Christian Living

chinaconnection 02/23/09

Sec. Clinton Visits Beijing Church

Sec. Hillary Clinton wrapped up her Asian tour with a visit to Beijing's Haidian Church yesterday.  While security was tight outside the church, inside many religious faithful gathered to worship. 

Many probably wanted to catch a glimpse of Clinton this Sunday, but Haidian Church has had no problems attracting worshipers.  

When I visited Haidian Church last August, I saw a vibrant congregation and a full house.  You can watch the video for a little taste of worship on an average Sunday morning, though I'm sure that Clinton's visit was far more formal than most Sundays.

Although millions feel free to worship at this state-approved church and others like it, millions of other Chinese Christians prefer meeting at house churches, where they're beyond the government's watchful eye.  The Chinese government has recently increased discussions with house church leaders, but at the same time, there are still reports of religious persecution throughout China.

If Sec. Clinton's visit to Haidian Church was at all similar to my own, she probably left feeling encouraged by the state of Christianity in China.  On the other hand, reading certain articles on religious persecutions leaves the opposite impression.

The U.S. won't turn a blind eye to China's religious freedom or human rights, but it doesn't seem too likely that Sec. Clinton is looking to pressure China on these issues any time soon.  Instead, she emphasized economic collaboration and climate change during this trip.        

While this emphasis might frustrate many who wish that China's religious landscape would change more quickly, as you can see from the video, there are millions of faithful Christians who are fervently praying for their nation. 

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