Renowned Chinese Christian activist, Dr. Li Baiguang, was invited to speak on May 23 at the Oklahoma-headquarters of international evangelical persecution-monitor agency, Voice of Martyrs (VOM).
Li has often been noted in the past for representing over 100,000 peasants seeking compensation for the Chinese government’s seizing farmland for industrial development.
Two weeks ago, Li spoke with U.S. president George W. Bush along with two Christian activist writers – Wang Yi and Yu Jie – at the president’s residency at the White House, in a high-profile visit.
“We will talk about Li Baiguang’s work in defending the persecuted Christians in China,” Bob Fu, president of the Texas-based China Aid Association, which has organized Li’s visit to VOM headquarters.
Fu told the Gospel Herald over the telephone that in January Li wrote the legal defense for the Beijing Ark House Church, where officers of China’s Public Security Bureau broke up a Sunday service gathering, there, and confiscated personal items and identification.
The VOM director of News Services, Todd Nettleton, said that the meeting was an “opportunity for…the (Voice of Martyrs) staff.”
“We don’t always get the opportunity to know about the churches in China and about the situation of…brothers and sisters in China,” Nettleton told the Gospel Herald over the telephone.
Nettleton declined to disclose further details about the conference, but said the gathering was intended to be a session where VOM staff would speak privately with Chinese Christians about the religious situation in China.
Chinese Christians are only allowed to worship at churches registered under the government-monitored Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) churches, which claims a membership of about 10 million.
Other research have placed the number of Christians in China close to 40-100 million, accounting for the untold number of believers whom choose to worship in unregistered “underground” house churches.
Government tolerance of house church activities varies in different regions. Some government officials have been known to turn a blind eye to house churches putting up big crosses and holding large gatherings, while others have responded severely by arresting key house church leaders.
In other instances police have reportedly beaten jailed Christians, including the widely-publicized 2003 case of Zhang Hongmei whom was beaten to death by her interrogators.
The Voice of Martyrs has in the last few years worked closely with the China Aid Association in reporting the persecution of Christians in China.
“Voice of Martyrs has been a great ally to the persecuted church in China…and provided tremendous help,” said Bob Fu. “We thank them for their effort.”