More conflicting reports about China’s Christians surface.

By November 13, 2003

China (MNN)–There are two sides to every story. Earlier this month, leaders of government-sanctioned Protestant churches in China denied the existence of underground churches and claimed that there is no religious persecution.

Yet, Secretary of State Colin Powell named China a “country of particular concern” for its religious freedom policies, and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom reported “widespread and serious abuses of the right to freedom of religion and belief in China.”

China Partner’s Erik Burklin says the parameters for ministry are well-defined. As long as their ministry operates within those rules, they run into little opposition. He points to the recent dedication of a Bible school in Nanchung, Jiangxi Province.

The school was built with an understanding that they would be training new church leaders. “This new facility will allow them to train up to 160 students. Before this building, they only had a capacity of about 50 students, so this is going to be increasing, three times, to allow them to train future pastors.”

Other mission groups say there is substantial evidence showing a harsh oppression of the evangelistic movement.

Burklin acknowledges an existing tension between an anti-Christian government and believers. However, “…in their constitution, even legally, it is now okay, and legally recognized for people to be Christians, and to go to Bible School, and to go to church, and to be able to have a Bible and so forth, which was not the case 25 years ago.”

China Partner’s main mission is to help the church in China fulfill its goal to achieve the Great Commission. In doing so, they concentrate on Pastoral Training Schools. Keeping in mind the present political situation in China, they’re committing themselves to do everything openly and in harmony with the Chinese Church.

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