Lai’s human rights advocacy spurred Prayer Breakfast invitation: pastor

Washington, Feb. 6 (CNA) Taiwan's Vice President elect Lai Ching te (???) was invited to the 2020 National Prayer Breakfast in the United States because of his advocacy for freedom of religion and human rights, prominent Chinese American pastor Bob Fu (???) said Thursday.

Speaking to reporters after the annual gathering of political and religious leaders in Washington D.C., Fu said that since Lai stepped down as Taiwan's premier in January 2019, he has been deeply involved in the promotion of human rights.

In particular, Lai's efforts to champion religious freedom and support the victims of China's religious persecution, including the Tibetans, have been heartwarming, said Fu, a former victim of such persecution.

It was mainly for those reasons that he invited Lai to attend the 2020 National Prayer Breakfast in a private capacity, said Fu, a Chinese American pastor who founded the non governmental China Aid Association that provides legal aid to Christians in China.

Fu said his invitation to Lai was not met with any opposition in the U.S., either from the White House or the State Department, despite the fact that Lai was elected vice president of Taiwan after the invitation was issued.

At the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, Lai was seated at the same table as Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and next to the table where U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was sitting at the front of the Hilton International ballroom.

U.S. President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed the gathering of religious and political leaders from around the world.

Lai, who will take office as Taiwan's vice president in May, was the most senior government official from Taiwan to ever attend the National Prayer Breakfast since the U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

A member of his delegation on his U.S. visit stressed, however, that Lai was at the Prayer Breakfast in a private capacity as he was not yet part of the Taiwan central government administration.

Furthermore, former Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsiao Bi khim (???) said there was no truth to the rumor that Lai had held discussions with U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien during his visit to the National Security Council on Wednesday.

The National Prayer Breakfast, founded in 1953, aims to "unite individuals of different nationalities, religions and political perspectives through the power of prayer," according to the formal invitation.

Hosted by lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic parties, it brings together Christians and people of other faiths from around the world for prayer and discussions.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel