Missionaries kicked out of China

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
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Flag of China  ,
Friday, September 26, 2008

Here's some more information about Chinese Christians, plus a story about missionaries being kicked out:

1.
Who are these Chinese Christians? It would be absurd to say they are an organized body with uniform beliefs and opinions on everything, yet Aikman's book leads to certain generalisations. They regard themselves as truly patriotic, tending to support their government politically, with the exception, perhaps, of being very pro-American and pro-Israel. Both preferences stem from their religious, rather than their political beliefs. Their theology particularly with the "house church" Protestant Christians, is Biblical and fundamentalist, and the churches with which they are linked in the United States are their equivalents. To some extent the reason for this is that fundamentalists see evangelism as an urgent matter - to save souls from hell - in a way that their "liberal" co-religionists, with their less exclusive attitude to the matter of salvation, do not. Such help, spiritual and material, as does come from foreign Christians, will tend to come from such evangelicals, who are mostly Americans. Part of the fundamentalist package, millenarianism - the belief in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to reign for a thousand years, regarded as probably an imminent event - includes a necessary, though uncertain role for the Jews. Other features widespread amongst Chinese Christians are the "speaking in tongues" and claims of miraculous healing and exorcism. Aikman does not mention it but it seems fair to add that such Christians will reject Darwinism. If, as seems likely, they adhere to the Christian morality brought to China by the missionaries, they will also preach chastity before marriage and fidelity within it, and abhor homosexuality and abortion. All these are positions that have long been compromised or abandoned in Western Christendom, but in China would be welcomed by any government as desirable virtues, apart from, presumably, the last.

It is important to emphasise that Christians of this kind do not have a political or social programme and that their activities are directed to the spiritual salvation of themselves and of others. They would not regard it as right to manifest "respect for other religions", in our current jargon, or believe there are many paths to salvation. Aikman heard the wish frequently expressed that Chinese Christians should evangelize the Muslim world. To this end, numbers of Chinese Christians are learning Arabic. "Muslims prefer Chinese to Americans. They don't like Americans very much," explained one of them. There is a considerable Chinese diaspora and within it, Christians seem to have even more impact and gain more converts than they do back home. And some of the diaspora is in Muslim lands.

http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/005704.html

2. News today via the Christian Newswire that China has expelled more than 100 foreigner missionaries since February, and that more than 60 of them were operating in Xinjiang.

Now I know why short-shorts are popular again in Korla this year! Bring on the hedonism. I mean, missionaries are upstanding citizens and all, but they're downers when it comes time to party.

According to reliable China Aid sources and collaborated reports by at least five different mission agencies, over 100 foreigners accused of being involved in illegal religious activities in China have been expelled or deported this year between April and June. Sources inside the Chinese government informed CAA that the Chinese government launched a massive expulsion campaign of foreign Christians, encoded Typhoon No. 5, in February 2007....

According to an American who had been working in Xinjiang for 10 years and wants to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the topic, over 60 foreign religious workers were expelled from Xinjiang alone. Some of the workers had been serving the local people for 15-18 years before they were asked to leave in the past few months....

This is the largest expulsion of foreign missionaries since 1954 when the Chinese Communist government expelled all foreign religious workers after taking power in 1949.

I'm sure many of you in other parts of China run into missionary types in your day-to-day lives.

That young fresh-faced couple pushing their toddler through the streets of Lanzhou? Missionaries. That American girl you saw with her Chinese friends drinking Coca-Cola while the other foreigners were falling down drunk? Missionary. The owner of the Caravan Cafe in Kashgar who would never talk about his past and has recently been forced to close shop? Ditto! (Can I talk someone over at Sinocidal into writing up a missionary parody?)

Why do you missionaries even try to convert people in Xinjiang? You can forget about preaching the gospel to most Uyghurs, who as proud Muslims would rather open your throat than have their sons and daughters become kaper (infidels). Don't you know that the Xinjiang PSB can smell you a mile away? Don't think that you blend in... this is not the place for you, and you're screwing it up for us regular folks.

Even Mormons ― the reigning world champions of evangelism for about 150 years now ― ban their own latter-day saints from going on missions in China. Why? Because it's forbidden by the Chinese government.

