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Message of condolence on the death of Dr Han Wenzao

08 February 2006

Letter sent to Rev. Cao Shenjie, President of the China Christian Council, 8 February,
2006


Dear Rev. Cao,

We are deeply saddened by the news of the death of Dr Han Wenzao, former
president of the China Christian Council (CCC) and general secretary of the Amity
Foundation.

Dr Han, a devout Christian, will always be remembered as one of the great
personalities who provided leadership to the church in China in the post-revolutionary
era. He discharged his duties at various important levels in Chinese
society over the past several decades through his deep and passionate involvement
in church and society, especially through his role as president of the China
Christian Council, general secretary of the Amity Foundation, vice-chairperson
of the Jiangsu Provincial Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative
Conference, and chairperson of the Advisory Committee of the Protestant Churches
in China. Dr Han always tried to strengthen and forge the church-state relationships
in the People's Republic of China. He passionately articulated the integrity
and dignity of the church in China. Along with a few other church leaders,
he also helped create the official "Patriotic Protestant Church in China" during
the period after the liberation in 1949. He was convinced that the historical,
progressive transition from pre-revolutionary ecclesiastical structures through
the period of the formation of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, "was politically
necessary to repudiate the imperialist sponsorship of foreign missionaries"
in China.

The World Council of Churches has had the privilege of working very closely
with him for many years. Dr Han, along with Bishop K.H. Ting, played a significant
role in re-establishing the official links between the church in China and
the WCC. He was deeply involved in the planning and preparation of the first
and second official visits of the China Christian Council (CCC) to the WCC in
1983 and 1989 and the CCC's subsequent decision to bring the church in China
back into full membership in the WCC. He was the WCC's main contact within
the CCC for several years and helped to facilitate the official visits to China
undertaken by two of my predecessors.

As a patriotic religious leader, Wenzao actively promoted the church's mission
in Chinese society, encouraged its members to take part in nation-building
without compromising their faith, and helped them adapt their religious
values to socialist society. He played an important role in the creation of the
Amity Foundation and provided dynamic leadership in developing the Amity
Foundation as a professional, social-development agency by ensuring Christian
participation in social development. He was a man of great insight and personality.

We thank God for the life and witness of Dr Han Wenzao. Please convey our
heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, the members of the CCC and the
Amity Foundation.

May his soul rest in peace.

Yours in His Service,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary