02/18/2019, 13.23
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African Evangelical Christians converting China

by Wang Zhicheng

Up to a million Chinese workers and 10,000 Chinese-owned companies are present in Africa. African Evangelical Churches and missionaries from Taiwan and other parts of the world are converting them to Christianity.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - African Christians, especially evangelicals, are converting Chinese workers in Africa, this according to Christopher Rhodes, a lecturer at Boston University's College of General Studies, in an article dated 13 February published in Unherd.

"Many local African churches have reached out to Chinese workers, including incorporating Mandarin into services,” Rhodes writes. “A number of Chinese, in turn, have welcomed the sense of community and belonging that these Christian churches offer".

There is also a small but growing number of Chinese missionaries from Taiwan and other Christian Churches in the world who are specifically targeting Chinese nationals, "preaching to them with a freedom they’d never be allowed in the People’s Republic”.

“Many of these Chinese workers are returning home, and they’re bringing their newfound 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.”

Over the past nine years (2018 data), China has become Africa's largest trading partner, with the volume of business growing by 14 per cent to US$ 170 billion.

According to consulting firm McKinsey & Company, there are around 10,000 Chinese-owned firms operating in Africa.

Data from the China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University show that more than 227,000 Chinese were working in Africa as of 2016, but others say the number is closer to a million.

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