Get a clue, wayward Christian soldiers! China doesn't want you, Xinjiang doesn't want you, and I want to get drunk without your scornful sidelong glances. Zaijian!


http://china.notspecial.org/archives/2007/07/homeward_christ.html


And some comments on that story:

Posted by: Laura Chipley at October 26, 2007 05:38 AM

I live in the PRC. I am a missionary and own a business.

I do what I do simply because Christianity is True. Any reasonable person willing to do the research on the historicity of the Bible will see that. Reading C.S. Lewisīs ĻMere ChristianityĻ will also help.

And because Christianity is literally true, so is the fact of manīs sin and Godīs offer of forgiveness.

The Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and Atheists of China are no different from any one of us. They have all shattered Godīs moral law every day of their lives. Lying, stealing, cheating, selfishness, pride, etc... God not only sees these obvious sins but also sees and (rightly!) judges even the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The thought life of man is exceptionally wicked ... how would you react if every one of your thoughts were to be posted online for all to see. You would be horrified. You know the evil that you are capable of and the things your mind has pondered throughout your life.

So with sin being such a reality in each person, and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world being such a powerful historical event (the New Testament is the most historically documented ancient book ever!), I am here in the PRC to share the Truth with as many people as I can.

I canīt force anyone to convert. Human beings do not want to leave their sin. Every salvation is a miracle in its own right. Praise God that miracles are happening every single day all throughout the PRC, including Xinjiang and Tibet.

How could we let the PRCīs petty laws about conversion and proselytizing keep us from sharing the Truth of forgiveness of sin with people destined to die?

I could let the Muslims and Tibetans just die in their sins... they deserve it, just like I deserve to be judged for my sins. But Jesus died for me and has saved me and these people might, just might, lay aside their pride and trust in Him if they hear His message. Thatīs why I am here.




Posted by: office dweller at October 25, 2007 09:05 PM

Are you kidding? China has Mormon missionaries up the wazoo. When I was teaching at a University in Yunnan province, my husband and I and one other guy were the only non-Mormon foreign teachers on the entire staff. The Mormons even put on a Mormon-style Christmas pagent in front of the whole school
more about that here

http://elchipz.wordpress.com/2007/08/30/kunming-christmas-122404/

When I took over a class for one of the Mormon teachers, the students told me that they had been learning "Oral English" by reciting quotes from the Bible and the Book of Mormon that the teacher had written on the blackboard.




As a former missionary I'd like to say a word in response to your blog post. I hear two main critiques of Christians back in the states. The first is that Christian's are hypocrites. The second is that Christian's try to convert people. Anyone who sincerely believes the teachings of Jesus has to chose which of these he's going to be guilty of. If you really believed a building was on fire and you really believed you knew the way out you'd be way worse than a hypocrite or a non-pluralist if you just stood by and watched. Non-hypocritical Christianity calls for sharing the gospel with others, doing social work, putting God's commands over human commands when they are in conflict etc. Christian's are not perfect but don't give them crap when they are trying to live out their beliefs with integrity at great expense to themselves.

Now, I can understand a lot of the negative feelings. I think the missionaries would really like to be more friendly to the rest of the expat community but are in quite an awkard spot. For your sake and theirs they can't exactly say "Hi, I'm ___, I'm a missionary." Believe me, from my past experience, this is harder on them than it is on you. I would have loved to been open about my hopes and dreams and the reasons I left my life back home to go to a bizzar part of the world. Try to give them a break.

Sure there are aspects of culture that get effected by missionaries being in China but that is true of probably all expats. Historically missionaries have done tons to see cultures retained. Countless languages would have been lost if it wasn't for missionaries helping the people to write and retain their own language. I use language as an example because its the most fundamental aspect of culture.

Anyway, I'd like to apologize to the ex-pat community on behalf of any missionaries for any coolness towards you in the past (and future for that sake). I hope this helps some with understanding.

