|BosNewLife: Tuesday, 10 July 2007 |
|By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife |
ghts group China Aid Association (CAA) told BosNewsLife the government-backed operation, codenamed 'Typhoon No. 5', was aimed at preventing foreign Christians from "engaging in mission activities" ahead of the Beijing Olympics next year.
CAA said that since February this year Chinese security forces have been targeting citizens from six countries including the United States, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, Australia and Israel, who were mainly active in Beijing, the region of Xinjiang
CAA quoted one American who had been working in Xinjiang for 10 years as saying that over 60 foreign religious workers were expelled from Xinjiang alone. The American, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said some workers "had been serving" locals for up to 18 years before they were forced to leave.
"At least 15 Christian couples from the United States and other countries were expelled from Beijing in the month of May," alone, added CAA.
They included two American English teachers sent by the English Language Institute/China (ELIC), who were expelled from Tibet, the group said.
ELIC (www.elic.org), a California based Christian organization, claims to be the largest English teacher-sending organization to China and has trained thousands of Chinese college and high school students since the 1990s.
JEWISH CHRISTIAN DEPORTED
In addition, on May 31, one Israeli Jewish Christian and an American were arrested and expelled from Linyi City, in Shandong province, when they worshiped together with 70 House Church leaders, CAA said earlier.
This month, July 1, three American Christians from Indiana were detained in Beijing and then forced to leave China after "their US passports were taken away for 3 to 5 days by Chinese security agents," CAA claimed.
CAA said it has established that at least some expelled Americans were first held in custody by the Public Security Bureau, one of China's main law-enforcement agencies, for up to a week without access to US Embassy personnel.
"Some will not be allowed to return to China for five years. This is the largest expulsion of foreign missionaries since 1954 when the Chinese Communist government expelled all foreign
CHINA REFUSES RECOGNITION
The Chinese government reportedly refuses to recognize foreign missionaries status in China, and many choose to work as teachers, doctors or in business sectors in the country.
"Given the significant contribution to the Chinese people made by those expelled foreigners, this campaign is certainly misguided and counter-productive," said Bob Fu, a former Chinese house church pastor who now works as the president of CAA.
"We call upon the Chinese government to correct this wrong by allowing these selfless good-hearted people of faith back into China," he told BosNewsLife in a statement. (With BosNewsLife News Center).