Peter K.Y. Woo_ “The Anti-Christian Movement of - The Anti

Document Sample
Peter K.Y. Woo_ “The Anti-Christian Movement of - The Anti Powered By Docstoc
					By a lecturer at the Taiwan Theological Seminary, Taipei, the article below relates
the present attitude toward religion in the People's Republic of China to develop-
ments early in the Republican movement, and comments also on the present religious
situation in Taiwan itself. (Translated from German by Professor Karl Rennstich,
Trinity College, Singapore).



The Anti-Christian Movement of the
Chinese Students in 1922
                                                                PETER K. Y. Woo


     When in 1911, as a resu1t of the revolution of Sun-Yat-Sen, the Ching
Dynasty came to an end, the Chinese established a democratic government.
The most important alteration then was, as is well known, the so-called
'May Fourth Movement' in 1919. The leaders ofthis revolutionary movement
were the students of the State University of Peking who started and orga-
nized the revolution throughout the country. When at the end of the First
World War Shantung province became Japanese, the student revolution-
aries started the 'May Fourth Movement'. As a consequence of this move-
ment the students destroyed the tradition of thousands of years and robbed
the Chinese of their old ·family tradition. The first thing which was
done during this movement was to throw out the classical literature and
replace it with pragmatic and scientific thinking. The fast moving
(lit: like a river moving) youth movement having seen its success in
changing inner conditions, was eager now to eliminate capitalism and
imperialism as well. In mass rallies, manifestos, student movements and
other ways available for this purpose they were trying to fight the unjust .
 "Final Peace". There is no doubt the protest of the students was fruitful
since the peace-and justice-loving people in the world responded very sharply
to the protest. Most of all the United States agreed to repay "OS$13,650,000 in
war debts out of which 4,792 Chinese students were send to America to
study. 1                                         .

     Soon after the Anti-Imperialist Movement an Anti-Christian Movement
came into being which was to destroy the base of the Christian Faith in
China. It is my purpose in this article to describe first the development of this
Anti-Christian Movement and in the following part I shall try to give the·.
causes and reason for it. In the last part I shall try to explain its impact on the
future of China.
                                        I
     In 1922, June the 14, there was released a manifesto from the so-called
Anti -Christian Union which reads as follows:
        "The sins of religions are many. In her morals we find that religion is
        teaching obedience which is in fact a slave morality. Intellectually religion
        teaches superstitions which are far away from the truth, in reality the
        believers are forced to despise earthly things and dream of the kingdom
        of heaven and hell. This aims at the destruction of the human nature.

 1. Newsdom Nu. 816 5.10.1963 Hongkong.

                                          57
             The teaching of religion are absolutely worthless, because its evils are
             unpredictable. Nevertheless the influence of religion increases every day
             for the simple reason that the evil-doer in religion have an organization
             and we, who are fighting against religion, do not.
             The Christian religion is the m,ost detestable of all religions. One evil of
             which Christianity is most guilty and which we despise most is her alliance
             with militarism and capitalism. The influence of this evil power is growing
             every day and if this power is becoming even more strong then the methods
             of capitalism will become even more drastic. Christianity is the open enemy
             of mankind as much as imperialism and capitalism are, because it is using
             the same method namely to exploit the weaker countries. China has long
           . been the object of this exploitation by both imperialism and capitalism.
             And Christianity has been serving both in order to spread their influence.
             Christianity was the intelligent servant of capitalism and the hireling of
             the imperialist powers. If we do not try very hard to exterminate this evil
             then it will be hard to predict the future danger coming out ofit."2
     The soul of the Anti-Christian-Movement, or at least its source, is two
fold: it is well known that long before the year 1922the Chinese religions had
been persecuted. Confucianism, which although not in a real sense called a
re1igioJl, had been put aside from the very first days of the Student Movement.
The Buddhists faced the same fate. In Apri11910, only a few months prior to
the Great Revolution, the Buddhists has been organized by the government.
In 1915there was founded a new society by BODHI which was trying to replace
 Buddhism by setting up a new theory. 3              .