Bob




Get a life and grow up. You sound like a junior high kid as a middle age dude that never grew up. Go home make your money made in America instead of feding of por people in China who do have thr fredom of chocies our USA has to be an idiot like you and exploit these people for your monetary gain.You use their country and then turn around an crique it. You'd best look in the mirror at yourself with an eviction notice. I hope China government read your blog and kick your rude mouth and crude writing back to America. Your blogger is prejudical, condesending, worhtless dirt.Someday soon you will be humbled by your own old age and dirt dished out.There is only one God and Savior Lord Jesus Christ and your knee will bow before Him someday with a humble broken heart. Wait and see. Any idiot can write like you.
No note here ever. Don't waste your votes for this middle age blogger gropping for Youtube fame from much more polished adolescents than this dude. Gaurantee , you'll face the author of your life. Rave on ...blow heart. Get a life of your own to critque.Oh,yeh,a baby wading pool for you to sit in and get wasted with your beers, and than don't forget your diapers afterwards you'll need.China government please read this blogger and kick this pathetic, insecure middle age man out asap.He'l probably pick up a child for sex also to exploit undoubtedly from his articulations and jeolousy of younger American college students able to get hot chicks. In China hot chick are a dime a dozen and they all want to go western countries. Would you in this enviroment you've wasted blogging about. I don't blame China.




Even the missionaries who provide medical and educational work are bad news. If you were poor and/or starving, and somebody came to you and offered you free medical care and education in exchange for accepting your beliefs most people would probably accept it. This does not discount the fact that it is using deception to spread religious beliefs. If these people really just wanted to do charity work, why the need to ejaculate their religion all over the map? If they felt their religion could be of benefit to others, then why the need for all the fringe benefits?





pmv,

Yes, missionary and proselyting efforts ARE illegal in China. I'm mormon, and from what I can tell the restrictions on foreigners are something like this: Any members of churches/mosques/religions that are not officially recognized by the government of china (ie, the big five including China patriot catholicism and protestant) are allowed to meet as foreign passport holders, but may not be involved in active or passive proselytizing to chinese nationals, except for family members of foreign nationals.

And I have to second Ming's point. Some missionaries of ANY religion can be annoying, rude, and fanatical in their efforts to save. However I think many are motivated by a sincere love of their fellow mankind and hope to serve them. I know the LDS church (mormon), while not proselyting due to chinese law, is one of the largest NGO's in china involved in all sorts of charity work, from disaster relief to wheelchair donation. And religious organizations from around the entire spectrum are doing the same thing. And in terms of spreading the gospel (or whatever religious doctrine), I think it can seem annoying to some people, but I've personally seen people's lives change for the better when religion came into their hearts. Call it being saved, call it being reborn, call it finding Christ, whatever, but for some people, the spiritual growth that can come with religion is very personal, and very real.


Michael,
Although this is the first time I've commented, I've been reading your blog for about a month now and I've generally appreciated your insights and personal annecdotes involving a part of the world that I've studied intensely. This is the first time that I've been somewhat offended and and largely in disagreement with one of your posts - and especially with the reactions its solicited (although I realize you can take no responsibilities for the randomness of others). On the missionaries - many missionaries in Xinjiang do not target Uighurs at all really - most do not speak thier language. They learn Chinese and thanks to central government policies to flood Xinjiang with ever more Han Chinese they have a plentiful audience when they go to Xinjiang and target Han - which is often what thier doing. I've also know MANY missionaries who are working with China involved in charitalbe endeavors of all sorts, from medical work to orphanages to repairing homes and helping with water sanitation. They are on the forefront of work with the government in Beijing seeking new regulations that will make it legal for more non-governmental organizations (religious or otherwise) to be involved in such work so that the civil society sector can more effectively step in to the innumerable places where current social safety nets fall short. On the attitudes of the Uighurs - maybe I've observed a more tollerant bunch than you have! Most wouldn't be up for conversion themselves, but you may or may not know that there are Uighur Christians - and not just converts. Besides that, the Uighur Muslims I've known have been tollerant towards them so long as they respect eachother's traditions and personal convictions. Uighurs are a proud bunch, but (largely speaking) not a radical or fundamentalist one. The expulsion of the missionaries also contravenes international standards of conventions that China has signed. Those international standards protect your right to do business in Xinjiang - they also protect the rights of others - Chinese or foreigners - to freely worship God, or Alla, or Buddha, dengdeng. This is a long first comment, but this thread needed at least one opinion from someone who can try to inject at least a bit of balance into this argument.



