Although Christianity has been a minority religion in Chinese societies, Christians have been powerful catalysts of social activism in seeking to establish democracy and rule of law in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and diasporic communities. The chapters gathered in this collection reveal the vital influence of Christian individuals and groups on social, political, and legal activism in Chinese societies. Written from a range of disciplinary and geographical perspectives, the chapters develop a coherent narrative of Christian activism that illuminates its specific historical, theological, and cultural contexts. Analyzing campaigns for human rights, universal suffrage, and other political reforms, this volume uncovers the complex dynamics of Christian activism, highlighting its significant contributions to the democratization of Greater China.
Fenggang Yang is professor of Sociology and director of the Center on Religion and the Global East at Purdue University.
Chris White is assistant director of the Center on Religion and the Global East at Purdue University.
Chapter One: A Historical Overview of Chinese Christian Activism: Institutional Change toward Democracy
Fenggang Yang and Chris White
Section One: Republic of China on Taiwan
Introduction: Chinese Christian Activism in the Republic of China on Taiwan
Chapter Two: Taiwan Under Martial Law and Presbyterian Responses
Chapter Three: To Unite as One Body: The Presbyterians and Changing Identities in Taiwan
Section Two: Hong Kong
Introduction: Chinese Christian Activism in Hong Kong
Chapter Four: Religious Discourse, Social Participation, and Identity Construction of Hong Kong Protestant Christians from 1970 to 1997: An Analysis of Three Oral Histories
Wai Luen Kwok
Chapter Five: Contesting for Religious Freedom in China: The Case of Hong Kong Christian Social Activism from 2014 to 2018
Chapter Six: Identity Negotiation and Social Activism: Hong Kong Christians during the Umbrella Movement
Jenny McGill, Kim Kuen Ip, Jeffrey Chiu, and Timotheus Mui
Chapter Seven: Hong Kong Theology as a Construction of Postcolonial Theology
Tsz Him Lai
Chapter Eight: Social Media as a Tool of Social Activism: Public Theology of the Umbrella City Cyberchurch
Section Three: People’s Republic of China
Introduction: Chinese Christian Activism in Mainland China
Chapter Nine: Facing Society from the Chinese Academy: Cultural Christians, Sino-Christian Theology, and Academics as Activists
George Dunn and Xinzhang Zhang
Chapter Ten: Religious Policy on Foreign Christians in China: International Christian Fellowships and the Regulations on Foreigners’ Religious Activities
Chapter Eleven: Gospel-leafleting, Three-Self-Affiliated Congregations and Rule of Law in the PRC
Chapter Twelve: One Foot above Liberalism: Wang Yi’s Search for Civil Society
Chapter Thirteen: Christian Faith Confessions in the Chinese Jiating Church Context: The Discourse of Sovereignty and the Political Order
Section Four: Global China
Introduction: Chinese Christian Activism in Global China
Chapter Fourteen: Baorong Duoyuan: A Proposal for Religious Freedom in China
Chapter Fifteen: Migration, Conversion, and Transnational Activism in a Vancouver Chinese Church
Chapter Sixteen: “One More Christian, One Fewer Activist” – Does Christianity Squelch Activism? Hypotheses from Studying Former Tiananmen Activists Who Converted to Protestant Christianity
The vastly outsized role of Christians in Chinese political and social activism has presented a persistent puzzle. This timely volume provides the most revealing and wide-ranging answer to date. Highly recommended.
Fenggang Yang’s and Chris White’s groundbreaking and provocative volume examines the modes and motivations of politically engaged Christian activism in the orbit of China. Drawing from an array of scholarly and activist perspectives, the fifteen chapters explore the historical and contemporary roles of Christian leaders as revolutionary fighters and constitution writers, parliamentarians and presidents, supporters of self-determination and prisoners of conscience. This book gives vital insight into how and why Christians have put their faith into action in shaping national debates, and it illuminates the soul-searching involved when Christians exercise an influential and effective role in the political sphere.