In the 1950s, the communist government of China expelled all foreign missionaries. Many Americans have seen black-and-white photos of missionary families sitting next to piles of luggage on the wharves of Shanghai, waiting to sail home. We know much about this event because the missionaries came home and wrote books about their dedication and their unrealized harvest.
China’s crackdown on protesters in Tibet has brought attention to China’s record on human rights—unwelcome attention for the country that hopes this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing will bolster its image in the world. Protests have accompanied the travels of the Olympic torch as it makes its way to Beijing.
An independent federal body that monitors religious freedom is urging President Bush not to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing unless there are discernible changes in China’s policy toward Tibet.
In an event that could signal improved relations between China’s state-run Catholic church and the country’s underground church loyal to Rome, a new Chinese bishop was ordained September 8 with the approval of both China’s communist government and the Vatican.
Against the backdrop of celebrations to mark the countdown to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Chinese government has angered religious- freedom activists by attempting to assert greater influence over the choice of a successor to the Dalai Lama.
Beijing reiterated demands this month that the Vatican must break its diplomatic links with Taiwan and practice “noninterference” in China’s internal affairs if the Roman Catholic Church wishes to improve its relations with the communist-ruled state.