Portal:Christianity in China

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THE CHRISTIANITY IN CHINA PORTAL

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Christianity in China (called 基督教, or Christ religion) is a minority religion that comprises Protestants, Catholics, and a small number of Orthodox Christians. Although its lineage in China is not as ancient as beliefs such as Confucianism or Taoism, or comparable missionary faiths such as Mahayana Buddhism, Christianity has developed in China since at least the 7th century and has demonstrated increasing influence for over 200 years. Growth has been more significant since the loosening of restrictions on religion after the 1970s within the People's Republic. Religious practices are still often tightly controlled by government authorities. Chinese over age 18 in the PRC are permitted to be involved with officially sanctioned Christian meetings through the "Three-Self Patriotic Movement" or the "Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association". Many Chinese Christians also meet in "unregistered" house church meetings. Reports of sporadic persecution against such Christians in Mainland China have caused concern among outside observers. Surveys of the 2010s report between 30 and 40 million Christians, and other estimates between 50 and 60 million.

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Dr. Peter Parker
Medical missions in China by Protestant Christian physicians and surgeons of the 19th and early 20th centuries laid many foundations for modern medicine in China. Western medical missionaries established the first modern clinics and hospitals, provided the first training for nurses and opened the first medical schools in China. Work was also done in opposition to the abuse of opium. Medical treatment and care came to many Chinese who were helplessly addicted and eventually public and official opinion was influenced in favor of bringing an end to the destructive trade. The history of China’s current health institutions can be traced to many of the medicines, methods, and systems introduced by medical missionaries.

With time the expansion and growth of hospitals in China during the 1800s became more widely accepted. By 1937 there were 254 mission hospitals in China, but more than half of these were eventually destroyed by Japanese bombing during World War II or otherwise due to the Second Sino-Japanese War or the Chinese Civil War. After World War II most of these hospitals were at least partially rehabilitated, and eventually passed to the control of the Government of the Peoples' Republic of China, but are still functioning as hospitals.

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Gravestone of Robert Morrison, Old Protestant Cemetery, Macau.jpg
Credit: Glio

Grave of Robert Morrison at Macau, first Protestant missionary to China.

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Feng Yuxiang
Feng Yuxiang (simplified Chinese: 冯玉祥; traditional Chinese: 馮玉祥; pinyin: Féng Yùxíang; Wade–Giles: Feng Yü-hsiang) (18821948) was a warlord during Republican China.

As the son of an officer in the Qing Imperial Army, Feng spent his youth immersed in the military life. He joined the army at age 16 and proved himself to be hard working and motivated.

Feng, like many young officers, was involved in revolutionary activity and was nearly executed for treason. He later joined Yuan Shikai's Beiyang Army and converted to Christianity in 1914. Feng's career as a warlord began soon after the collapse of the Yuan Shikai government in 1916. Feng, however, distinguished himself from other regional militarists by governing his domains with a mixture of paternalistic Christian socialism and military discipline (he was reputed to have liked baptizing his troops with water from a fire hose), thus earning the nickname the 'Christian General'.

By 1929 Feng's Guominjun clique controlled most of north-central China, but because he was under increasing pressure from the expanding power of the Nanjing government, he and Yan Xishan launched the Central Plains War against Chiang Kai-shek but were defeated by forces loyal to Nanjing.

Stripped of his military power, Feng spent the early 1930s criticizing Chiang's failure to resist Japanese aggression. On May 26, 1933, Feng Yuxiang became commander-in-chief of the "Chahar People's Anti-Japanese Army Alliance", with Ji Hongchang as frontline commander. With a strength claimed by Feng to be over 100,000 men, Ji Hongchang's army pushed against Duolun, and by July 1933, drove the Japanese and Manchukuoan troops out of Chahar Province. By late July, Feng Yuxiang and Ji Hongchang established, at Kalgan, the "Committee for Recovering the four provinces of the Northeast". Chiang Kai-shek, fearing that communists had taken control of the Anti-Japanese Allied Army, launched a concerted siege of the army with 60,000 men. Surrounded by Chiang Kai-shek and the Japanese, Feng Yuxiang resigned his post, while Ji Hongchang fought on for a while before seeking asylum in Tianjin in January 1934. Between 1935 and 1945, however, Feng Yuxiang supported the KMT and held various positions in the Nationalist army and government. From 1935 to 1938 he was the Vice-President of the National Military Council and a member until 1945. After the Second Sino-Japanese War began in 1937 he was Commander in Chief of the 6th War Area.

After World War II, he traveled to the United States where he was an outspoken critic of the Truman administration’s support for the Chiang regime. He died in a shipboard fire on the Black Sea en route to the Soviet Union in 1948 and his remains were buried with honors in China in 1953.

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