     The Chinese Christians, feeling the danger for them coming out of this
movement, tried to free themselves from the influence of the outside powers
 namely the churches and missionaries of the West. The 'China for Christ'
 Movement which had just started had tried very hard to unite the churches.
 The Chinese Church Movement had been able to influence quite a few Chinese
thinkers, although it may be an exaggeration to think Chinese Christians
would have been able to carry on the religious task alone. 4
     One result however of this _   religious unrest was the founding of the
 'Church of the five ReligiDns' in the Shantung province. The leader was Lie
Mingseng, an officer in the army. His influence grew very fast in different
parts of China and in 1923 there were already 75 societies started in 11 pro-
vinces. Members came from all ranks, officers in the army, traders and even
the old Jiterary men. They numbered millions.
     The ultimate aim of the organization was to unite the five main reJigions
in China: Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity in order
to spread th~m all over the whole world.
     The principles of this movement were as follows:
     1. to cultivate personality
     2. to build the character of mankind 5
     The students therefore were very interested in religion after the Anti-
Confucianism and before the Anti-Christian-Movement. There were some who
even proclaimed religious freedom. Others however were in favour of the
 .2.   "Mail and Empire," Modern Review 14.6.1972 Shanghai.
  3.   Tsu Y. Y. Present Tendencies in China Buddhism 1922 London.
  4.   Christian China, Hsu P. C. TIW Prospects for Christianity in China. Oct. 1921 Shanghai.
  5.   The Journal of Religion. pp. 71-72 Jan. 1924.

                                               58
replacement of religion by humanisin. A third group believed that each person
 should be free to choose whatever religion he liked and be free to
compare the religion. The second group however Was the strongest. Most of
the students who had studied in France were very much against all religions.
 Noteworthy are the leaders of this group: Li-Shi-Tzeng and T. Y. Chou.
When the Anti-Confucianism was at its high-point, the leaders were asked why
other religions too were not critizised. For example why not the Christian
religion which is a Western religion?
      This was the answer of the leaders to this question;
           We, the editors of Sin-Tsin-nien (the most important journal of the
           Student Movement), do not honour any Western I·eligion. The
           reason for not critizising the Western Religion is ·the fact that we
           think the poison of the Confucian religion is worse than the one from
           the Western religion. We have to wait some time therefore before
           we can attack the Western religion, but, to be sure, we are already
           preparing the way. Mr. Chen Tu-seu has already explained the 'My-
           stery of the Universe of Science' and Dr. Tsai.made it quite clear that
           aesthetics is to replace religion' , . 6
      After the end of the First World War the students attacked militaris:p:l,
capitalism and the foreign powers . It was during this time that the manifestoes
of the Anti-Religion Movement were published. In most of them there was a
more or less I?trong criticism of Christianity because, as one of the leaders
has put it, "Most of the foreign powers are Christian countries and the Chris-
tian Religion is the most aggressive religion in China," . 7
      On Christmas eve in 1919 was published a newspaper in Canton under
the name 'The number of persons bearing the name of Jesus' . The paper was
distributed very widely. It was, as one commentator puts.it, the "most
virulent attack against Christianity that one could see in so far' '.
     In 1920 a new paper, 'Opinion of the People', spoke of many Jesus. One
title for example read: "Who is Jesus?" And the author answered there is
     1. The historicai Jesus
     2. The biblical Jesus
     3. The Jesus of the time of the Reformation
     4. The Jesus of Neo-rationalism and philosophers .
      5. The Jesus of Tolstoi
     But there is no Jesus in real history, states the author and goes on saying:
"The Jesus of the Neo-rationalism and philosophers and Tolstoiis only the
invention of these men; the biblical Jesus consists of contradictions only. On
the one hand they teach the universal love and brotherhood of mankind, on
the other hand there is their own narrow egoism and the spirit of revenge' , .
     The reason given by the author was the religious wars not only between
the different religions but even among the Christian countries themselves. 8 .
.                         a
     Mr. Li Huang and - group of Chlnese Students who had done some think.
in~ on the question of religion in France sent a circular to theprof~ssors of

6. Sin-tsin-nien vo!. IV, Nu. 3, Marz 1918.
7. Argument against Religion. Juni 1922, Peking.
8. Cio J. S. Jesus Number. 1920, Canton.

