastoral letter before the forum clearly stating that pastors and believers must not attend the forum, some pastors were still bought off by the United Front work and attended this forum anyway. The above clearly shows the Chinese Communists’ wiles and ulterior motives in their United Front work on Taiwanese Christians.
V. The Chinese Communists are training agents within Taiwan’s Christian circles
Wei Ti-hsiang of the Taiwan Dandelion Hope Foundation is one of the agents the Chinese Communists are training in Taiwan. He has organized several religious cross-straits exchanges. In addition to controlling the Dandelion Hope Foundation, he also controls media outlets including Dandelion, a free magazine with a huge circulation; Dandelion Hope Foundation’s Global Information Network website (http://www.dhf.org.tw); and Christian Daily (http://news.dhf.org.tw). These media outlets release a large amount of information beneficial to the Chinese Communist Party’s Three-Self Church and have become a window to confuse the Taiwanese people. It’s worth inquiring about and investigating the source of the funds for the Dandelion Hope Foundation and its media outlets.
Ouyang Chiali, head of Taiwan’s Christian Church of New Taipei City (台湾新北市基督教召会 [Editor’s note: Guo, in his references below to Ouyang’s church and denomination, uses a specific Chinese name 召会 that applies to churches established by Witness Lee; the term distinguishes them from other churches that also trace their roots to Watchman Nee’s “Little Flock” and which are variously known as The Local Church or Assembly Hall Church.]), is without doubt an agent of the Chinese Communists within Taiwan’s Christian circles. We know from some documents that the main task of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs in Taiwan for 2013 was to hold the Cross-Straits Christianity Forum and to suppress the “Almighty God.” [Editor’s note: this is a reference to the cult Eastern Lightening and its “Female Christ,” also known as “the Almighty God.”] Ouyang Chiali is both the most active organizer of the Cross-Straits Christianity Forum and has worked the hardest in suppressing the “Almighty God.” He is without doubt a loyal implementer in Taiwan of the Chinese Communists’ religious policy.
In recent years, Ouyang Chiali has reported frequently to Beijing’s United Front Work Department and the State Administration for Religious Affairs. Though we outsiders are not in the know, but we can see from his words and deeds in recent years that they are colluding with each other and working hand-in-glove to nefarious ends. Ouyang Chiali has denied time and again the fact that The Church he belongs to is considered a “cult” in mainland China and is persecuted. Sometimes, he pretends to be ignorant of the fact and sometimes he says The Church is not the Shouters. As everyone knows, The Church grew out of the indigenous Chinese church that Brother Watchman Nee founded in Fuzhou, China. In 1949, in order to avoid the church being totally annihilated, Watchman Nee sent his disciple Witness Lee to preach the Gospel in Taiwan. Witness Lee’s [believers] grew rapidly in Taiwan and North America and became The Church.
In 1983, the central government’s United Front Work Department, the Ministry of Public Security Bureau and the State Administration for Religious Affairs submitted their “Report on Handling the Problem of the so-called ‘Shouters’” to the Party’s Central Committee and it was put into effect upon approval by the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee. The report determined that the Shouters were created by the reactionary Witness Lee, who fled overseas, and that they are infiltrating China where they have linked up some [members] of the “Little Flock” and are growing in numbers. In 2000 and 2005, China’s Ministry of Public Security issued the “Notice of the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China on Various Issues Regarding Identifying and Banning Cult Organizations.” (Gong Tong Zi  No. 39, Gong Tong Zi  No. 39). The notice lists 14 cults and the Shouters is at the top of the list.
On April 14, 2012, authorities in Ye County in the city of Pingdingshan, Henan Province, arrested 52 people from the Shouters cult. After that, the Ye County Court in the trial of first instance convicted Han Hai and six other people for using a cult organization to undermine law enforcement. They were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three years to seven years, six months. The verdict in the trial of the first instance (2012 Ye Xing Chu Zi No. 203) says in black-and-white, “The Pingdingshan Municipal Domestic Security Protection Squad and Anti-Terrorism Branch have determined that Morning Revival, The Selected Works of Watchman Nee and The Recovery Version of the Bible are propaganda books for the ‘Shouters’ cult.”
