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God Is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China
     

God Is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China

4.0 5
by Liao Yiwu
 

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When journalist Liao Yiwu first stumbled upon a vibrant Christian community in the officially secular China, he knew little about Christianity. In fact, he’d been taught that religion was evil, and that those who believed in it were deluded, cultists, or imperialist spies. But as a writer whose work has been banned in China and has even landed him in jail,

Overview

When journalist Liao Yiwu first stumbled upon a vibrant Christian community in the officially secular China, he knew little about Christianity. In fact, he’d been taught that religion was evil, and that those who believed in it were deluded, cultists, or imperialist spies. But as a writer whose work has been banned in China and has even landed him in jail, Liao felt a kinship with Chinese Christians in their unwavering commitment to the freedom of expression and to finding meaning in a tumultuous society.

Unwilling to let his nation lose memory of its past or deny its present, Liao set out to document the untold stories of brave believers whose totalitarian government could not break their faith in God, including:

  • The over-100-year-old nun who persevered in spite of beatings, famine, and decades of physical labor, and still fights for the rightful return of church land seized by the government
  • The surgeon who gave up a lucrative Communist hospital administrator position to treat villagers for free in the remote, mountainous regions of southwestern China
  • The Protestant minister, now memorialized in London’s Westminster Abbey, who was executed during the Cultural Revolution as “an incorrigible counterrevolutionary”

This ultimately triumphant tale of a vibrant church thriving against all odds serves as both a powerful conversation about politics and spirituality and a moving tribute to China’s valiant shepherds of faith, who prove that a totalitarian government cannot control what is in people’s hearts.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Liao (The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories) is a Chinese dissident and journalist whose essays and interviews (presented as dialogues) examine pockets of Christianity within 20th-century China and how they have grown. The spread of missionaries gave the church an effective voice across the land until the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong. Mostly anecdotal tales provide glimpses of worship in settings from the smallest villages to the house churches of modern Beijing. Most interesting is the growth of the state-sanctioned Three Self Patriot Churches (self-governance, self propagation and self-support). The author profiles a diverse group, from a parish priest and a doctor to several lay evangelists. In a land as vast as China, with its multitude of languages and ethnic minorities, the Communists were able to dominate a well-established Christian church during the Cultural Revolution. Once Mao died, the church started to slowly regain momentum. This book will appeal to those interested in the Chinese church since 1900. (Sept.)
John Wilson
“God Is Red is the most wonderfully surprising report on the church in China I’ve seen, and Liao Yiwu is the best literary guide since Vergil.”
Christian Science Monitor
"A leading Chinese writer [provides] an insider’s look at the surging interest in Christianity within the world’s most populous nation . . . a journalistic chronicle of how Christians survived the repressive Mao era as well as a glimpse into why their numbers are rising."
Christianity Today
"If you want to read one book that sums up the glory of the Christian witness under persecution and the tragic 20th-century story of China’s Christians, read God Is Red. Brilliant and immensely moving, it will, if anything can, inject new backbone into your own Christian life."
Wall Street Journal
"Beginning with a 100-year-old nun and ending with a recovering slacker, . . . the voices of individual believers are lively and immediate. . . . Though Liao’s subjects claim to have no interest in politics, the question of political change in China is the subtext ."
RedState
"It is a story of faith and determination in the midst of poverty and persecution. … A book like this will open your eyes to the amazing freedom and blessings we enjoy in this country. It should bring into focus what really matters."
Los Angeles Review of Books
"There are incredible tales of perseverance during times of intense persecution. . . . In these interviews, a picture of the resilience and elasticity of Christianity in China emerges, and it becomes clear that Christianity remains a powerful force for the poor in China."
Christian Century
"God Is Red offers a deeply impressive series of vignettes of the Christian experience [in China], including unforgettable stories of individuals’ courage in the face of excruciating suffering. The book is at once heartbreaking and profoundly stirring."
Liu Xiaobo
"Liao’s coverage of Christians allows truth to shine in the darkness. That’s the beauty of his writings."
Lian Xi
"A subtle and sober account by one of the foremost banned writers of contemporary China. An irresistible read, pulsating with humanity."
Philip Jenkins
"It is very difficult to read Liao Yiwu’s work without being constantly reminded of Christian struggles in the ancient Roman Empire. . . . Who can tell how the story will play out this time round?"
David Aikman
"This is a mesmerizing and amazing tale of courage. Author Liao Yiwu’s story, covering even the recent past, is especially powerful because he is not himself a Christian. The reporting is brilliant and the perspective dazzling."
Daniel Bays
"The author, himself an object of intermittent government harassment, is a deft interviewer. Not a believer himself, Liao empathizes with the Christians he encounters. These portraits of faithful Christians are beautifully drawn, neither triumphalist nor maudlin. Suffering, but also resilience and hope, are the common lot of these believers."
Perry Link
"No writer does better than Liao Yiwu in revealing the texture of daily life for ordinary people in China. His characters walk off the page and into your heart. . . . Humanity oozes from every vignette, and every detail rings true."
Kirkus Reviews

A fascinating collection of interviews exploring the resurgence of Christianity in China.

No stranger to censorship, award-winning Chinese author, journalist and poet Liao (The Corpse Walker, 2008) has spent time in prison for writing critically of China's Communist regime. Here the author examines Christianity, which survived under China's Cultural Revolution despite attempts to eradicate it as a "lackey of the imperialists." While atheism remains the cultural norm in China today, estimates report that Christianity now stands as China's largest formal religion, surpassing both Buddhism and Taoism in numbers. In an attempt to understand why a foreign religion gained such popularity, Liao interviews a wide range of Chinese Christians, from an elderly nun who witnessed both the closing and eventual reopening of her church by the Communist regime, to a missionary doctor treating impoverished villagers in lieu of working in a government-run hospital, to a dying tailor who finds meaning in his recent conversion to the faith. Many of the interviewees recall hardships such as being socially ostracized, beaten, paraded in dunce caps or even arrested and tortured—and this in addition to suffering from the mass famine that claimed millions of lives between 1959 and 1962. A non-Christian himself, Liao transcribes his interviews with little additional commentary, allowing the heartbreaking tales of persecution and spiritual fervor to speak for themselves.

Will appeal to both Christian and secular readers interested in the cultural realities of China's Great Leap Forward.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062078469
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/13/2011
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Liao Yiwu is a critic of the Chinese regime, for which he has been imprisoned and his works have been banned. He is the author of The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories, China from the Bottom Up and a forthcoming memoir. In 2011, Liao dramatically escaped from China and now splits his time between the United States and Germany.

Wenguang Huang is a writer, journalist, and translator whose articles and translations have appeared in The Wall Street Journal Asia, Chicago Tribune, and The Paris Review. He is also the author of The Little Red Guard: A Family Memoir.

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God Is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liao Yiwu's trademark interviews with outcasts and misfits--Christians in this book--tell more about China's totalitarian regime than any dozen newspaper/magazine/web articles about rising China.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So you hate coffee... Post reviews why.