Over 100 Foreign Missionaries Expelled by Chinese Government Secret Campaign
July 18, 2007
MIDLAND, Texas, July 10 /Christian Newswire/ — China Aid Association confirms that a central government-directed campaign to expel suspected foreign missionaries has been ongoing since February 2007.
Typhoon No. 5 Campaign
According to reliable China Aid sources and collaborated reports by at least five different mission agencies, over 100 foreigners accused of being involved in illegal religious activities in China have been expelled or deported this year between April and June. Sources inside the Chinese government informed CAA that the Chinese government launched a massive expulsion campaign of foreign Christians, encoded Typhoon No. 5, in February 2007. This campaign is believed to be part of the “anti-infiltration” efforts to prevent foreign Christians from engaging in mission activities before the Beijing Olympics next year.
Citizens from six countries working in Xinjiang, Beijing and Tibet targeted
Most of those expelled are citizens from the United States, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, Australia, and Israel. They were expelled when they were either working or visiting in Xinjiang, Beijing, Tibet, or Shandong.
According to an American who had been working in Xinjiang for 10 years and wants to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the topic, over 60 foreign religious workers were expelled from Xinjiang alone. Some of the workers had been serving the local people for 15-18 years before they were asked to leave in the past few months. At least 15 Christian couples from the United States and other countries were expelled from Beijing in the month of May. Two American English teachers sent by the English Language Institute/China (ELIC) were expelled from Tibet. ELIC (www.elic.org), a California based Christian organization, is the largest English teacher- sending organization to China and has trained thousands of Chinese college and high school students since the 1990s.
On May 31, 2007, one Israeli Jewish Christian and an American were arrested and expelled from Linyi City, Shandong province when they worshiped together with 70 House Church leaders. Only 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.
Consulate Protection Rights Violated
According to CAA’s private interviews with some of the expelled Americans, the Chinese PSB confiscated their passports for 2-7 days and treated them professionally while they were interrogated. They were not allowed to have access to US Embassy in Beijing, a direct violation of US-China consulate protection agreements. Some will not be allowed to return to China for 5 years.
This is the largest expulsion of foreign missionaries since 1954 when the Chinese Communist government expelled all foreign religious workers after taking power in 1949. The Chinese government refuses to recognize foreign missionary status in China so many missionaries choose to work in the education or business sectors as ways to stay in China.
“Given the significant contribution to the Chinese people made by those expelled foreigners, this campaign is certainly misguided and counter- productive,” said Bob Fu, 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.”