Christian groups around the world are launching a global call to prayer for China during the Olympics.
The Religious Liberty Partnership and other groups, including Voice of the Martyr and Open Doors International, are taking part in the campaign they call "The Zurich Statement."
"These organizations see it as a historical occasion to pray for China," said Johan Candalin, Executive Director of World Evangelical Alliance's Religious Liberty Commission. "It's not a political project (but) purely a spiritual project."
The groups say they recognize China's potential as a force for peace, and their statement acknowledges improvements made in the country.
"There is still a very long way to go, and religious freedom is something very alien to many Christians in China. However, Christians all over the world have been praying for their Chinese family for many years, and I believe we are beginning to see the impact of those prayers today," Mervyn Thomas, Chairman of the RLP leadership team, said.
There are approximately 70 million Christians in China, where house church pastors say they need good leadership training.
"They even want to send out many young pastors to the U.S. or to Europe to get that academic theological training to be able to lead the growing church," Candalin explained.
Meanwhile, China is facing criticism after sentencing a civil rights activist who campaigned for religious freedom to prison for more than three years.
In the last month, more than 1,000 have been arrested or turned themselves in as a result of pro-Democracy rallies in the country.
Sources: CBN News, Mission Network News