                                          59
  the University of Paris asking three questions:
         1. Is man a religious being?
         2. Is there any possibility for religion in modern times?
         3. Is there a need of religion for the New China?
         Mr. Granet, a professor of the Sorbonne, Mr. Barbusse and Mr. BougIe,
  professors for social philosophy at the Sorbonne gave an answer to the ques:
  tionnaire. The answers to all three questions were strictly NO.
          One of the professors gave a commentary to the letter saying there had
  never been any real religion in China and it would therefore be very danger-
  ous to import a religion from outside. He even went on to assert that Christi-
  anity had come to China simply to make way for the political and economic
  interests of the Western powers. China, he saip., had suffered enough already,
  there should not be added more unhappiness. There is no reason to bring to
  China any Western ideas, methods or morals. 9
         The students believed this 'authority' and the answers were published in
  the papers. This was in February 1921. Soon after 47 newspapers started an
  attack on Christianity.                                  .
         On the 21st March 1922 the Student Movement sent a Circular to 79 VIP's
  of which Li Shi-tseng was the leader. The revolutionary anti-religion attack
  spread very fast from the students of Peking, to Shanghai, Tientsin, Paoting-
  fu, Tiaymln, Wuhu, Wushung and Changahao. The Peking Morning Post
  alone published more than 30 declarations and answers. Practically all stud-
  ents of the state universities took part in this movement.
         On the 9th of April there were many meetings in the State University
  of Peking. The following points were discussed during this meetings:
  The world has moved from the religious to the scientific spirit. Religion no
  longer is necessary for man. Li Shi-tseng read a paper by Tsai Yuan-pei: .
   , 'It is a fact that religion is dead in the West" . Thousands of students heard
  this and were convinced.
         In March the same meetings were held at Shanghai and Anhwei. 10
         Dr. Tsai Yuan-pei made his point clear during the meeting of the Anti-
  Religion Association when he said that religion is only a philosophy or a kind
  of philosophical belief and that all religions are corrupt, false and insincere.
  He even went on to condemn the missionaries, mission schools and YMCA.
  In a pamphlet under the title 'Independence in Education' he tried to prove
  that aU education should be free from any religious interference and wrote:
  "because the religions and the YMCA are organizations proclaiming their
  faith, we too should therefore found an Anti-religious organization. Most
  probably there will be people saying "did not the Anti-Religious Movement
  already destroy the freedom of religion? Do not believe this, because believing
  in a religion is one kind offreedom but not believing in religion is a kind 6f
. freedom too. If therefore the Anti -Religion Movement has destroyed the Free-
  dom of religion we can argue that the religious movements had done damage
  to us also. Whatever one can say, we have an Anti-Religion Faith and that
  is a Anti-Religion movement and we are free to carry on' , . 11      .


  9. Youth China Vo!. m, No . 1.
 10. C. S. Chang, Anti-Religion Movement, Aug. 1923, p. 451.
 11. Argument against Religion;June -1922, Peking.

                                            60
     Mr. Uong pointed out in his'speech to the association: "In the beginning
lknew only two ways of dealing with religion: objective studies of the essence
of Buddhism and Christianity and secondly looking up to all believers of
whatever religion . . . . but thirdly to resist all believers. I do admire all
believers, because I have seen their cooperation with us, but now I find they
do not respect us since they are attacking us already. When I went to France,
the son of a friend went with me. He was then only 8 or 9 years old. He had been
to a Christian School. When he went to bed he would kneel down and murmur
something and eventually he would kiss his cross' , . I asked him what he was
doing. His answer was: "My teacher told me when a man goes to sleep the
devil will come to eat his soul; but if one prays for God's help then the devil
can not come to this man". I was, frankly, surprised and deeply impressed. 12
     Three parties were interested in this movement: a pro, a contra and
neutral one. The arguments of the contra group were collected in a book,
issued in June 1922. The arguments against religion were the following:
      Preface, Introduction of the different Anti-religions
      1. Anti-religious people in modern time and their life are: Francis Bacon,
         -Rene Descartes, Francois de Voltaire,Denis Diderot, Jeremy Bentham,
          Herre de la Place, Jean Lamarck, August Comte, Victor Hugo, Charles
          Darwin, Camiel de Cavour, Claude Bernard, Alexander Bakounine,
          Karl Marx, Clemence Boyer, Elise Reclus, Alfred Napuet, Pierre Kro-
          potkin.
      2. "Natural morality" by M. Cuyan.
      3. Four different Chinese characters and the religious problem: .
          (a) Christians 334, 974 (in 1922)
          (b) Rice-Christians
          (c) Acquaintances (relatives) of Christians
          (d) Friends of Christians
      4. Holy Bible and China: A statistical study.
      5. The so-called good points (things) of religions were:
         During a famine, the missionaries convert the people. First they gave the
          Holy Bible, then food. The convert ate first, the non-converts later.
      6. Why we fight against religion.
         Firstly in these troubled times they preach that man is a sinner and has
         to believe in their religion, therefore they upset the poor people. Second
         they are in a conflict with the progressive idea.
         Third they fight against science.
      7. Anti-religion: Bertrand Russell.
         Belief in religion means only claiming eternity for an idea, therefore
         marxism can be called a religion too.
      8. Anti-religion Tsai Yuan-pei:
         Substituting religion by aesthetics.
      9. Christianity and the Christian church: Chen Tu Seu:
         discrepancy in the teaching of Christianity. Sins of the Christian church,
         militarism and capitalism: I give you the Holy Bible, you give me the
         country.
     10. Freedom of belief: Where there is freedom to preach, there must be the
         freedom to protest.
     11. Religion and the future of mankind: Religion is not necessary.
     12. Religion and Socialism: Li Huang: Christianity is capitalism.
12. Ibid.

