CBS News says Bush was "trying to send a message to China's leaders," by starting his day by attending church services. He and Laura Bush took front-row seats at Gangwashi Church, one of five officially recognized Protestant churches in Beijing.
After the hour-long service, President Bush spoke with reporters:
It wasn't all that long ago that people were not allowed to worshipIf you have to go to China, visit Gangwashi Church, even if you're not religious. Even though it's a state-sanctioned church, it wouldn't hurt to get Beijing used to the idea that faith in God or some other higher power will not destroy them.
openly in this society. My hope is that the government of China will not fear the Christians who gather to worship openly. A healthy society is a society that welcomes all faiths.