If the elders of The Church of Taiwan were possessed of a conscience, they would consider it inappropriate to be in contact with mainland China’s government-sanctioned churches at a time when the Chinese Communists have yet to stop vilifying The Church and its books and to lift the conviction [of its members], and if there is contact, it should be to defend The Church and appeal on its behalf. Yet, has Ouyang Chiali done this? He not only fails to speak out on behalf of the persecuted Christians, but he also shakes hands in joy with the dictators who persecute The Church.
Ouyang Chiali vilifies the house churches in China as illegal and unregistered churches. In an exclusive interview in Guodu Web TV, Ouyang Chiali said: “Let the brothers and sisters in mainland China who meet in their homes understand that mainland China has already entered the era of rule of law and governance of the country according to law, [so they] should establish a law-abiding mindset. It would be very difficult to manage 1.36 billion people meeting in homes.” Was the illegal status of the house churches something the house churches themselves wanted? Who exactly is it who has made the house churches illegal?
Beijing Shouwang Church was the first house church to take the initiative in going to the government department for registering community groups to register, but what they got was the cold shoulder, and from then on, they’ve been under persecution. The policy of the authorities is not to let house churches become legal. Not only does Ouyang Chiali fail to criticize the authorities, but instead he denounces the victims. Where is the justice in this?
The denomination that Ouyang Chiali belongs to is regarded as a cult in mainland China, but he enthusiastically implements the religious policy of the Chinese Communists on Taiwan, convening conferences again and again all across Taiwan to suppress the newly emerging religious group—The Almighty God—that China’s Ministry of Public Security has designated a cult. According to many media reports, on April 23, 2013, Jiang Jianyong, deputy director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, met 25 people from what was called the “2013 Delegation of Taiwanese Christian Pastors.” In their meeting and exchanges, deputy director Jiang Jianyong praised the joint declaration made by various Christian denominations in Taiwan to reject the “Almighty God” cult.
It’s clear from this that Ouyang Chiali serves as the implementer of the Chinese Communists’ religious policy on Taiwan and has become the manager for the Chinese Communists’ of Taiwan’s Christian circles. As for the question of whether he betrayed national interests and jeopardized religious freedom in Taiwan, the relevant authorities in Taiwan should conduct an investigation and effectively prevent people like Ouyang Chiali from their next likely move.
VI. Suggestions for the Taiwanese government.
In a word, in the wake of the Three-Self’s United Front work in Taiwan, Taiwan’s national interests and religious freedom are under threat. If unchecked, the consequences are unimaginable. According to what we know, the Three-Self, Ouyang Chiali and others are closely discussing their next move—and that is the convening of the second “Cross-Straits Christianity Forum” as well as the implementation of plans for the Chinese Communists’ Three-Self to establish churches in Taiwan. None of this is groundless and I hope the relevant departments can pay close attention.
Finally, as a missionary of China’s house churches and a person fighting for human rights and religious freedom, I especially make the following appeals and suggestions to the Taiwanese government officials and media here:
1. The Taiwanese government should deny officials from China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs and high-ranking pastors from China’s Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee entry to Taiwan. This is because in China these organizations persecute [people for exercising] religious freedom and serve as the machine of the dictatorship in suppressing house churches. Overseas, they are spy organizations that engage in religious infiltration and United Front work and threaten religious freedom in Taiwan.
2. The Taiwanese government should investigate those people in Taiwan’s Christian circles who have close contacts with Chinese Communists’ Three-Self Committee and other religious spy organizations to see whether they receive funds from the Chinese Communists, and whether their actions endanger religious freedom in Taiwan and betray national interests.
3. The Taiwanese should invite persecuted believers from China’s house churches to visit Taiwan and expose the truth that the Chinese Communists are persecuting house churches and suppressing religious freedom so as to jointly guard against the Chinese Communists’ pervasive religious United Front work in Taiwan.
Thank you, everyone!