                                        61
      . 13. Anti-religion: Li Shi Tseng:
            Religion is not modern anymore,science has surpassed it. I don't want
            to talk about it but they preach,to us and Dui children and so we cannot
            stay silent. We are living in our country, we must not be passive.
        14. The problems oflife after death:
            We Chinese have not yet a scientific commentary on religion but the
            preachers have already betrayed our people.                          , .
        15. Morality in religion: Morality in religion is passive, against nature. 13
      In the beginning we saw the main arguments against religion itself, the
Christian teaching, and the Christian church. Not to be reasonabJe, but
national and in particular to be influenced by modernism was the main fault
of the students of that time. Therefore they mixed up the priests with the
imperialists and did not see a dlfference betvJeen dogmatism and human f~lUlts.
      But philosophically seen, it would be wrong to make freedom of reJigion
equal to the freedom of anti-religion.
      The Pro-group was very small and poor. They were only few Christians
studying or lecturing at a University. In Canton they responded for the first
ti me in the pamphlet called "The True Light' , . ,
      Because of the fact that the mistakes of missions were obvious they could
not fight the Anti-religionists down. But the coritradictions were Western
ideas. They compared the teachings of science and imperialism and showed
who was responsible for war.                                                  '
      A small reJigious publication could not possible be equal to 47 different
Newspapers. The voice of the Pro-group was too small ... was not strong
enough. 14 In the beginning neutral group included 5 professors ofthe State
University Peking, who said that religion was free and should not persecuted.
      The reason given were:
      1. Religion is by nature necessary
      2. There is no contradiction between religion and science
      3. Christianity is progressive
      4. We canllot compare or mix up the priests with Christianity in
         China} 5.
    , Sadly, ' there was no connection between this point of view and the
Christian one. Therefore the Anti-religions group won on all fronts, their
points of view flooded all the school-books and the lecture halls, therefore
religion and the culture of China was doomed.

                                     II
     To see the background of theanti-Christia.n movement, we have to go
back to the Chinese history of the 19th century. After the Opium War people
found some inscriptions on the wall of a house belonging to Jesuits which
read like this:                                                 .
    Abi,Viator !congratulare inortuuis
    . . condole vlvis             "    .
        . ora pro omnibus
        -'nlirare et 't ace ! 1 6
13.   Ibid.
14.   Criticism ofthe Anti-Christians. MaijJuni1922, Kanton.
15.   Criticism ofthe Anti-Religion Federation. 31. Mai 1922,PEiking.
16.   Holbock-Sartory, Mysterium Kirche,Salzburg.

