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Everly 1 Mack Everly UH 400 Dr.

Luehrmann March 16, 2010 Research Paper: Christianity in China Christianity as a whole has had a long history in China dating back to 635 A.D. during the Tang Dynasty. Since then, the religion has been struggling to gain any kind of foothold in the nation. Catholicism finally gained a permanent, albeit awkward, place in China during the Middle Ages, but was driven underground during the Qing Dyanasty in 1736, when the Qianlong Emperor declared Christianity as a threat to the state and the stability of Chinese society (21 Uhalley/Wu). By the First Opium War of 1839, the Chinese Christian church was dying out just like it did during the Tang Dynasty. Fortunately, after the war, China opened up five new ports to boost its economy and a short time later a treaty was signed with the United States and Great Britain. This permitted foreigners to build hospitals and churches in those ports. The construction of these institutions led to the rekindling of Roman Catholicism in China, but it was also the beginning of Protestant Christianity. Protestantism built up gradually in China through pioneer missionaries living and proselytizing in rural China during the underground years. The Protestant missionaries used this time in exile to learn the Chinese language and customs, translate the Bible, and compile dictionaries and books of Chinese grammar for those who would come after them. These missionaries also made several important converts from among the Chinese people during this period. Their new Chinese converts taught them their language and customs.

Everly 2 Many of those converts devoted their lives to preaching the Gospel throughout China. They were so committed to this that their conversions soon outnumbered those of the Western missionaries. When port cities were created after the Opium War, tolerance for Christian practices grew, although, in the minds of most Chinese, [it was still] associated with Western imperialism and opium (180 Uhalley/Wu). The Chinese developed their own evangelistic style that focused primarily on conversations with small groups in informal settings (182 Uhalley/Wu). In 1844, a German Protestant missionary, Karl Gtzlaff, founded the Chinese Union in an effort to train Chinese as evangelists. He believed that Chinas millions could never be converted to Christianity by foreign missionaries and that Chinese Christians must carry out the evangelization of the empire while Western missionaries would serve as instructors and supervisors (269 Bays). The Chinese Union (CU) sent native Chinese into the interior where Westerners were forbidden. Unfortunately, the CU was rocked by controversy when the London Missionary Society discovered that a small, but significant, number of members were opium smokers and were selling their tracts to book suppliers to be resold back to Gtzlaff. These accusations, among others, were largely true, although Gtzlaff denied such charges and worked tirelessly to clear the CUs name. Though there were many genuine, dedicated Christians involved in the ministry, there were still Chinese assistants who were simply motivated by the possibility of an easy income. There were also rice Christians, [who were] acting in accord with traditional Chinese patron-client relationships (181 Uhalley/Wu). That is, they were not genuine Christians and were simply emulating the beliefs of their employers out respect. The Chinese Unions struggled continued until

Everly 3 Gtzlaffs death in August 1851. The Second Opium War opened up even more evangelical opportunities in China. The treaties signed between the West and China compelled [the Chinese] to allow foreigners to travel and reside in Chinas interior but also noted the rights of missionaries to spread Christianity (54 Bays). This allowed a significant increase in the number of active missions in China, but decreased the autonomy of the missionaries. Administrative centers were established to supervise Chinese workers and pioneering missionaries more closely than in previous years. Even with this increase, the interior remained largely untouched and conversion rates remained disturbingly low. Christians eventually turned to education, social service, and medicine to supplement evangelism (186 Uhalley/Wu). After the institutionalization of Christianity in China, conversions increased along with a literacy rate amongst Chinese Christians that was higher than that of the total population. Unfortunately, the spike in conversions and Christian-sponsored social services also brought opposition to the successful Christian movement. Attacks on Christians began after 1860, when the upper classes began publishing anti-Christian literature. Those who opposed Christianity felt that their cultural and religious traditions were being threatened and their unity as a Chinese nation was deteriorating. These anti-Christian movements fed the Boxer Rebellion of 1900. The Rebellion was instigated by an anti-foreign Manchu clique and its purpose was essentially to eliminate foreign influence. This clique aimed to use the Boxers, a group driven out of their land in Shantung, as an auxiliary force to expel all foreigners from China (882 Langer).

