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God Is Red

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  230 ratings  ·  55 reviews
When journalist Liao Yiwu first stumbled upon a vibrant Christian community in the officially secular China, he knew little about Christianity. In fact, he'd been taught that religion was evil, and that those who believed in it were deluded, cultists, or imperialist spies. But as a writer whose work has been banned in China and has even landed him in jail, Liao felt a kins ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 2011)
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Ramsey Hootman
This is a strange little book. The audience would logically be Christians, since the book is about Christians and Christianity in China, but it's written by a non-believing Chinese dissident. So the tone and perspective is not at all "churchy." It's essentially just a number of interviews with various Christians in China, from house churches as well as the three-self church. The majority of these folks have seen and suffered a great deal, and their stories are worth reading. It's a definite coun ...more
Julie
Books & Culture's Book of the Year

"Christianity has died many times and risen again; for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave."--G.K. Chesterton
Kevin
If you feel sorry for yourself, read this book. If you think American politics are bad, read this book. If you need some inspiration for your faith, read this book.

Liao Yiwu mostly lets the people he interviews speak for themselves (offering some rather poetic introductions and descriptions along the way) in this fascinating look at the people who gave everything they had to help grow the Christian church in China.

It focuses mostly on rural areas and the villages that embraced the Christian fait
...more
Dottie Parish
God is Red is a brilliant account about Christian missionaries and the Christian Church in China which survived in spite of indoctrination and persecution. In fact Christianity thrived in Communist China! There are now seventy million practicing Christians in China.

God is Red describes the author’s travels throughout villages in southwestern China and his interviews to document the stories of persecuted Christians or those who knew them. Liao, not a Christian, but a critic of the Chinese governm
...more
Paul
Liao's has compiled interviews with Chinese Christians from Catholic, Protestant, underground and Three Self churches. Many of his sources lived in Yunnan Province (as well as Chengdu and Beijing), not a few of them were elderly, some were clergy and others parishioners, and a number of them had been imprisoned for their faith (although the official charges against them were construed differently). The strength of the book is its first-hand accounts of the struggles, liveliness and faith of Chin ...more
Lee Harmon
Wow! Powerful stuff, here.

Liao is not a Christian, he’s a Chinese rebel. That is, he’s a critic of the Chinese regime, for which he has been imprisoned and his works have been banned. Says Liao, “I will continue to write and document the sufferings of people living at the bottom rung of society, even though the Communist Party is not pleased with my writing. I have the responsibility to help the world understand the true spirit of China, which will outlast the current totalitarian government.”

So
...more
Tim
It is not a comprehensive book relating the history of Chinese Christianity, instead it is a personal and journalistic book as Chinese dissident Liao Yiwu comes to meet and know various Christians, both in rural China (especially Yunnan Province) and around Beijing and Chengdu. Seeking out elders he hears the stories of Western missionaries and their positive influence and the enormous suffering individuals experienced through the years of Communism (and the repression even to today). Protestant ...more
Jen
This is a compelling read for Christians and non-Christians alike. I appreciated the author, a non-believer, kept an objective and respectful stance.

I was moved by the testimonies of the many faithful Christians who persevered through extreme persecution for the sake of the gospel. I was most moved by those who endured until the end; still fighting, still working, still faithfully serving. They are choice examples of Christians who ran and finished the race well. I can only hope to be as single
...more
Lee Bertsch
I bought the book expecting to read an analysis of how the church in China survived. What I got was a compilation of stories of 18 individuals, all but one a devout Christian, who lived through the Japanese occupation, the civil war, and the persecutions brought on my the communist regime. The author, who is not a Christian, but deeply respectful of them, personally interviewed all of the individuals or where that was impossible, those most closely associated with them. The stories are told simp ...more
Christy
Written by of the most subversive writers in China, Liao Yiwu, this book on Christians in contemporary China was a thought-provoking read most of the way through. What I liked most was that the author, an atheist, was able to keep his own system of beliefs out of the people’s stories. Truly. He did. And in doing so, he let these courageous and controversial people speak for themselves without interpretation. The stories of these persecuted Christians were shocking and awe-inspiring. I felt both ...more
Stephan Stücklin-wightman
Liao offers a collection of fascinating glimpses into the lives of Chinese Christians. Many of the testimonies are moving in their simplicity and inspiring in the model of forgiveness they offer. Those interviewed have lived their faith in so concrete terms and against such cruel opposition that theological quibbles fade to insignificance. The only interviewee who strikes a dissonant chord is the young guy who's a Christian because it's cool.

The book's also a reminder that despite free-trade ag
...more
Joy
The idea that the Christian church is growing significantly in Communist China is a somewhat unbelievable claim. How can it be possible, with such strict regulations against religion, gathering together, and preaching. In spite of obstacles, the church is flourishing. Liao Yiwu's book, God is Red, is an account of the church in China, told through personal interviews. Liao talks to intellectuals, grandfathers, college students, doctors, and pastors to really encompass the Chinese church.