                                            - 62
      This was a sad thing for the Jesuits whOE:e work was started by Matteo
 Ricci (1582) and many padres had worked there since the last 150 years.
      Because of the "in:vidia clericalis" all was lost. After the Rites Contro-
 versy the door of China was closed to the Gospel and the connection between
 China and Europe was cut off. Each went its own way: in Europe science
dominated and in China the family culture, Confucianism, Taoism, and Bud-
dhism went on undisturbed. In 1840 the British came with opium and the
Chinese declared war on them. But the family culture could not· fight against
cannons. China lost that war and the following peace pact of Nanking in
1842, and blamed the Christian nations for this (a dark spot for the British).
      Beside the payment of 400 millions silver dollars the Chinese had to
opentheir ports to foreign ships. After that came the beginning offreedom to
propagate the Gospel for the :church. China was open again to the Christian
faith. Finally in 1844 a peace pact between China and France was signed.
 §6 of this pact reads:
           It should be known as fast as possible in the whole country ...thatin
           all parts of China everyone may proclaim and practise the Christian .
           faith, to hold services, to teach and to build churches; and
           all those who arrest Christians wrongly shall be punished. All
           churches, schools, cementeries, land and buildings that belonged to
           the persecuted Christians will be paid for and the money given to
           the French representative in Peking to hand over to these Christians.
      All French missionaries shall be permitted to rent or buy land in all
provinces and to erect buildings on it. 1 7
      This was the first law that the French forced on the Chinese as. a religious
edict in order to protect the church, the missionaries and the Chinese Chris-
tians. After 1842 protestant missions had big centres in the free port-cities.
In 1847 the first Catholic institution in Shanghai was founded. In 1850 the
Jesuits build the first middle school in Suiwhee. In that time the number of
Catholics was 320,000 that of the Protestants only 1,000.
     In 1860 the Chinese fought against the invasion of foreigners again.
There was another peace pact in Peking which guaranteed protection to the
church. In 1893 the number of Protestants had grown to 55,093.
     In 1900 a Chinese Protestant who was very much influenced by the
American Baptist Roberts organized the well known Boxer Rebellion which
was directed against all foreigners in China. Again the Western powers came,
China was defeated again. There were many congregations and thousands of
Christian victims of this war.
     Mter the peace pactthe church had freedom again. Till 1901 the Chris-
tians numbered 720,540 but in 1912 there were 1,431,258 catholics and 235,303
Protestants in the· country.
. The facts mentioned above would make one to believe that the growing
of the church was connected with war and imperialisrp. But the truth is, the
churches Were growing veryfaElt, .
     The Catholic church in China had up to 1930 a universities, a college, 51
secondary schools 197 primary schools and 8640 religious schools, and the
church had 100 dioceses. In 1939 there were 3,173,504 Catholics and some

17. H. Hermann, Chinesische ,.GeaQhiebte. 1912 Stl,l.ttgat1;.

                                               63
  years later, in 1949 the number of Protestants had growth to 1,401, 777
  among them were 2024 pastors. 18
       Concurrent with the growth of the church there was a growing misunder-
  standing between the intellectuals and the church, although the crises and
  resistance against the church was not openly shown but hidden behind
  Chinese culture.
       This development was not good for the future situation of the church.
  Neither the missionaries nor the local Christians were able to defend their
  Christian faith against the growing Anti-religious movement.
       There is one more fact which needs to be understood.
       The revolutionaries who together With Sun Yat Sen in 1911 revolted
  against the unjust peace pacts had mostly been in Europe before and they
  knew enough about foreigners. Because of the peace pact they had become
  poor and were shy outwardly, but there was deep in their hearts a hatred
  of the foreign powers, the political as well as the religious, which to
  them seemed to be connected anyway. China's upper class, especially the
  students had a deep yearning for the freedom of their mother land. The Anti-
  Christian movement has brought out their love for the country and ignorance
  of scientific thinking. How far the militarists and imperialists were res-
  ponsible for the wars and this movement, is not easy to see now. One thing
 is certain that in this vaccum the Confucian tradition was regarded as
  useless by the Fourth May Movement (a student revolt against the
  shameful peace pact in Paris in 1919) and Christian ideas were condemned as
  imperialistic. The faith in the New Learning, Science succeeded.
                     a
       Dr. Hu Shih student of John Dewey, and many others who admired
  the Western democratic ideas and science, made clear that the tradition of
  the old China, especially Confucianism, was the reason for a weak China dis-
  turbed by Western powers who were strong not because of Christianity but
  because of scientific thinking and democratic living.
       "If we want to be strong" they published in a magazine. "then we must
  do away with the old culture, confucianism and then Christianity".
       The outcry: "Destroy Confucianism" and "welcome Mr. De (mocracy)
  and Mr. Sci (ence) were heard by many students.
       In 1917 Chen Tu-seu, another student leader who organized about 300
  student magazines was most helpful in bringing in Europization to China by
  using, the above mentioned slogans. Men like Dr. Tsai Yuan-pei, GuSsu-
  nien, Li Shi-tseng, T.Y. Cou and Li-huang were members of this movement
  and movement and carried on the ideas.
      In 1919 the Fourth of May Movement started. The -students of 33 schools
  and universities marched against the Japanese invasion of Shantung (which
. belonged to Germany once but was given to Japan in the Paris peace pact).
  This was the starting of a big movement all over China: 20th May, Peking, 27th
  in Nanking, 28th in Paotingfu, 30th in Anking 31, st in Hankow, Washang,
  Kaifeng. Then came Foochow, Canton Amoy, everywhere the students
  marched.
      These young men wanted the same things. Their leaders had published in
  the newspapers: We need science, we need democracy, we need new freedom.
18. Paschal M. D'Elia, History of China Mission, 1935, Shanghai.

