From the Worldwide Faith News archives

NCCCUSA China Delegation Email

From Victor Hsu, Director, East Asia & the Pacific, NCC
Date 12 Oct 1998 09:31:36

National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
Contact: NCC News, 212-870-2252
Internet:; Website:



 NEW YORK, Oct. 12 ---- Ambassador Andrew Young's 
Nanjing/Hopkins University lecture and sermon at a Nanjing 
church . NCC comment on the U.S. religious persecution bill 
- these are the subjects of emails received over the 
weekend from the National Council of Churches delegation at 
the midpoint of its Oct. 8-15 visit to China.

 Ambassador Young, the NCC's President Elect for 2000-
01, and the Rev. Dr. Joan B. Campbell, NCC General 
Secretary, are leading the delegation, which is looking at 
the current status of church-state relations in China.  

 The email comes from Victor Hsu, Director of the NCC 
East Asia and the Pacific Office, who is staffing the 
delegation visit.

Date: October 12, 1998
Re: Ambassador Young's Lecture & Sermon

On arrival in Nanjing on Saturday, October 10, our first 
event was a lecture by Andrew Young at the Nanjing 
University/Hopkins University Center for US-China Studies.  
Though a Saturday afternoon, there were about fifty 
students and faculty in attendance.  Ambassador Young spoke 
from his personal experience.  He talked about how he tried 
to ignore China but was not allowed to because of its 
significance in the world as the China related agenda 
continues to thrust itself onto the world stage.

He referred to the maintenance of contacts by U.S. churches 
and progressive movements with the Chinese Churches during 
the difficult days of the Cultural Revolution and of the 
importance of those contacts in helping to build key 
bridges across the ideological and political divide.  He 
reminisced the time when he was with Martin Luther King 
after a visit to the U.S. Mission headed than by Arthur 
Goldberg.  King was attacked by many for saying afterwards 
that "800 million people will not cease to exist just 
because we don't want to recognize their existence."

In an extensive question and answer exchange, he said that 
it was very important to both maintain good relations with 
and develop strong advocates for China because of, among 
other factors, its economic potential.  For example, it 
stood as a rock of stability during the recent Asian 
financial crisis.  It was essential that the economic well-
being of all people be assured otherwise there would be 
civil strife for any nation including the United States.  
He said, taking his home city of Atlanta as an example, 
that if there would be a 10-year long recession it would 
explosively exacerbate existing and underlying tensions .

Answering another question about affirmative action, he 
said that he was both a beneficiary of and advocate for it.  
He also said that good economists realize that poverty is 
dangerous and therefore it is necessary to help all nations 
enjoy economic development.  He said that was the genius of 
the Marshall Plan and saw the contradiction among those who 
oppose helping China because it is allegedly an enemy.

Answering another question about the recent spate of films 
about China, he noted that they had not been constructive 
for promoting better ties with China.  He urged the 
audience to write to the producers like Richard Gere to let 
them know that the reality of China is very different from 
the picture portrayed in the films.


On Sunday Ambassador Young preached at the Mochou Church to 
a packed congregation.  He used Psalm 91:14-16 as his text 
and preached the theme of "God's All Powerful Love."  
Saying that we are all precious in God's sight he marveled 
at the mystery of such a love.  He compared that 
"unconditional" love to the love of the mother for her 
children and expressed his wonder that God's love could be 
understood and appreciated from Atlanta to China.  It was 
as mysterious as the way the cell-phones work or the 
lightening speed of transmitting photos digitally by the 
phone line.  He gave testimonial to his own grandmother's 
and mother's love for him during his time away from home in 
college.  He believed that their prayers and love for him 
acted like a cell-phone and were responsible for keeping 
him from going astray or yielding to the many temptations 
of youth. He then spoke of the all powerful message love of 
Martin Luther King who believed that we are all children of 
God whatever our color.  Equally powerful was his message 
of loving your enemy and of the way of non-violence.  He 
believed that Martin Luther King's death was powerfully 
transformed by God into a resurrection of a more racially 
conscious, more accepting and less unequal American 

Date: October 10, 1998
Re: Religious Persecution Legislation

Here is a October 10, 1998, statement from our General 
Secretary, the Rev. Dr. Joan Campbell while on an official 
visit to China:

The vote of support in the U.S. Senate for the religious 
persecution legislation brings to the conclusion our 
creative year-long debate on the effective use of American 
influence on this international human justice issue.  We 
believe our ecumenical Christian voice has contributed 
positive insights and sensitivities to the present 

Through the National Council of Churches our churches have 
stood with our overseas partners in facing religious 
liberty issues for nearly fifty years. Even now human 
rights issues including religious persecution will continue 
to need active attention by all religious and caring 

We will be attentive to the implementation of the 
legislation when it becomes our nation's law.  We continue 
to believe that economic sanctions against any nation are 
most effective when evoked through multi-national 
decisions, not the USA acting alone.  We continue to 
believe that religious persecution must not become a 
recurring issue in the domestic politics.  We continue to 
believe that such aspects of religious persecution as the 
experiences of the persecuted themselves, the varied 
traditions of religious freedom in countries other than our 
own and the need to be concerned for people who seek asylum 
for all human rights violations including religious, will 
need to be monitored.  We look forward for instance to the 
report of the Senate's special commission on sanctions and 
its implications for the religious persecution legislation.

We continue to believe that the USA must not act as the 
religious police of the world.  Our respect as Christians 
for the various religious traditions of the world lies at 
the heart of our commitment to religious freedom. 
Preserving religious freedom, not a new issue to be 
exaggerated or exploited, will require ongoing vigilance 
and commitment of all of us.

We commend those peoples of faith whose passion about 
religious persecution has renewed the awareness of us all, 
including the Congress, to the urgency of the issue.  We 
trust that our continuing attention will draw us together 
as religious communities.


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