Early in the year, the ChinaSource staff were reflecting on what unique events were occurring this year. They realized that 2022 marks the first decade of leadership by China’s current leader, Xi Jinping. President Xi himself has characterized this time period as the start of China’s New Era. With an important Party Congress occurring in October, ChinaSource felt this is the time to take stock of the changes and new directions China has been pursuing and what these mean for Chinese believers in their church activities and individual lives.
As we began to discuss this topic with others, we found a high level of interest. A group of trusted ChinaSource advisors met to discuss this topic and make suggestions. As we started to pull together the winter issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly, the voices of those who wanted to contribute multiplied. Given the importance, breadth, and complexity of this topic of Chinese Christians in the New Era, we decided to dedicate two issues to covering various facets of this topic. In this winter issue, we look at some of the macro and global impacts. In the spring issue we will focus more on the impacts on church life and ministry.
To set the stage for this winter issue, we first look at the broader trends of the New Era. Then ChinaSource founder, Brent Fulton, continues with an article about China’s place in the world. There is almost no country and no place that is not affected by what happens in China. Luke Wesley then provides a perspective from local churches and pastors of what the changes have looked like on the ground. He also calls us to renewed prayer for the church in China. Two Chinese writers explore various aspects of how the Chinese church is reaching out. On the domestic front, Caleb Ai, explores Chinese Christians’ involvement in meeting social needs through Chinese Christian nonprofit organizations. Xingwu Lin explores the changes and challenges for China’s indigenous missions movement as Chinese churches and missionaries reach out globally. Finally, we look at what the New Era has meant for expatriate Christians involved in ministry in China and what we can expect for the future.
We include a review of a new book by one of America’s foremost China scholars about how China sees the world since China is increasingly affecting all areas of life and work regardless of which country we live in. The Resource Corner attempts to bring together the large number of new laws and regulations affecting Christian activity in China that have come into effect during this first decade of the New Era. With the completion of the 20th Party Congress, we have Xi Jinping continuing for an unprecedented third, five-year term as China’s leader. Watching the domestic news and reports leading up to and subsequent to the Party Congress, it seems we can expect a continuation and further development of the themes, emphases, and trends that started during the first ten years of the New Era.