                                           64
Confucius should vanish, new people with modern ideas should take over
his place in the books Men like John Stuart Mill, Charles Darwin; Thomas
Henry Huxley, Rousseau, Adam Smith, John Dewey Betrand, Russell, etc.
     These men we'r e made gods and honoured as gods. In the eyes of the
marching students confucianism was the cause of a weak China compared to
foreign countries. The above named men were to be the heroes of a new China,
of whom they wanted to learn. The translations of their ideas were read all
over China. The thousands of years old tradition was forgotten, despised,
and thrown away.
     Besides Confucius there was still Christianity in China and an obstacle
to the new China too, that had to be removed.
     If we want to know why the students came to these ideas, we have to go
back to history again.

                                        ill
       After the Opium War, the Chinese Government realized that China and
  Chinese culture in order to be free of foreign powers had to be as strong as
  the foreign science, modern weapons, big warships: China must have the same
  things. The realizatioin of this wish was only possible through the imitation
  of Europe and its people and by learning from them.
       Therefore thousands of students were sent abroad. In 1847 to the United
  States, in 1876 to Europe, especially to France. In 1922 the number of students
  who had studied in foreign countries and returned to China was 5378, 5209
  from USA and the 1049 from European countries.
      In the USA they mostly studied engineering, in Europe education,
  sociology and law. There was a reason why the technical influence was much
  smaller as the political. The students had been very active. They told all about
  what they had heard and seen in foreign countries. The churches at the time
  had a crisis too, and the atheist movement was very strong, especially at the
  universities. Therefore the student could not learn about the centre of the
  Christian countries that is Christ but, only the Anti-Christian ideas hidden
  behind science or democracy. They took back just these methods to make
  China strong and taught it to the next generation, not only anti-Christian
  but also anti-Theist and anti-tradition.
      This was the first start of the Anti-Christian movement and it had not
  started in China in the first place but in Europe.
      A second reason was translations of books . This was a product of foreign
  studies. Many books had been already translated by Matteo Ricci, . but
  because of the rite quarrels many had been lost.
      In modern times, modern thinkers translated new books. The first was
  Evolution and Ethics and other Essays by Thomas Henry. The second The
  Orgin of Species by Charles Darwin.
.     This selection pointed out the difference between science and Christian
 teachings. And the students got the wrong idea as, if science was progressive
  and the Christian teaching hindering the progress of the modern time. It
  seemed as if science had made Europe strong and Christianity had kept
  Europe down, but was defeated by science.
      These thoughts are still to be found in Chinese school books even today~
                                        65
                                          IV
    So far we have only mentioned the more spiritual inside reasons which
became prime movers for the students in their anti-Christian attitude.
    There were howev~r other not less important motives which we can call
the outside reasons. They are very closely_ connected with, those already
mentioned.
     Dr. Johannes Schutte, SVD, quotes in his doctoral theses, "The Catho-
lie Mission in China in the mirror of the red Chinese Press" (Tientsinjipo
Morning Post of the Communists in Tientsin):
         "Our Catholic China mission was misused by imperialism in the last
         hundred years and has been made the spearhead of invasion. An endless
         number of facts, solid proofs in history are open before us. Their manifold
         reality is hurting the heart': 19.
     There were at least 60 incidents involving the Christian missions bet-
ween 1858-1900. Dr. Schutte further points out:
         "Another source of many incidents and misunderstandings was the French
         protection of the Catholic China Mission. • . .
         France has used her power and political privilege in order, to secure and
         enlarge her political influence in the Far East at the expences of the
         missions. This brought the missions and the, mis,sionaries more than ever
         in the political limelight and made them agents of foreign imperialism in
         the eyes of the Chinese people and their government.
         In fact the temptation for the missionaries"to use that protectorate for the
         selfish interest of some Christians and lay-preachers was a great one. Some
         missionaries have succumbed to this temptation"2o.
     The most important and the worst incident is the one of Tientsin in 1916
which was to be known under the name "Sikai incidents' 1 throughout
China and all over the world. Dr. Schutte says:
                                    ,                                                  ,

