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Missionaries and Martyrs of China

China Missions Martyrs - CBTS
























 See See the China Christian Counter at:

CBTS - China Missions Martyrs

The members of Chapel-by-the-Sea Baptist Church are concerned with the Missionaries and Martrys that suffer and struggle while bringing the Word of God to the Chinese People. We believe that all Christians, World-Wide, need to be made more aware of the sacrifice, dedication and determination of the Missionaries and People of China to freely worship our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

US Commission on International Religious Freedom

  • The Chinese government continues to engage in severe violations of religious freedom in 2004. Government officials retain tight control and restrict the activities of all religious communities. Religious leaders and laypersons continue to be harassed, detained, and tortured due to their religious belief. The government increases its persecution of the unregistered Roman Catholic Church, which pledges to follow the Vatican. There are currently at least 20 Catholic bishops under arrest, including Bishop Su Zhimin, who has been in prison since 1970s. In 2004, the repression of Christians escalates in Hebei, Fujian, and Heilongjiang provinces where many were arrested, including 12 priests attending a religious retreat.
  • Conditions for unregistered Protestant groups have worsened in 2004. Protestant Christians who refuse to register with the Government (the State Administration for Religious Activities, formerly known as the central Religious Affairs Bureau) have been harassed and detained. The government closed places of worship and have cracked down hard on house churches in various parts of the country. At least 100 pastors were arrested in 2004 in Heilongjiang, Hubei, Xinjiang, and in Henan Province. In September 2003, house church leader Zhang Yinan was arrested with 100 Christians in Nanyang and was sentenced to two years of "re-education" through labor. In August 2004, house church activist Liu Fenggang and others were sentenced up to three years in prison for sending information of Christian persecution to organizations in the United States. There is a report of a Christian in Guizhou died from torture by the police. She was arrested for distributing Bibles. In 2003, in Zhejiang, local officials demolished a few unregistered churches and claimed that the destroyed churches were not zoned for religious activities.
  • In November 2004, the Chinese government issued a new set of regulations on religion. The government claimed the new laws were issued to protect the rights of religious adherents. The new provisions allow religious groups to provide social services locally and receive financial support from foreign religious institutions; however, Party officials will have more control over religious activities and citizens who refuse to register with the official religious organizations will be fined and penalized.
  • The Chinese government suspended the official US.-China Human Rights Dialogue (2006), which has religious freedom as a top agenda item in March 2004 after the US. decided to introduce a resolution against China at the UN Commission on Human Rights. The resolution was a result of "Chinas failure to meet the commitments made at the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue in December 2002." Since 1999, the Secretary of State has designated China a "Country of Particular Concern" under the International Religious Act for particularly severe violations of religious freedom.

What You Can Do:

  • Pray for the Christians of China that they may be protected from harm and that the Christian message may be heard and received by all. Pray especially for the security and well being of the underground house church leaders who are currently in prison for their faith.
  • Write a respectful letter to one or more of the government officials listed below. Express your continuing concern for the safety and well being of the Christian community in China. Request information about what steps the government is taking to ensure their protection and freedom to practice their faith as laid out in the UNs Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights documents.
  • Contact the elected national officials (Senators, Congressman etc.) for your area as well as the U.S. State Department and express concern for the well being of the Christians in China asking them to make an inquiry into their status.

One of the major points of contention about the Chinese missions, and about the missionary movement in general, regards the development of independent native churches. Since the beginning, Chinese and foreign critics have accused the 19th-century Christian missionaries of keeping the native churches dependent on the mission boards in Britain and the U.S. for financial support and clerical leadership alike. In some cases, the criticism is warranted, but much can be attributed to jingoism and xenophobia on the part of succeeding Chinese governments, and in the West to ideological rejection of perceived Victorian era priggishness and paternalism. The survival of the Christian movement through such upheavals as the Boxer Rebellion, the Japanese occupation, and the Cultural Revolution suggests that most of this criticism is unfounded. This topic is addressed repeatedly in the journal of Dr. Nathan Sites, a missionary who served in Fukien (Fujian) province from 1861 until his death in 1895. Dr. Sites, like many other missionaries, argued and labored for the creation of a strong and independent Chinese church. In this effort, he ordained many of the earliest native Christian ministers, most famously a former Confucian scholar by the name of Sia Sek Ong. After his ordination, Rev. Sia toured the United States, where he was feted with honorary degrees and an audience with President Grover Cleveland.

(Sites, Sarah Moore (1912). "Nathan Sites: An Epic of the East." New York: Revell.)


Popularity and Indigenous Growth (1900-1925)

The opening of the twentieth century ushered in what has been called Christianity's Golden age in China. It was a period of transition for both the church and the nation. China moved from Qing dynastic rule to a warlord-dominated republic to a united front of the Guomindang and Chinese Communist party in league against warlords and imperialism. Christianity enjoyed unprecedented popularity for two decades. Variety within the Protestant community increased; conservative, evangelical societies strengthened their presence; the social gospel approach gained momentum, and Chinese formed their own faith sects and autonomous churches.

Reaction to the failures of nineteenth century reform movements and to international humiliation subsequent to the Boxer Uprising helped create a readiness for change in China. Many Chinese assumed that to modernize, China would have to import and adapt from the West. Since missionaries contended that Western progress derived from its Christian heritage, Christianity gained new favour. The missionaries, their writings and Christian schools were accessible sources of information; parochial schools filled to overflowing. Church membership expanded and Christian movements like the YMCA and YWCA became popular.

The number of Protestant missionaries had surpassed 8000 by 1925 and in the process, the nature of the community had altered. Estimates for the Chinese Protestant community ranged around 500,000.

There were also growing numbers of conservative evangelicals. Some came from traditional denomination, but others worked independently with minimal support, and many were sponsored by fundamentalist and faith groups like the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Christian Missionary Alliance, and the Assemblies of God. Pentecostal, charismatic and Millenarian preachers brought a new zeal to the drive to evangelize the world.

Parochial schools also nurtured a corps of Christian leaders who acquired influential positions in education, diplomatic service and other government bureaus, medicine, business, the Christian church and Christian movements. In the Christian community, individuals like Yu Rizhang (David Yui 1882 - 1936), Zhao Zichen (1888-1989), Xu Baoqian (1892-1944), and Liu Tingfang (Timothy Liu (1890-1947) stand out. Most were characterized with liberal theology, commitment to social reform, deep Chinese patriotism, and acquaintance with Western learning. Many of these leaders held popular revival meetings in Christian schools throughout China and, along with conservative churchmen like Cheng Jingyi (1881-1939), sparked the drive for greater Chinese autonomy and leadership in the church.

They became Chinese spokesmen in the National Christian Council, a liaison committee for Protestant churches, and the Church of Christ in China (CCC), established in 1927 to work toward independence. Even so, progress toward autonomy proved to be slow, for Western mission boards were reluctant to relinquish the power of the pocket book, which gave them a decisive voice in most matters of importance.

Adding to the diversity and also to the conservative trend was the proliferation of completely autonomous Chinese Christian churches and communities, a new phenomenon in Chinese Protestantism. Noteworthy was the China Christian Independent Church (Zhongguo Yesujiao Zilihui), a federation which by 1920 had over 100 member churches, drawn mostly from the Chinese urban class. In contrast was the True Jesus Church (Zhen Yesu Jiaohui), founded in 1917; Pentecostal, millenarian and exclusivist, it was concentrated in the central interior provinces.

Sometimes independence derived not so much from a desire to indigenize Christianity as from the nature of leadership. Wang Mingdao (1900-1991) and Song Shangjie (John Sung, 1900-1944) were zealous, confident of possessing the truth, and critical of what they peceived as lukewarm formalism in the Protestant establishments. They drew on the revivalism and mysticism of Western "faith sects" and the Pentecostalism of the True Jesus Church. During the 1920s and 1930s both Wang and Song worked as independent itinerant preachers, holding highly successful and emotional meetings in established churches and other venues. Their message was simple: "today's evil world demands repentance; otherwise hell is our destiny". To this doomsday prophecy, Song added faith healing. Their premillenial eschatology attracted tens of thousands of followers set adrift in an environment of political chaos, civil war, and personal hardship.


"At the time of the Communist takeover in 1949, there were roughly 900,000 Protestants. Today, the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, which puts out the much-consulted World Christian Database, says there are 111 million Christians in China, roughly 90 percent Protestant and mostly Pentecostal. That would make China the third-largest Christian country on earth, following only the United States and Brazil.


"The Center projects that by 2050, there will be 218 million Christians in China, 16 percent of the population, enough to make China the world's second-largest Christian nation. According to the Center, there are 10,000 conversions in China every day.


"The most audacious even dream of carrying the gospel beyond the borders of China, along the old Silk Road into the Muslim world, in a campaign known as "Back to Jerusalem." As David Aikman explains in Jesus in Beijing, some Chinese Evangelicals and Pentecostals believe that the basic movement of the gospel for the last 2,000 years has been westward: from Jerusalem to Antioch, from Antioch to Europe, from Europe to America, and from America to China. Now, they believe, its their turn to complete the loop by carrying the gospel to Muslim lands, eventually arriving in Jerusalem. Once that happens, they believe, the gospel will have been preached to the entire world.."              -- John Allen

"I suspect that even the most enthusiastic accounts err on the downside, and that Christianity will have become a Sino-centric religion two generations from now. China may be for the 21st century what Europe was during the 8th-11th centuries, and America has been during the past 200 years: the natural ground for mass evangelization. If this occurs, the world will change beyond our capacity to recognize it. Islam might defeat the western Europeans, simply by replacing their diminishing numbers with immigrants, but it will crumble beneath the challenge from the East."               -- Oswald Spengler

You may also wish to read the account of missionaries martyred in the 1900 Boxer Rebellion. See the Book:

Martyred Missionaries of the China Inland Mission: at Google Books