Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Protestantism in China
Protestant Christianity entered China in the early 19th century.
During the 1840s, Western missionaries spread Christianity rapidly through the foreign occupied coastal cities; the Taiping Rebellion was connected in its origins to the missionary activity. British and American denominations, such as the British Methodist Church, continued to send missionaries until they were prevented from doing so following the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Protestant missionaries played a significant role in introducing knowledge of China to the United States and the United States to China. The book The Small Woman and film Inn of the Sixth Happiness tell the story of one such missionary, Gladys Aylward.
Since loosening of restrictions on religion after the 1970s, Christianity has grown significantly within the People's Republic. It is still, however, tightly controlled by government authorities. The protestant Three-Self Patriotic Movement and China Christian Council have affiliations with government and must follow the regulations imposed upon them.
Names for Christianity and God
The Chinese language today typically divides Christians into two groups, believers of Jidu jiao, Protestantism, and Tianzhu jiao, Catholicism. The terms originate with different terms for God used in Chinese. The Catholic church historically favored Tianzhu (literally, Lord of Heaven) over Shangdi (literally, Sovreign Above), an alternate term used more commonly by Protestants. The current term for the Protestant denomination refers to the Mandarin Chinese translation of Christ, Jidu. (For full coverage see Chinese terms for God)
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