Church and State
Mountains today no longer symbolize separation, but rather strength, as suggested by another phrase, tieda de Jiangshan (铁打的江山). Literally meaning “rivers and mountains forged in iron,” it is commonly translated “iron-clad country,” a fitting description of the seemingly unshakeable state power being exerted throughout Xi’s China.
Trying to “Keep the Flies Out”
Despite China’s growing global economic power, it is becoming increasingly closed and hostile to foreign influence from outside and foreign people inside the country. How, then, does the church in China maintain ties with the global church? We remain open to the leading of the Holy Spirit and pray for discernment to interact wisely with Chinese brothers and sisters.
The Quest for Trustworthy Information
One…reason for [the] drop in the number of publications [is] the measures introduced to combat the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in…less direct contact. However…the decline started before the arrival of the pandemic and secondly, the Communist Party had…been busy for many years…to control the information environment, even before the watershed 2018 regulations came into force.
In the polarized political landscape, China garners near-universal disapproval. The instrumentalization of China's church distorts reality for political gain, linking it with domestic religious freedom issues. Genuine dialogue is needed to address complex concerns and avoid silencing Chinese Christian voices.
From the desk of the guest editor.
Changes and Issues for Chinese Ministries in a New Context
Changes in China over the past ten years are dictating changes for the church in China. Kim reviews the main areas of change and the ways these have affected the churches. Then he looks at new roles for both workers from overseas and China’s churches.
China has switched to a totally different track that has become a main ideological thread: nationalism—with a whole generation following it. New NGO regulations and other laws leave little space for internationals, especially Westerners, to operate in China as before. Is it possible to present the gospel without a Western format?
Lee explains the three main reasons why the Communist Party is wary of Protestants: their faith is seen as an ideological threat to the Party, churches can bring foreign influence, and they are a collective action threat. She then explains the various ways pastors are dealing with the actions the Party is using to hold them in line.