Closer ties with China do not bring the Gospel to China

The archbishop of Hong Kong is a stooge of the Communist regime in Beijing and is no friend to China’s persecuted Christians, Andrew Tam writes.

Anglicanism, or Sheng Kung Hui (聖公會), is always a negative word in Hong Kong. For Hong Kongese, it means pro-Communist, anti-democratic and Chinese nationalist. Paul Kwong, (pictured) the Primate and the Archbishop of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, is appointed as a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC 中國人民政治協商會議), a paraphernalia in China. Paul is an unwelcoming figure. He openly condemns the Hong Kong independence movement, the Umbrella Revolution and opposes against democratic reforms. In 2013 he declared that China has freedom of religion and in 2014 he made a controversial sermon in St Paul’s church which argued that all young protestors “lack the ability of analysis”. Paul Kwong never tells the truth––that Anglican is banned in mainland China, that all Protestant churches must join the “Three-Self Patriotic Movement” (TSPM) controlled by the Communist government, that the communist even appoint Catholic bishops on their own, and that clergies of underground Protestant and Catholic churches are arrested everyday.

However, some Anglican church leaders just don’t care about the human right situation in China. They visit China happily whenever they are invited by TSPM. Paul Kwong’s pro-communist attitude does not prevent him from being elected as the chair of Anglican Consultative Council. Instead, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church has been seeking for “closer ties” with “China” by visiting the TSPM church. The Most Revd Michael Curry said that “it’s important for the Episcopal Church to maintain close ties with China” in Shanghai on 7 March. He was invited to visit China by the China Christian Council (CCC) and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), two government regulated Christian institutions. He did not address the worsening human right situation in China, nor does he call for the return of Anglicanism to China. But he is not the first timid bishop who dares not to condemn the Communist persecution of Christian. The Most Revd Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, visited China in 2015 invited by CCC and TSPM and said he looked “forward to building on the friendship with the Christian church in China established by my three predecessors”. His definition of “Christian church in China”, however, obviously excludes the underground churches under persecution.

Besides the Anglican Church of Korea (대한 성공회), no Anglican church takes care of the underground Anglicans in China at all. Chinese Catholic who are famous of strong resistance against the Communist intervention with the witness of martyrs like Right Rev Shi Enxiang (師恩祥, 1921-2015) and Right Rev. Vei Zong Leong (范忠良, 1918-2014) has been being supported by the Catholic church all over the world. But what has the majority of the Anglican clergies allover the world had done for the persecuted Chinese Christian congregation?

Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui (中華聖公會), once the largest Anglican congregation in the world, was shunt down in 1958 by the Communist when churches were forced to join the government regulated TSPM. The current collaboration between western Anglican bishops and the Chinese Communist Party does not improve the freedom of religion in China. Instead, these bishops are merely endorsing the legitimacy of TSPM and CCC who destroy the liturgical and theological traditions of different Christian denominations. They are endorsing a fake Chinese church regulated by some Atheist Communists. At the end they are endorsing the Chinese Communist government. Having a close tie with the contemporary “China” captured by the Communist does not bring gospel to China. The closer tie with China you have, the farer distance from God you have.

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