Chapter 7 Going Global and Back Again

The Transformation of Chinese Christian Networks between Southeast Asia and China since the 1980s

In: Chinese Religions Going Global
Authors: Chris White and Jifeng Liu

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Abstract

Since the reform era, initiated in the late 1970s, Chinese in Southeast Asia have played an important role in Chinese Christianity. Their involvement progressed from providing funding for the (re)building of churches in the 1980s and 1990s to theological training for Chinese, both in China and in Southeast Asia, in more recent years. The transformation of the well-established networks linking overseas Chinese with church groups in China is not simply a religious phenomenon, these ties also produce and reflect transnational mobility and the exchange of theological knowledge. By reviewing the shifting strategies overseas Chinese have used to influence the church in China, this research hopes to frame Christianity as a Chinese religion with global implications that extend beyond religion.