China Aid Association
(Washington, D.C.–Feb. 4, 2011) A three-person Chinese house church delegation is in Washington this week where they took part in the annual National Prayer Breakfast with the U.S. president and participated in meetings and a seminar with lawyers and legal scholars on issues related to human rights, freedom of religion and the rule of law.
The delegation’s 10-day U.S. visit is being co-sponsored and has been arranged by the Midland, Texas-based ChinaAid Association. The first participants arrived on Jan. 31, but three of the original six-person group were repeatedly turned back when trying to leave China.
The delegation’s first event was a “Seminar on Rule of Law and Human Rights in China” the evening of Mon. Feb. 1 at George Mason University’s School of Law, just outside Washington. Legal scholar Zhang Dajun, human rights lawyer Li Renbing and house church leader Zheng Leguo spoke on the current condition of the rule of law, civil society and freedom of religion in China, respectively. (Photo: Forum in GMU)
American participants included GMU law professor Nathan Sales, Dr. Scott Flipse, deputy director for Policy & Director East Asia of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Pastor Patrick Payton from Midland, Texas, each of whom spoke on his area of expertise.
(Photo: Meeting in Kirkland & Ellis LLP)
On Wed. Feb. 2, the delegation conducted extensive and profound exchanges with senior attorneys at the well-known law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP just across the street from the White House. Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Jackie Wolcott also took part in the meeting and delivered an important speech. During 4-1/2 hour-long meeting, Fu and the delegation conducted extensive exchanges with the American lawyers and officials on freedom of religion and rule of law in China and bilateral governmental and non-governmental relations.
This year’s annual National Prayer Breakfast was held the morning of Thurs. Feb. 3, which coincidentally also was the first day of the Chinese New Year. Fu and the delegation were invited to be one of the more than 3,000 guests from more than 140 countries, including presidents and members of parliament. The theme of the 59th annual prayer breakfast, one of the year’s most important gatherings of Christian leaders, was love and reconciliation. (Jackie Wolcott with the delegation)
Award-winning bluegrass vocalist and musician Alison Krauss sang spiritual songs, one of which was “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow,” and U.S. President Barack Obama and other dignitaries spoke about their personal spiritual experiences and their relationship with God. Jose Enriquez, representing the trapped Chilean miners in last year’s dramatic rescue that had the world spellbound, told how he preached the Gospel to his trapped fellow miners, how they studied the small Bible he always carried with him, the only Bible in the group, and how they finally experienced God’s miraculous blessing. Famed American movie producer and writer Randall Wallace, whose hits include “Braveheart” and “We were Soldiers,” also spoke. (The delegation in NPB)
At noon, the delegates attended Global Leadership Conference luncheon, which was unexpectedly interrupted by piano music and some people standing up to sing the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Then, more people stood up to join the singing and a person climbed atop a table to conduct the chorus while more and more people joined in, pushing the atmosphere of this prayer meeting to its climax.
In the afternoon, the delegation went to the headquarters of the Washington Times where they were interviewed by several reporters about the rule of law, religion and human rights in China, as well as about American politics and other subjects. The three men answered brilliantly and made a special mention of Christian human rights lawyers Dr. Fan Yafeng and Gao Zhisheng, both leading figures of the civil and human rights movement for Chinese Christian churches who are under persecution for their faith, as well as Alimujiang, the ethnic Uyghur Christian church leader in Xinjiang.
In the evening, the delegation and the ChinaAid team enjoyed a dinner together in Chinatown to celebrate the Chinese New Year.