Everly 4 After the Boxer Rebellion, Christianity entered its golden age in China, becoming very popular among the people and growing with little or no resistance from the government or the people (187 Uhalley/Wu). This honeymoon period ended in the 1920s when Christianity became the primary target of multiple anti-imperialist nationalist and anti-capitalist movements, which eventually conglomerated into anti-Christian movements. These movements were primarily led by the Anti-Christian Student Federation (ACSF), which was largely founded by the Socialist Youth Corps. The Manifesto of the ACSF advocated Christianity and the Christian church [as] the evil demons who aid the capitalists in robbing the proletarians, who encourage those who possess, to oppress those who have nothing (55-56 Lutz). Many of the negative feelings towards Christians also grew out of the May 4th New Culture Movement of 1919. The Chinese were trying desperately to regain their Chinese nationhood and sovereignty and felt they had to throw off capitalist influence from the West to do so. So, because Christianity is based mostly in Western culture, it was immediately associated with capitalists in the minds of the people. Christians were able to maintain a minimal, if not awkward, role in China despite the huge political changes of the period. The churches suffered even more during the reign of Mao Zedong from 1949-1979. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) developed a specific strategy for dealing with religion in society. The CCP believed that religion, according to Marxist philosophy, would soon die out in the new social order, but believers had to be controlled in the meantime (23 Hunter/Chan). The government found religious leaders willing to cooperate with their interests and appointed them to positions of leadership in new Patriotic

Everly 5 Associations, which served as leadership institutions for their religions and continue to work closely with the government. Protestants gave little resistance the CCP control since they believed that its programs for social reform were in accordance with their Christian ethics (23 Hunter). These events solidified state control of religious activity and represented massive efforts by the CCP to reorganize Christianity along Party guidelines. During Maos Cultural Revolution, all churches were closed and the entire Christian movement was driven completely underground until Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1979. The CCP has since adopted a contradictory policy towards religion. Although Party ideology is explicitly atheist in nature, it has had to admit that religion is deeply rooted among the Chinese people and that persecution is likely to alienate many of the masses which form its power base (48 Hunter/Chan). This attitude has been expressed by the Constitution of the Peoples Republic of China, with the 1982 addition of Article 36 stating, Citizens of the PRC enjoy freedom of religious beliefs (48 Hunter/Chan). The government still retains the right to shut down any illegitimate religious institutions, which is any group not associated with a Patriotic Association or other governmental institution. This is the source of persecution for the underground Protestant church. Ironically, it is not their religious beliefs that win them government attention, but their refusal to conform their beliefs to Party lines and submit to governmental control. The current climate for Protestants in China is a confusing one to say the least. Recently, an English-language newspaper in China, China Daily, announced that the country is ready for an institutional guarantee for the legality and equality of all religions(1 Zylstra). In light of the governments recent arrest of ten leaders of an

Everly 6 unregistered megachurch in Linfen of the Shanxi Province, this is puzzling to Protestants. The fact that the statement was in the China Daily, an official newspaper, leads the people to believe that the CCP is willing to seriously float a major change in religious policy [and] is really on the agenda (1 Zylstra). However, this conflicts with the message Christians have been receiving from the latest government crackdown, which explicitly targets large congregations. The targeted congregations are some of the most prosperous in Chinas growing house church movement, which rejects the state-controlled church (1 Associated Press). In September 2009, police officers and thugs used violent means to shut down at least a dozen house churches in Linfen. The government claims that these incidents are simply the result of land disputes, not the governments national policy concerning unregistered religious groups. Even so, doubts remain among Chinese and other critics regarding the governments newfound benevolence toward religious activity, especially since the ten leaders who where arrested have received the steepest [sentences] given to Christian leaders since five were sentenced to death in 2001 (1 Zylstra). In the academic sphere, Christianity, both Protestant and Catholic, is becoming increasingly popular at Chinese universities among students and faculty intellectuals alike. This spike in interest is largely attributed to what the Chinese believe is [Christianitys] potential to influence Chinese culture in areas of values, morality, and social justice (2 Rausch). The nations economic prosperity, materialism, and loss of traditional values, especially after the Cultural Revolution, has left the Chinese people longing for something deeper than economic prosperity. The universities demonstrate this by seeking to professionalize religious study in general, but particularly Christian studies. Chinas economic success has created a spiritual vacuum that is creating a new interest among the

Everly 7 Chinese in Christianity and Christian theology (3 Rausch). This interest in Christianity, Protestantism in particular, has caused Protestant Christianity to grow faster than any other belief system in China, despite government efforts to control the movement. Unregistered Christian groups have been using the Internet to create virtual [communities] of Christian websites, databases, blogs, online counseling, and prayer chat rooms (4 Bieler/Hamrin). Protestantism continues to surface in the universities and the professional business world, as well as at every level of Chinese society. University faculty members have become secret Christians, as they are state employees and cannot risk affiliation with Christian activity. Writers, poets, and artists of all types are composing their own Christian works and Protestant Christians are even appearing in the legal profession where they can actively pursue justice and a better society. Protestant Christianity is experiencing a steep upward trend. It is very difficult to calculate the true number of Christian believers in China, because, biased sources often desire to deflate or inflate the number. A 2007 BBC News article reported that a survey in China found 12%, about 40 million of the 300 million total religious believers, are Christians. This is a significant rise compared with the official figure of 16 million in 2005 (1 BBC). The World Christian Database actually has the largest estimate of Christians at 111 million with 90% of them Pentecostal Protestants (2 Spencer). Protestantism is increasingly being seen as a possible solution to many of Chinas domestic problems that some attribute to the spiritual and moral vacuum sustained by bureaucratic corruption and greed (1 Siddiqua). The fast-paced economic advancements have ignored the growing economic gap between the rich and the poor and also left the