@Bethany:

It's not that I particularly dislike missionaries... it's that they don't want to be friends or even be socialize with non-missionaries. I've lived in Korla for about 2 1/2 years now, and there have always been at least 3 or 4 missionaries in town. Yet every time I see them they avoid me, and they're not even interested in having dinner. I could understand that sort of behavior in Beijing, but when there's only 10 foreigners in a city, everyone should at least make a show of trying to get along.

I also regret the shadow of suspicion that missionaries cast on all foreigners once they've been found operating in a certain area.

Don't worry, I'm not "outting" anyone.




Chinese people have their own traditions and cultures, so why do you want to convert them to a different and alien religion and then they can forget their own traditions? It's really despicable to use material enticement (disguised in charity activities) to convert people. I am totally for Chinese government and Indian government and all Islamic governments to expel annoying Christian missionaries. 打倒神棍!!!


Actually it is NOT illegal to participate in religious activity. Neither does the government outlaw missionaries, Mormon or otherwise. The problem is the Chinese law allows religious activity mostly only in recognized "religious confines", such as xtian churches, mosques etc, which effectively bans the door-to-door approach of the sales pitches. No idea what the regulation is on establishing new "religious confines".

I would guess that most of the time the government is rather lax in their carrying out of that particular ban, but if they keep a tab on you, it won't be hard to expel you on a 'legal' footing once they decide to do so.

Just wanted to point that out.


Wow, now I know why I didn't get a response to my second e-mail! : ) You have valid points, as some missionaries use too much fire and brimstone talk to convert people. Others are hypocrits. But those folks give other Christians a bad name, and we really don't like them too much, either.

I don't begrudge you for your opinions, even though I am a proud Christian and have done missionary work in China before. But I do ask of you to please not "out" the missionaries. You mention that they don't blend in anyway, so please don't take it upon yourself to rat them out to officials. Most of them are on short trips, so they'll be out of the country soon.

God bless,

Bethany



Actually, FOARP, I knew a group of missionaries out in Taiyuan about 6 years ago who were doing the medical and educational work you speak of. And unlike the regular twats who come in disguised as students or teachers and preach their rather noxious, almost Taleban-like fundamentalism, this particular group knew exactly what they were doing on the legal as well as cultural, historical, linguistic and societal levels. And they were good folks, and I did on several occasions sit down to a few beers with one of them. So although it's good to read of the current clean up in Xinjiang, I'd also like to state that good missionaries do exist and there were at least a few of them in China about 6 years ago.



@Michael - As much as I hate the missionaries (especially the ones who come in as students - why is it they always pick on the hot girls for conversion?) they do a lot of good work in other parts of the world. In China they can't do the kind of medical or educational work that in other countries makes their presence much more paletable, but this is the government's fault, not the fault of the missionaries. All the same, missionaries (and especially those Mormon fucks) were the bain of my life in Taiwan, where they are neither needed for their charitable role, nor particularly wanted as prosletisers.
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Comments

tear on

actually they do they go to college for years i have a friend who is a missionairy to china and they know alot about china

Andrew Fuller on

I think that if someone can make an immature comment so general to label all non-Mormon missionaries as "stupid," "fat," and "annoying," really reflects on their own stupidity. Missionaries HAVE to have background on culture, language, and general education to be able to go into the field. Not only is this the case, but a lot of times, missionaries are not accepted by missions organizations if they don't seem to have a true calling or general care about intercultural communication. Most organizations want you to have experience being a missionary at home before you can be a missionary in a foreign country. I strongly doubt that "Baptist" missionaries only talk to other missionaries, and if this incredibly crude statement is true, it is from the experience of one missionary alone, not the entire non-Mormon field.

John Cunningham on

good for china its about time.get reid of the foolish mormons. there is no item, or name in the bible or book of mormon that was there in the time period. there was no alphabet with the symbols to produce any of the names. we do not translate names the sound would stay the same. there was no one named jesus or christ. the word christian has a suffix ian which denotes places not persons. christians have an IQ of less then a first grader and the mormons are dumber then dirt. Its pertty bad when china has to tell us our english alhpbet did not exsist 2000 years ago.didnt we learn that in first grade? thank you. John Cunningham

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