China Expels Christians to Prevent Evangelism at Beijing Olympics

More than 100 foreign nationals have been removed from China between April and June 2007 for their alleged participation in illegal religious activities, according to China Aid Association (CAA).

CAA, which supports Christians in China, reports that these expulsions and deportations form part of a government campaign, launched in February this year, to prevent foreign Christians from engaging in mission activities in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics next year.

Some of the foreign nationals had reportedly been working in the area for over fifteen years and include teachers working for the English Language Institute, China.

Some of the American citizens expelled from the country told CAA that their passports were confiscated for a week at a time in some cases, and that they were not allowed to have access to the US Embassy in Beijing. Some of the foreign nationals will be prevented from returning to China for five years.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide's National Director, Stuart Windsor, said: "China is preparing to welcome visitors from around the world to the Beijing Olympics next summer. However, the profile of the games must not be allowed to overshadow government activities such as this targeted removal of Christian foreign nationals from the country.

"China's record on religious liberty is poor, and must be addressed by the international community as the country takes a more prominent role on the world stage.

"Individual governments also have a duty to send a clear message to the Chinese government that this mistreatment of foreign citizens will not be tolerated."