Everly 8 entire population spiritually and morally impoverished. As the Chinese people become wealthier materially, they are beginning to experience a spiritual void, so they are looking to Christianity to fill it. The new interest in Christianity in the universities has a direct correlation to the significant increase in Chinese believers. With the statement released by the China Daily that the government is ready to bring the religious debate into the public square are signs that attitudes toward religion in general, but especially Christianity, are about the take a turn for the better in Chinese society. Even members of the CCP are beginning to see the benefits that Christian values can bring to a society. Zhao Xiao, a well-known economist from Beijing University, says that hes found on his recent quest to discover the secret of Americas economic success: Christian values (4 Herrman). Zhao has was so impressed by his findings that he converted to Christianity and has been active in trying to convince the CCP to begin to grasp Christian values. The future of Protestantism in China is a potentially bright one, but how it will run up against the realities of party rule is still unclear (4 Herrman). Currently, the government is adapting a friendlier view towards Christianity. President Hu Jintao recently added the word religion to the party constitution in an effort to lead Party members to embrace a stronger balance between church and state (4 Herrman). But, there is still distrust between the people and the government about religion. Some believe that the governments friendly face is simply a masking an attempt to gain total control over every aspect of society. Even so, the governments new attitude in combination with economic freedom and prosperity in China may be giving Christianity - Protestant and Catholic alike - the boost it needs to finally integrate with Chinese culture since its arrival during the Tang Dynasty.

Everly 9 Napoleon was right when he said that, China is a sleeping giant. But when she wakes, she will shake the world. The impact of the growing Protestant Christian movement in China could be phenomenal for the Christian world as a whole. Some predictions that say that with the growing rate of Christianity in China, Christianity will have become a Sino-centric religion two generations from now (1 Spencer). China could very well be the new evangelical capital of the world just like Europe during the medieval period and America over the past two hundred years. Some even say that Islam has reason to fear the Christian growth in China, because it is too rapid and too strong to withstand. David Aikmen, for the New York Times, has pointed out that throughout world history, Christianity has always seen westward movement from Jerusalem to Antioch, from Antioch to Europe, from Europe to America, and from America to China (2 Spencer). Now that Chinese Christians are burgeoning in number, some are even preparing to head west to evangelize Muslim territory and complete the circle. This circumnavigation would be an achievement of astronomical proportions in the Christian world. It could mean the fulfillment of the Great Commission issued by Christ in Matthew 28:19, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Works Cited Associated Press. "Fast-Growing Christian Churches Crushed in China."

Everly 10 Fox News. 10 Dec. 2009. Web. <http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,579979,0 0.html>. Bays, Daniel H., ed. Christianity In China: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1996. Print. BBC. "Survey Finds 300m China Believers." BBC News| Asia-Pacific. 2 July 2007. Web. <http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.u k/2/hi/asia-pacific/6337627.stm>. Bieler, Stacey, and Carol L. Hamrin. "Christianity Fever: Through A Century of Political Turmoil and Disillusionment, Waves of Chinese Intellectuals Have Come to Christ." Christian History & Biography 98 (Spring, 2008): 30-34. Academic Search Complete. Web. <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.libraries.wright.edu:2048/eho st/detail?vid=3&hid=13&sid=8a83340d-50f9-4993-a1c55e28f05b4f53%40sessionmgr10&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2 ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=32043061>. Herrman, Cassandra, prod. "Jesus in China." FRONTLINE. PBS. 24 Jan. 2008. FRONTLINE. PBS, 24 June 2008. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. <http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/china_705/>. Hunter, Alan, and Kim-Kwong Chan. Protestantism In Contemporary China. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993 . Print. Langer, William L., comp. "The Boxers." An Encyclopedia of World

