FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(ZURICH, March 2008) In a historic move, key organizations that work with the persecuted church around the world launched a global campaign calling for prayer for China. In what is called “The Zurich Statement,” the Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP), with member organizations that include Open Doors International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, the Voice of the Martyrs (Canada), and the Religious Liberty Commission of World Evangelical Alliance, have called the worldwide Christian community to pray for China during this Summer Olympics year.
The Zurich Statement acknowledges some important progress made in China over the past few decades and raises the hope that this will translate into the removal of remaining obstacles to the full expression of faith and an end to serious violations of religious freedom. In addition, the Statement recognizes potential of the Chinese nation as a significant political and economic force for the furtherance of regional and global peace.
“The call for prayer is rooted in the fact that the RLP felt it was time to acknowledge some progress in China’s attitude toward religious liberty and also the part Christians play at all levels of Chinese society,” stated Mervyn Thomas, CEO of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, UK, and Chairman of the RLP leadership team. “There is still a very long way to go and religious freedom is something very alien to many Christians in China. However Christians all over the world have been praying for their Chinese family for many years and I believe we are beginning to see the impact of those prayers today."
“What a change we have seen in the nearly 30 years since my first visit to China,” said Johan Compajen of Open Doors International in Holland and a member of the RLP leadership team. “In spite of many obstacles, the Church in China has multiplied. What seemed impossible in the past has happened because around the world we joined the Chinese Christians in prayer and our Chinese brothers and sisters have been willing to pay the price for following Jesus. If we continue to pray, we may be surprised by what God will do in the coming 30 years.”
The Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) is a collaborative effort of Christian organizations focused on religious liberty. The RLP seeks to more intentionally work together in addressing advocacy and in raising the awareness of religious persecution globally. The current membership of the RLP is listed on the Zurich Statement.
For more information about the Religious Liberty Partnership or the Zurich Statement, please contact Brian O'Connell: