No doubt times have changed and China has most definitely changed but have our attitudes and ideas about her and her people changed with her? What exactly are the attitudes and ideas of those in the Chinese church and American born/raised children? The Chinese church is already such a complex creature. Now we’re starting to see something different, a devotion to the motherland that’s not about missions or the growing church. In recent weeks with a monumental election in Taiwan, riots in Tibet, and talk about boycotting the opening ceremony of the Olympic games amongst other things the fires of this devotion has been stoked. Generally I think we do tend to focus on the oppressive government and cast China as an evil force – perhaps even a bunch of “goons and thugs?” We think persecuted church. Nonetheless creating a dichotomy between the government and its people.
How do we reconcile the two?
I admit I’ve never really had warm fuzzies about China. Hong Kong perhaps but not big mama. Those outside of the US may very well see us in a similar light, an evil capitalistic government and its lovely diverse people.
Those who come from China to study here in the US and attend our churches have a different view of China but we probably have not noticed in the years they’ve been here until recently. A couple of weeks ago there were disputes between congregation members about Tibet and Chinese nationalism. It just struck me as something new and odd.
Last year, there were more than 42,000 students from mainland China studying in the United States, an increase from fewer than 20,000 in 2003, according to the State Department.
China is their home not simply a mission field. They will return home once they’ve completed their coursework. They have also lived and benefited in the progress China has made in being an economic force. They’re pro-China and now they’re more vocal about their devotion to the motherland.
Did I think people would not have this kind of love and devotion for China?
The NYTimes report about this rising voice across the country on college campuses.
Here are some excerpts:
“But after I come here, my professor told me that I’m nationalist.”
“I believe in democracy,” Ms. Jia added, “but I can’t stand for someone to criticize my country using biased ways. You are wearing Chinese clothes and you are using Chinese goods.”
“We’ve been smothered for too long time,” said Jasmine Dong, another graduate student who attended the U.S.C. lecture. By that, Ms. Dong did not mean that Chinese students had been repressed or censored by their own government. She meant that the Western news media had not acknowledged the strides China had made or the voices of overseas Chinese. “We are still neglected or misunderstood as either brainwashed or manipulated by the government,” she said.