Everly 11 History. Revised ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1948. Print. Lutz, Jessie G. Chinese Politics and Christian Missions: The Anti-Christian Movements of 1920-28. Notre Dame: Cross Cultural Publications, 1988. Print. Matthew. Men's Devotional Bible: New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984. Print. Rausch, Thomas. "Mandate of Heaven." America 201.12 (2009): 17-19. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Feb. 2010. <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.libraries.wright.edu:2048/eho st/detail?vid=3&hid=6&sid=b5ba454c-4ffa-4d2c-89d3559d2e2e942f %40sessionmgr10&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d %3d#db=a9h&AN=44821798>. Siddiqua, Naeema. "Stony Author Explores Effects of Christianity in China." The Grove Examiner. 26 Feb. 2010. Web. 4 Mar. 2010. <http://www.sprucegroveexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx? e=2469072>. Spencer. "Christianity Find a Fulcrum in Asia." Asia Times Online. 7 Aug. 2007. Web. 13 Mar. 2010. <http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/IH07Ad03.html>. Uhalley, Jr., Stephen, and Xiaoxin Wu, eds. China and Christianity: Burdened Past, Hopeful Future. New York: East Gate, 2001. Print. Zylstra, Sarah E. "Confusion in China." Christianity Today 54.2 (2010):

Everly 12 14-15. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Feb. 2010. <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.libraries.wright.edu:2048/eho st/detail?vid=3&hid=6&sid=c86cdd2e-18f5-419b-ac18d7bef2d70f22%40sessionmgr4&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2Z Q%3d%3d>

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Works Consulted Associated Press. "Fast-Growing Christian Churches Crushed in China." Fox News. 10 Dec. 2009. Web. <http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,579979,0 0.html>. Barnett, Suzanne W., and John K. Fairbank, eds. Christianity in China: Early Protestant Missionary Writings. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1985. Print. Bays, Daniel H., ed. Christianity In China: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1996. Print. BBC. "Survey Finds 300m China Believers." BBC News| Asia-Pacific. 2 July 2007. Web. <http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.u k/2/hi/asia-pacific/6337627.stm>. Bieler, Stacey, and Carol L. Hamrin. "Christianity Fever: Through A Century of Political Turmoil and Disillusionment, Waves of Chinese Intellectuals Have Come to Christ." Christian History & Biography 98 (Spring, 2008): 30-34. Academic Search Complete. Web. <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.libraries.wright.edu:2048/eho

Everly 14 st/detail?vid=3&hid=13&sid=8a83340d-50f9-4993-a1c55e28f05b4f53%40sessionmgr10&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2 ZQ%3d%3d#db=a9h&AN=32043061>. Cao, Nanlai. "Raising the Quality of Belief: Suzhi and the Production of an Elite Protestantism." China Perspectives 2009.4 (2009): 54-65. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Feb. 2010. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail? vid=7&hid=12&sid=7b068a83-2cd6-4658-8ae4-2f6df1fc056b %40sessionmgr10&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d %3d#db=a9h&AN=47408471>. Herrman, Cassandra, prod. "Jesus in China." FRONTLINE. PBS. 24 Jan. 2008. FRONTLINE. PBS, 24 June 2008. Web. 12 Mar. 2010. <http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/china_705/>. Hunter, Alan, and Kim-Kwong Chan. Protestantism In Contemporary China. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993 . Print. Langer, William L., comp. "The Boxers." An Encyclopedia of World History. Revised ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1948. Print. Lutz, Jessie G. Chinese Politics and Christian Missions: The Anti-Christian Movements of 1920-28. Notre Dame: Cross Cultural Publications, 1988. Print. Matthew. Men's Devotional Bible: New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984. Print. Rausch, Thomas. "Mandate of Heaven." America 201.12 (2009): 17-19. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Feb. 2010.

Everly 15 <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.libraries.wright.edu:2048/eho st/detail?vid=3&hid=6&sid=b5ba454c-4ffa-4d2c-89d3559d2e2e942f %40sessionmgr10&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d %3d#db=a9h&AN=44821798>. Siddiqua, Naeema. "Stony Author Explores Effects of Christianity in China." The Grove Examiner. 26 Feb. 2010. Web. 4 Mar. 2010. <http://www.sprucegroveexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx? e=2469072>. Spencer. "Christianity Find a Fulcrum in Asia." Asia Times Online. 7 Aug. 2007. Web. 13 Mar. 2010. <http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/IH07Ad03.html>. Uhalley, Jr., Stephen, and Xiaoxin Wu, eds. China and Christianity: Burdened Past, Hopeful Future. New York: East Gate, 2001. Print. Zylstra, Sarah E. "Confusion in China." Christianity Today 54.2 (2010): 14-15. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Feb. 2010. <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.libraries.wright.edu:2048/eho st/detail?vid=3&hid=6&sid=c86cdd2e-18f5-419b-ac18d7bef2d70f22%40sessionmgr4&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2Z Q%3d%3d>