         "Under the pretext of protecting the mission the French imperialists
         occupied Chinese territory. The imperialists within the missions likewise
         misused their spiritual ' power and were in favour of this aggressive
         action' '21.
     The' misunderstanding between governm~nt and mission schools is
another reason. Father Wieger's theory was told again and again:
      "We can not blame the missionaries. The reason for China still being
non-Christian is not the missionaries but the Chinese themselves, most of
all the professors who certainly will not become Christian. "22
     This prejudice made missionary education inferior to State education.
The Anti ~Christian magazines and newspapers published an article against
missionary education which made clear:           .                            '
      "Missionary education will not do for Chinese culture. They only want
to teach religious subjects and not freedom of thought" 2 3.           '

19;, Dr. Johannes Scuhtte, Die Katholische Chinainission im Spiegel der Rotch,inesischen
     Presse. 1957 Munster/w.
20. Ibid;
21. Ibid.
22. Free Pacific Magazines, Nu. 85. Nov. 1963, Vietnam.
23. Arguments against Religion wie Nu. 11.,

                                          66
       It is seJi evident the Chinese Anti-Christian students who are fighting the
  old traditional Chinese culture do not give the same rightto the missionaries . .
.      There was however another important reason whi~h helped the students:
  The Corruption of the Church in China. The missionaries in China from 1842
  up to 1901 were all in alliance with imperialism. The SikaiIncidents made this
  very clear.
       There was still no Chinese bishop in China. The general conservatism of
  the Roman Catholic missionaries could easily be seen. EvenPopeBenedictXV
  in his great Encyclical Maximum Illud .of 1919 spoke in regard of the .
  Chinese priests only "to assist the foreign missionaries in humble offices".
       There was only orie lone voice, that of Father Vincent Lebbe, a Belgian
  Lazarist, who soon after his arrival in China in 1902 felt that something
  was wrong in China. He would not agree that missionaries should be
 .by a foreign power. If there was any need for protection then the Chinese
  from whom the missionaries should be protected could never be won for
  Christ. In his opinion there was only one thing to be done, the total self-
  idendification of oneseJiin love with those whom one desires to win. Father
  Lebbe was him-self naturalized as a Chinese citizen later. He even tried to
  win the Chinese in Europe but did not get enou.gh assistance from the
  churches. But since nobody helped it was no wonder that the students turned
  to antheism in Europe instead of becoming missionaries in their own country
  after going back.        .
       As the Jesuits missed their chance in China because · of the' 'invidia
  clericalis" so too did Pater Lebbe in the 20th centurry because of the short-
  slghtness of his brothers and the church hierarchy.
       The ones who had to suffer were not the Jesuits nor the Lazarist but the
  Chinese Christians and the GospeL

