Christianity Fever (October 8, 2008, Global China Center, by Carol Hamrin)
Through a century of political turmoil and disillusionment, waves of Chinese intellectuals have come to Christ. For more than 100 years, China’s tiny cultural elite has wrestled with the role of Christianity in society. Traditional scholars educated a century ago in state-sponsored Confucianism tended to reject Christianity as a foreign teaching. But the new professionals of the 1910s and ’20s, as well as the growing middle class in the last 20 years, have been attracted to Christianity as a way to build a strong modern China. Their initial question is often “What can Christianity do for China?” For some, this utilitarian approach becomes a personal spiritual journey. The pattern has been a tidal wave of interest in times of political upheaval, followed by a low tide, often due to anti-Western nationalism. The third of these high tides is surging in Chinese society today.
Sons of heaven (October 2. 2008, The Economist)
Zhao Xiao, a former Communist Party official and convert to Christianity, smiles over a cup of tea and says he thinks there are up to 130m Christians in China. This is far larger than previous estimates. The government says there are 21m (16m Protestants, 5m Catholics). Unofficial figures, such as one given by the Centre for the Study of Global Christianity in Massachusetts, put the number at about 70m. But Mr Zhao is not alone in his reckoning.