Chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee and Chairman of Taiwan's Legislative Yuan are calling for swift action on behalf of the 64 Chinese Christians at the Mayflower Church.
Now known as "the Mayflower Church", Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church is a Chinese house church that fled persecution in 2019. These 64 Christians, including 32 children, fled first to South Korea and then to Thailand, where they are seeking the status of refugees with the United Nations.
As a rare hope in their too long exile, in February the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representatives, Michael McCaul, pleaded their case. Writing a letter to U.S. State Department Ambassador at Large in the Bureau of International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain and Deputy Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Julieta Valls Noyes, he called for urgent action on their behalf.
Michael McCaul urges the United States to step in and help provide security and protection for the group from the Chinese Communist Party, but also to quickly determine the status of those connected to the Mayflower Church, who seek protection as refugees.
"I am very concerned about the growing influence of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in Southeast Asia and its ability to compel the repatriation of Chinese citizens who have applied for refugee status. Religious freedom and its protection at abroad are vital interests of our nation. Having just attended the International Religious Freedom Summit on January 31, 2023, I am reminded how integral freedom from religious persecution is to the growth of a healthy society, the protection of human rights and the enactment of democracy."
In his letter, he denounces the "substantial opposition" of the People's Republic of China.
"At every step of the Mayflower Church's journey, there has been substantial opposition from the PRC. When the group first sought asylum in the Republic of Korea, the PRC consulate refused to issue a passport to a member's newborn baby, rendering the baby stateless and unable to travel. of treason, collusion with foreign forces, and subversion of state powers for their desire to practice a religion independent of the state. Church members also received dozens of phone calls from officials Chinese government accusing the Church of committing national security offenses by leaving China."
A vibrant call echoed by You Si-Kun, Chairman of the Legislative Yuan of Taiwan.
"We call on our friends around the world to pay attention to the development of democracy and religious freedom in China. For centuries, the people of Taiwan have lived for freedom, and they will continue to fight for it now and in the future. Therefore, in addition to echoing President McCaul's action, we also call on the executive branch [of Taiwan] to care about helping these persecuted Chinese religious refugees and show concrete actions to help them, because democracy, freedom and human rights are common values in Taiwan and around the world!"
Bob Fu, President and Founder of the China Aid Association, welcomes such positions.
“It is heartening to see politicians around the world take notice of the Mayflower affair. I urge democratic governments, including the United States and Taiwan, to heed the call of President McCaul and President You in resettling church members now rather than later due to growing threats of refoulement."