Lianghui (simplified Chinese: 两会; traditional Chinese: 兩會; pinyin: Liǎnghuì; Wade–Giles: Liang Hui; literally: "two meetings") is a common Mandarin Chinese abbreviation for a pair of organizations which have close relations.
In the Chinese government, the term refers to the annual plenary sessions of the national or local People's Congress and the national or local committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. It is used also by the officially-sanctioned Protestant and Catholic churches in China, and has been used by some to avoid Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China.
When referring to politics of the People's Republic of China, "national lianghui" (全国两会) refers to annual plenary sessions of the two organizations that make national-level political decisions: the National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
A less common political usage of lianghui is abbreviating the Republic of China's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in Taipei, and the PRC's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) in Beijing.
Protestantism in China uses lianghui to name the two Chinese government-sanctioned Protestant organizations: the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and the China Christian Council (CCC). Due to the close relationship between these two organizations, they are sometimes mistaken as the same organization.
Beginning in the 1980s, both associations were simultaneously headed by K. H. Ting (丁光訓, 1915–), an ordained Anglican Bishop of Zhejiang in 1955 (prior to the absorption of all Anglican and Protestant denominational churches into the TSPM). He would retire from both positions at the 6th National Christian Conference, where he addressed the delegates on 29 December 1996.
The TSPM and CCC together form the constituent organizations of the National Conference of Chinese Protestant Churches. The distinctive roles of the TSPM and CCC are hard to distinguish due to overlaps but both organizations maintain separate Standing Committees.
The administrative structure of the lianghui is diagrammed as follows:
The TSPM and CCC jointly administer the following ministries:
- Social Service Ministry
- Organizes resources both domestic and abroad, to plan and coordinate the activities of local churches to promote an active social welfare programs, disaster relief programs, and emergency relief work.
- Publication Ministry
- Coordinates the editing, publication and distribution of books, audio and video materials, Bibles and hymnals. Also sets guidelines for the publication of materials by local TSPM committees and Church councils.
- Ministry of Reconstruction of Theological Thinking
- Researches main trends of Churches overseas, major themes involved in Reconstruction of Theological Thinking, and issues concerning church development in China.
- Education and Training Ministry
- Supervises and coordinates issues relating to educational guidelines for Theological Seminaries and Bible Colleges in China, organizes overseas study program for theological graduates, supports lay training programs, and organizes training programs in specialised fields.
- Overseas Relations Ministry
- Supervised and coordinates the establishment and development of relationships between Chinese churches and overseas churches through regular mutual visits and exchanges on the basis of mutual respect, and equality.
Number of Christians
Together, the TSPM and CCC claims a total of between 9.8 million to 13.5 million Protestant Christians in China.
The TSPM and CCC are viewed with suspicion and distrust by some Christians both within and outside China. Some claim the TSPM to be a tool of the Communist Party of China to control and regulate the expression of Christianity. As a result, many groups refuse to deal with the TSPM or CCC and there exists a large unregistered House Church movement in China with some claiming that it serves the large majority of Protestant Christians in China.
Roman Catholicism in China uses lianghui, or yihuiyituan (一会一团 or "one association and one conference"), referring to the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (中国天主教爱国会) and the Bishops Conference of Catholic Church in China (中国天主教主教团). These two state-approved Catholic organizations do not accept the primacy of the Roman Pontiff, in contrast to the Chinese Catholic Bishops Conference (天主教台灣地區主教團) in Taiwan.
During the 2011 Chinese pro-democracy protests, the word lianghui became a covert means of avoiding Internet censorship. When PRC censors attempted to limit news of the Arab Spring by disabling internet searches for Chinese words such as "Egypt," "Tunisia," and “jasmine", protest organizers urged bloggers and activists to call planned protests lianghui. If the government were to censor this dissenters' circumlocution, it would effectively block internet news about the governmental NPC and CPPCC meetings.
- Politics of the People's Republic of China
- National People's Congress (NPC)
- Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)
- Christianity in China
- Protestantism in China
- Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM)
- China Christian Council (CCC)
- Judith Sutterlin, Frequently asked questions about the Protestant church in China, June 2005 (URL last accessed October 15, 2007).
- Protestant Church in China: Administrative Structure (URL last accessed on May 1, 2007
- (Chinese) Ministries - Protestant Churches in China,web of CCCTSPM
- OMF: China Profile (URL last accessed on May 1, 2007)
- Amity Foundation: How To Count The Number of Christians In China (URL last accessed on May 1, 2007)
- Grant, Paul: The Three Self Church, NSM, January 1, 2007 (URL last accessed on May 1, 2007)
- 24/7 Prayer: Statistics of Christians in China (URL last accessed on May 1, 2007)
- Forum 18 Analyses: Reports from China (URL last accessed on May 1, 2007)
- Jeremy Page, New Chinese Call for 'Jasmine' Protest Circulates Online, Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2011.
- Jo Ling Kent, Organizers call for second round of demonstrations across China, CNN World, February 25, 2011.
- Lianghui, Schott's Vocab, New York Times, March 2, 2011.
- Jargon Watch, Wired Magazine, May 31, 2011.
- All China Lianghui Report 2008 (in Chinese: NCP and CPPCC)
- Christian (Protestant) Lianghui Home Page (in Chinese and English)
- List of Main Churches and Theological Seminaries of China Christian Council (in Chinese)
- The Amity Foundation (in Chinese and English)