Christianity in China

Timeline

Date Event

7th Century

First Nestorian mission to China

1289

Franciscan friars begin mission work in China

1294

Franciscan John of Monte Corvino goes to China

1368

Collapse of Franciscan mission as Ming dynasty abolishes foreign religions

1582

Jesuits begin mission in China, introducing western science, mathematics and astronomy. Followed by Dominicans and Franciscans

1601

Matteo Ricci enters China

1661

George Fox, founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers) sends 3 missionaries to China (although they never reach the field)

1721

Christianity forbidden because of Rites Controversy

1807

Arrival of first Protestant missionary, Robert Morrison, in China

1844

Growing number of Protestant Missionaries and arrival of Church Missionary Society (CMS)

1853

Arrival of James Hudson Taylor in China, founder of the China Inland Mission

1860

Following the Opium Wars, European powers force China to permit Christian mission work.

1874

Society for Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) starts work in North China.

1885

‘Cambridge Seven’ (CT Studd, M Beauchamp, WW Cassels, DE Hoste, SP Smith, AT Polhill-Turner, CH Polhill-Turner) go to China as missionaries

1900

189 missionaries and their children killed in Boxer Uprising

1860-1949

Century of intense missionary work. Significant contribution to China’s educational, medical and rural development. Cause of anti Christian movement.

1923

First Chinese Christian Conference of China where it was resolved to establish a united and indigenous Chinese church

1933

Gladys Aylward (subject of the movie The Inn of the Sixth Happiness) arrives in China

1949

Approximately 3 million Chinese Catholics and 1 million Protestants.

1950-1952

Accelerated withdrawal of all foreign religious personnel.

1950s

Increased suppression of religious activity.

1954

Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) established. Aims to unite Chinese Christians and throw off foreign influence to create a truly Chinese Church.

1957

Establishment of Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association along similar lines to TSPM

1957-8

Anti-Rightist Campaign – further suppression of religious activities.

1958

Consecration of first two Catholic Bishops without Vatican approval.
Beginning of split from Rome as prayer for the Pope is removed from the Catholic Church’s public prayers.

1966-76

Cultural Revolution: ‘anti-religious frenzy’. Destruction of religious buildings and further imprisonment of Christians.

1978

First reopening of churches in Beijing and Shanghai

1980

China Christian Council (CCC) founded.
First reprinting of the Bible by the Amity Printing Press in Nanjing.

1981

Requirement for Chinese Catholics to swear independence from Rome dropped.

1982

Government introduces new religious policies, allowing greater freedom, although still with close supervision.
Prayer for the Pope re-instated.

1985

Establishment of the Amity Foundation, a Christian initiated development agency.

1989

Government allows Catholics to restore their spiritual affiliation with the Pope.

1994

“Regulations Concerning Places of Religious Worship” passed. Becomes compulsory to register places of worship with the government.

2005

New “Religious Affairs Regulations” become effective. Replaces previous regulations.

   
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