So, i've been reading a few forums for teachers coming to China, and teachers who are currently here.

I have a question for all of them: What is the obsession with 'bringing Christianity' to China? It is against the law to preach at the citizens, yet a lot of people seem to think that they'll be ok because they'll be protected by some bloke in the sky.

I have no issue with what religion you are, but when you start trying to change the beliefs of students and those around you, then i have a problem! The Chinese are doing perfectly well being Taoist/Daoist/Buddhist. They have their own set of beliefs, some of it enshrined in the ancient religions of China (I know one student who told me that every room in her Grandmother's house has a shrine for a particular god) some of it comes from Confucianism.

Teaching religion is a risky thing to do here. If you are reported and found to be guilty then deportation is the best thing you can hope for. The other side of that coin is jail. Pure and simple.

At the last place, even after the government sent a directive to the college telling them that there had been reports or Christianity being preached, the other FTs STILL taught religion in their classes. I'm not talking the stories of Christmas and Easter, but whiteboards FULL of religious wording, teaching the students hymns etc.

For anyone coming to China to teach who thinks that they can do some kind of missionary work, don't bother. It is offensive to these people and their long-held beliefs. If you NEED to go to church every sunday, or cover your living quarters and classrooms in iconography or tell everyone you meet how a being in the sky saved you and is the greatest thing and they should talk to him then stay at home and do it there. 

If, however, you can tone down your fervour and enjoy your religion in the privacy of your own home and not feel the need to change everyone around you, then this is a good country to come to. Some people are more than happy to talk beliefs with you as long as you don't berate them for not believing the same as you. I have had some wonderful conversations with Chinese people about the similarities between paganism and buddhism. We all go away having learnt something. I've been fascinated by the fortune telling here and the beliefs in the 'room Gods' - literally, the Kitchen God, the Bedroom God and the Family God who watch over the rooms. You only get these good conversations if you're prepared not to judge, not to preach and to speak in a civil manner.

That leaves me the other question: Why is it that the 'Christians' I come across are always judgemental and anything but Christian? I got told by a very upset student last year that the other FTs had told her (before i got there, before they'd even met me) that i was a bad person because i wasn't Christian, and they were better people because they were. Luckily, this was a student that i taught the first year i was there. She was upset on my behalf, but we had a chat about ignorance and how if you make decisions without knowing the facts then you're likely to make bad decisions. She agreed that this is what they had done and she would ignore anything else they had to say about me, or would come up to me and ask. I don't know how much damage they did to any other students that i had either taught previously, or begun to teach that year. I just hope that they now realise that their unchristian-like behaviour might have earned them a reprimanding at the Pearly Gates.



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