April 21, 2007

tract bombing

Tim Johnson runs across some evangelists in China:

I’m sitting in a coffee bar in Lhasa that also appears to be run by U.S. Christians. A conversation with a local foreigner revealed that more than a dozen local English teachers are Christians seeking to convert students, often from their base at the Tibet Social Science Academy.
What’s interesting is that some of these Christians use denial and deception about what they are doing, employing “tradecraft” more commonly associated with spying.

Same as it ever was. Back in the eighties when China was inviting “foreign friends” over, mainly to teach, as a means of preparing the locals for the forthcoming golden horde of businesspeople they weren’t too scrupulous about checking credentials. There was an absolute infestation of evangelicals, often in posts at fairly prestigious universities for which they had no qualifications whatsoever. “Plate tectonics later – but first, Jesus!”

This kind of thing is partly a by product of evangelism being banned in China. Partly also it’s because the thought of 1.3 billion hellbound souls just gets evangelical sap rising. It’s a particular obsession in the US. None other than Henry Luce said that the great mission of the United States was to Christianize China.
Anyway, the Chinese government seem to have got their measure now:

While Christian proselytizers tend to operate all through China, I’ve noticed they are mostly in minority areas – where Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and Korean minorities live, where Chinese authorities probably don’t mind if endemic religious influence is diluted..
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