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The Baptists in East Asia

I asked Paul Simon about the Falun Gong. He replied "They are everywhere in China; they have been suppressed but far from eliminated. In Chengdu, I heard reports of them sticking literature under apartment doors all over the city about 2 weeks ago".

Christianity is also a presence in China. Paul says: "Baptists join all faiths not part of the five official state-controlled religions. They are illegal, and followers may face imprisonment on a variety of charges. My experience is that enforcement varies widely from place to place. About 14 months ago, authorities outside Shanghai were bulldozing illegal churches, as reported in many press accounts. At the same time, I saw many unregistered houses of worship operating unmolested in other regions.

The official Chinese opinion is that all Protestant faiths are the same; those desiring to worship should join the "3 self" church. Taiwan is another tale, entirely. There are Baptists who worship freely. There is even an English-language Baptist congregation on the slopes of Yangmingshan, just outside Taipei.

20th century Korean history is an unusual field of study, outside of the war. Those who have "read in" are unsurprised to find that Baptists flourish in the ROK, which is pretty much a Christian nation these days. North Korea also only allows official, state run churches. I'm told that the official Protestant pastor in Pyongyang delivers encomiums for Kim Il Sung in most sermons. However, if American and South Korean evangelists are to be believed, they have converted thousands of North Koreans to the Baptist faith.

Ronald Hilton - 1/26/02