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

( 5 )

Overview

“Liao's coverage of Christians allows truth to shine in the darkness. That's the beauty of his writings.” —Liu Xiaobo, winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize

Chinese dissident author Liao Yiwu—the once lauded, later imprisoned, and now celebrated author of The Corpse Walker—profiles the extraordinary lives of dozens of Chinese Christians, providing a rare glimpse into the burgeoning underground world of belief that is taking hold within the officially atheistic state of Communist China. A luminous writer, and not a...

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

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Overview

“Liao's coverage of Christians allows truth to shine in the darkness. That's the beauty of his writings.” —Liu Xiaobo, winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize

Chinese dissident author Liao Yiwu—the once lauded, later imprisoned, and now celebrated author of The Corpse Walker—profiles the extraordinary lives of dozens of Chinese Christians, providing a rare glimpse into the burgeoning underground world of belief that is taking hold within the officially atheistic state of Communist China. A luminous writer, and not a Christian himself, Yiwu offers a uniquely objective and insightful perspective on the position Christians occupy in mainland China, in a book that readers of Philip Jenkins’ The Lost History of Christianity as well as Peter Hessler’s Country Driving will not want to miss.

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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."
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."
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.

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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
Liu Xiaobo
“Liao’s coverage of Christians allows truth to shine in the darkness. That’s the beauty of his writings.”
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 .”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062078469
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/13/2011
  • 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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2013

    Stunning

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2012

    Awesome contest!!!!!

    So you hate coffee...
    Post reviews why.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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