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1989 - Behind The Freedom Revolution

By Jay Rogers
Published June 1, 1989

The drama unfolding in the People’s Republic of China before the watching world is not only setting the stage for a political revolution … it is signaling a spiritual awakening of massive proportions. Influenced by a fast-growing Christian revival, as well as by the Christian ideas of Western democracy, Chinese young people are now questioning Marxist ideology – and they are making it clear to their elders that they are willing to die for their beliefs.

Ever since the Cultural Revolution, youth under age 18 have not been allowed to attend an official church, read the Bible, or be baptized. The combination of a lack of spiritual values, discontent with the tenets and ideas of the Communist Party, and increasing openness to Western ideas, is now driving the youth and workers alike to the streets of Beijing to demonstrate for democracy.

A Beijing missionary who was imprisoned for 10 years in a labor camp for his beliefs said recent events in China are an encouraging sign of increasing openness to Christianity. The missionary, who could not disclose his name, helped start several underground “fellowships” on Beijing campuses. Although the pro-democracy movement is not yet inundated by Christians, he said the youth are “opening up their minds.” Chinese Christians are supportive of the new movement.

The last few months of protest has been considered one of the most extraordinary events to be witnessed in any Communist country, and “the biggest display of defiance in the 40-year history of Communist China,” according to the Washington Post. “This was a major breakthrough in modern Chinese history,” said Roderick Macfarquahar, director of Harvard’s Fairbank Center for East Asian Research. He said it was the first time since 1949 that a demonstration by society against the state was made successfully in the face of a powerful government.

The recent carnage in Beijing left an estimated 3000 people dead and 12,000 wounded, and plunged the nation into massive upheaval. According to latest reports a key army unit was fighting against another unit.

This type of determination and resolve is apparently at the root of the Chinese student uprising. A Beijing missionary said that the student movement is “definitely beneficial for Christians. Religious activity is under state control, but the police are too busy dealing with political demonstrations to exercise church control.” Since the Communists came to power in China, Christianity has grown exponentially. “There are 30 to 50 times more Christians,” said one Beijing source. “There are 30 to 50 million Christians, and we’re definitely seeing a revival among the underground churches.”

What will be the final outcome? It is most likely that within a few more years the repressive communist system in China will be quietly swallowed up by the growing Christian movement. A new generation of young Chinese leaders, motivated by new-found ideas of Christian liberty and individual freedom, will then begin to construct a new society built on Christian principles.


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