                                             V
     The opportunites had been lost, the Anti-Christian Movement was born
and went on. The consequences were to be seen later on. While the Christians. •
in Europe were not able to help the Chinese students studying there and the
missionaries had lost their chance by u&ing political influence and power, the
Communists worked for their cause. They opened the door wide and many
came into their house .
   . Thisis one of the reasons China later on became communist so fast. Chou
En Lai and Chu Teh had studied in Paris and Berlin respectively. Most of the
Communistleaders of mainland China had been trained in foreign countries.
     During the Anti~Christian movement the church was not asleep. The
Protestant side founded the "Church of Christ in China". In 1927 already
one third of all the Protestant Christians were united in this church . .
     The Catholic side had a synod in 1924 in Shanghai that was named' 'Pri-
mum Concilium Sinense' ~. But it was too late for an inscription like this: .
        . "Perhos annos majoris adhuc momentis at ponderis sunt schoolas
          catholicae: natio enim sinensis de integro retlovatur; novus ordo
         in scholis praeparatul'; rerum commutation fiat contra nos, si a
          scholis absumus; nulla enim absentium habetur ratio. Omni igitur
          ope atque enimatur ut salutis christianse semina in hoc novae fer-
                                        67
            mentovitae deponamus". 24 (Liber I,V Titulus VII Caput I "de col-
             legis et scholis in genere' '. cn. 149)                            .
        In 1949 the Communists were in power all over China. Today we hardly
. find freedom of religion. The concept that the Communists took from the mar-
   ching students of the Fourth May Movement is only one-sided. Without pro~
  tection of the state, the church can be persected by fanatical young people.
  Freedom of faith is given, but Anti-religion is propagated. Publicity for reli-
   gion is not allowed. Only campaigns against the church.
        Together with the failure of the Chinese Nationalist Party, freedom of
  faith was lost to an extent that Christianity was not only to be called an ene-
  my of the Chinese people but also an unwanted agent of Western imperialism
   and capitalism, it was unwanted in the new China and the other communist
   countries. .
        The church and the politicians that could not remian in mainland China
   fled to Taiwan. The church lost her many privileges that she had before the
   government. The government and the church had the experience that if poli-
  tical and religious subjects are too much mixed up, the confidence of. the
   people is lost.
        In this painful experience the confused students, professors and officals
   realized their errors. The students movement had grown too fast and the pre-
   paration had not been sufficent. To denounce the old cultu.re was a relatively
   simple thing. But to create a new culture is much more difficult. Now there is
   a change of mind. An article in the "Free China Review" goes back to "Con-
   fuci us and the new education' , . There one can read:
              "Confucius is a great philosopher and teacher. During 2500 years he
             had been highly honoured especially because of his way education.
             The wind of change is blowing through Chinese education more than
            in the years after the foundation of the Republic. The birthday of
             Confucius is honoured by all school, banks and shops as a public
             holiday" 26.
        Confucius is restored in the school-books. Besides the restoration of
  'Confucianism there was a revival of many other religions. Many Buddhists,
   Taoist, Catholic fathers and muns Protestants and Muslims had fled to Taiwan
  form the mainland China. All bu.t a few had found their faith again and
   began to realize that the centre of Europe was Christ and Christianity after
   all, that science had its foundation in Christianity, and the anti-Christian
   movement was the distortion of modernism and rationalism.
        The Christians have been awakened, especially the leaders of the churches
  the bishops priest and teachers, Catholic as well as Protestant ones. Those
   who have come back from abroad can see now more clearly what the church
  in China really needs.
        In the time ofthe Rites Controversy the Chinese christians had ~~~ted
   Christ and the missionaries had given them science and showed the glory
   and the power of the church instead. That had been to early.
        Mtei' the Opium Wars the Chinese had wanted science and equality with
   the foreigners, and the missionaries had forced upon them Western culture.

 24.Primum Concilium SinenSe, 1961, Taiwan.
 25. Free China Review Sept. 1963.

                                          68
. Now the Chinese in Taiwan look for religion and science but a religion that
  can save people and a science that helps the poor people towards a better
 life. They have realized that ConfuCianism strictly speaking is no religion.
  Therefore they wanted to study the Christian teachings. .
      In the first place the Chinese and all the nations of the world need Christ
 and through Him the world can come to salvation, not through Western
 culture that has some times nothing in common with Christ.
      The ways to re-build the Christian faith in China to show the Chinese
 the way to Christ, the ways that leads to Christ in spite of misunderstandings
 and scandals are the following:
      1. Religious philosophy seems one wayfor China, for the traditional
          philosophy is valued high, the ethical as well as the ontological.
          Intellect is necessary to prepare for the teachings of the Gospel-the
        . good news.                                                      .
      2. Removal of misunderstandings of imperialistic Catholicism and Pro-
          testantism. The priest should (perhaps?) preach the Gospel and not
          Western culture, if culture is necessary too, the layman should take
          over-should do this.
      3. The ecumenical movement is a sign of love and tr:ue religion, at least
          for critical observers of Christianity.

Conclusion:
     One can not simply say because the missionaries are no longer liked in
China, Jesu.s Christ is not liked in China. The word of Christ, "whoever
receives you recieves me" does not automatically mean the identification of
missionaries and Jesus Christ himself. If there are missionaries who do not
show the love of Christ, but darken the light by mixing politics and religion
then it iselear the "you." and "me" are not those Jesus spoke of.
     Only if the bringer of the Gospel does identify himself with the word he
is preaching may he expect listeners. If he does not do this he is riot represen-
ting Jesus Christ but something else: his culture or whatever.
    The Magna Charta of the church and also the most important instructions ·
for missionaIies can be found in Matthew 5 :13-14.




                                       69

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Stats:
views:26
posted:3/30/2011
language:English
pages:13