There’s a noticeable rise in the number of Chinese nationals converting to Christianity in Africa and it is being attributed to African evangelical churches, reports Asia News.
Christopher Rhodes, a lecturer at Boston University’s College of General Studies, wrote an article published in the UnHerd website: “Many local African churches have reached out to Chinese workers, including incorporating Mandarin into services. A number of Chinese, in turn, have welcomed the sense of community and belonging that these Christian churches offer.”
According to Premier, China has become ‘Africa’s largest economic partner’ in the last nine years. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company published a report in 2017, ‘How are Africa and China engaging, and how will the partnership evolve?’, which said that there are roughly 10,000 Chinese-owned firms operating in Africa.
Meantime, the China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University estimates that there are more than 227,000 Chinese citizens living and working and Africa, but there are reports that the population may be close to a million.
In addition to African evangelical churches, there are also Chinese missionaries from Taiwan and other countries who preach to Chinese nationals living in Africa. The religious freedom allowed in Africa, but is suppressed in China, attracts the Chinese to embrace Christianity.
Rhodes revealed that, “Many of these Chinese workers are returning home, and they’re bringing their new found religion with them. Visitors to the coastal province of Fujian, for example, now hear South African accented English and see houses adorned with crosses.”
“African migrants are also moving to China in larger numbers, many of them practitioners of very evangelistic forms of Pentecostal Christianity who are willing to flout the rules placed on religious activity in China.”