ZGBriefs from 2013
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Why China Celebrates Christmas (December 21, 2013, ChinaSource Blog)
Christmas is a global holiday, and it looks pretty much the same wherever goes is in the world. Including China. Once banned as a sign of bourgeois decadence, Christmas has made a roaring comeback in the Middle Kingdom. A recent article in the official English daily Global Times looked at why China celebrates Christmas. Not surprisingly, the writer highlighted the vast amount of economic activity generated by the holiday. Christmas in China, like anywhere else, is good for business. It puts people in a mood to spend money, gives them plenty of things to spend it on, and rewards the spending with the good feelings that come with giving and receiving gifts.
Christmas crusade (December 19, 2013, Global Times)
Christmas is, without doubt, becoming increasingly popular in China.Although Chinese people may not know the origins of Christmas, this has not affected their enthusiasm for the holiday, as the real reason for its popularity is not religious beliefs but consumption. Economic factors have brought Christmas into the lives of millions of Chinese people.However, with the rapid development of Christianity in China over the past 20 years, especially with the new phenomenon of worship services held in houses, office buildings and commercial spaces emerging in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and economically developed eastern coastal cities, more and more Chinese people are, for the first time, walking into churches for Christmas.
Religious Policies in China: Defining Normal (Winter Issue, ChinaSource Quarterly)The word "normal" is not something that those of us in the West commonly associate with the word religion or religious activities. Religious activities are simply religious activities, and to label one as normal and another as abnormal is, well, abnormal. What is normal for one religion or sect (baptizing people by dunking their heads under water) may seem strange, or even dangerous, to followers of another religion. This concept of "normal religious activities" is at the heart of the religious regulatory regime in China.
Dear ZGBriefs reader,
Christmas is coming! That means the end of the year is also near and time for fiscal year giving closes. We want to thank you for continuing to read and engage with ZGBriefs and offer you a chance to donate an end of year gift to support this fantastic publication!
A Pastors Reflections on the Asian Church Leaders Forum (December 2, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)
In June of this year, church leaders from all over Asia gathered in Seoul, South Korea for the Asian Church Leaders Forum. In attendance were many Chinese pastors who had been denied permission by the Chinese government to attend the 2010 Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa. One of those, Pastor Ezra Jin of the Zion Church in Beijing, wrote an article for the November 2013 issue of the Lausanne Global Analysis, titled A Landmark Encounter: The Significance of the ACLF for the Church in China.
The Bible business (November 20, 2013, Global Times)
To meet the spiritual needs of the rapidly growing number of Christians, China printed more than 105 million Bibles from 1987 to 2012, of which 60 percent were distributed to churches inside the country and 40 percent were delivered overseas. In this factory, employees operate machines round the clock for three shifts a day. Its warehouse stores millions of different versions of the Bible which are ready to be delivered worldwide at any time. The special King James Version which was used for Prince William's wedding in 2011 was made here. China, the world's biggest atheist country, has now become the world's largest Bible-printing state.
The Church Today (November 11, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)
In Section Two of the article, posted here, the author talks about the church-consciousness (ecclesiology) of Chinese Christians today. He argues that Chinese believers have a weak understanding of what the church is, and gives reasons for this. He also describes some of the characteristics of churches in some smaller and medium-sized cities in China. Finally, he talks about the importance of building community within a church and gives some suggestions as to how that might be done.
Western and Chinese Church History (November 5, 2013, Chinese Church Voices)
In this article, The Chinese Church: Past, Present and Future, translated from the journal ChurchChina, author Gao Zhen explores the history of the Chinese Church, examines the issues and challenges facing the church today, and looks ahead.
Urbanizing Chinas Ethnic Minorities (August 14, 2013, Andrew Stokals)
Chinas urbanization push has been in the headlines recently. Of course after 30 years, Chinas urbanization is not exactly fresh news. But recent reports of opposition to Chinas urbanization plan underscore just how integral urbanization is to the most pressing issues facing China now: 1. Maintaining economic growth through consumer spending, 2. Reducing the income disparity between urban and rural areas, 3. Growing Municipal and local government debt. One area that receives less attention is the issue of forced urbanization in ethnic minority regions, such as those home to Tibetan and Uighur populations.
House Church and TSPM: Surprising Admissions in China's Official Press (October 22, 2013, ChinaSource Blog)
A recent article appearing in Global Times, the English-language mouthpiece of the authoritative People's Daily, raises interesting questions about how China's leaders view the relationship between the official and unofficial church. Entitled "Estranged Brethren," the article deals forthrightly with the longstanding division between Christians in churches under China's official Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and those who worship outside the TSPM umbrella.