I reall
...more
Joanne
Jun 11, 2012 Joanne rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Joanne by: Tim
I liked these interviews with Chinese Christians, though really wish that Liao Yiwu had taken the time to pull them together in some coherent way, especially at the end, where the book just peters out. I was looking for some kind of summary chapter, I suppose.

We read this in a book group, and one of our questions was how much Liao might have missed, given his unfamiliarity with Christianity, about the differences among Christians that he was interviewing, or the diferences among their churches.
...more
Brenda
If only more people were as open and respectful of others and their beliefs as Liao Yiwu. After spending time in a Chinese prison for his beliefs, Liao wants to learn more about Chinese Christians and their willingness to be imprisoned for their beliefs. In this book he relates what he has learned through talking to many different Chinese Christians. He asks good questions and records their stories, stories that must have been difficult to relate and live through. Christians in China suffered gr ...more
Linda
A great overview of the history (and present state) of Christianity in China, told through the stories of individuals believers collected by Lioa Yiwo. Liao is a journalist in China who has been in and out of jail for his writings critical of the government. When he became aware of the the struggles and lives and stories of believers in his country, he saw parallels in their perseverance with his own fight for freedom to write and travel and was moved by the power of their faith. He was moved to ...more
Sean Mccarrey
Liao Yiwu's story of Chinese Christians touches upon several facets of the development of China that are crucial, in my opinion, to understanding its movement. Like Corpse Walker, his earlier book, he interviews people about their experiences, largely with the Communist government. In this case however, he interviews Christians, who have had a unique history in modern China. The way Liao Yiwu is able to depict everyday life, but also represent the undercurrent of change, from Communism to a more ...more
Frank Peters
I really enjoyed this book. It was written by a non-believing Chinese dissident writer who wanted to learn about Christianity in China. The book is structured around a series of stories based on interviews with various Catholic and Protestant Chinese Christians. As a result it is very light reading in terms of style, as each chapter can be easily read in a single sitting. On the other hand much of the content is anything but light reading. The book discusses persecution, famine, and other grizzl ...more
Sarah
This book is so very easy to read and very inspiring! God is good, and He is at work among his saints despite persecution and time. This book inspires a love for His church and also for the Chinese people as you consider all that has happened over the past century. I only wish that there were another list at the back of the book in commemoration for the Chinese saints interviewed and also mentioned in the book besides those who were the foreign missionaries on Chinese soil. (I would have used it ...more
Darlene Germain
Liao Yiwu is one of the foremost banned writers of China. Perry Link, professor emeritus, East Asian Studies at Princeton University said it best: "No writer does better than Liao Yiwu in revealing the texture of daily life for ordinary people in China. His characters walk off the page and into your heart. God is Red is about Christians, but their stories reveal much broader issues of how ordinary people in China need to cope with authoritarian rule and its tools of repression, violence, and men ...more
Joe Taylor
What to say, what to say? I will say simply this, what a profound look at the oppression and suffering of the church in China under Communism and the socialist philosophy. Every American Christian should read this book and see not only the blessings that come with our freedom of worship but also the dangers that come with allowing the power of the state to control and regulate worship. We should note as well the extent of what our brothers and sisters in Christ outside of the Western world suffe ...more
Andrew Mcneill
Yiwu's book is an intriguing look at Christianity in China through the pre-Communist days until the present. He takes up each chapter with a consideration of some current figure who is interviewed by Yiwu. The stories cover a broad swathe of Christianity and the stories are startling at times. The intense suffering of Christians in the past is a testament to the courage and faithfulness of the Chinese church down through the years. I felt though, that the book could have been linked together bet ...more
Christina
A collection of essays by a Chinese dissident who is not a believer, yet was curious about how faith in God survived and thrived through WWI, the Cultural Revolution, and Communism. I found these essays fascinating and full of interesting personal stories. I learned a lot about the cultural revolution, Mao, and the rise of the Three Self movement. These essays cover Catholism, Protestants, state and house churches plus moving testimonies of commitment and survival. I imagine there is so much mor ...more
Mark
for me this book peaked in the middle then steadily went downhill, like it was rushed or the author really just ran out of stories but had to add more to make it so many words or something. Not that I don't like the author's writing, I do. A lot in fact. I love the down to earth stories told by everyday people. I found the history fascinating, I mean who would have thought there was a history of Christian churches in China? In the end the author is again on the run from the law for speaking the ...more
Brenton
Every Christian should read at least a couple books on Christianity in China for a couple reasons. First, there's a striking parallel between Christianity in China and the early church in the Roman Empire. Second, it will help us appreciate our hubristic Anglo-American interpretation of our faith. This is not the best book on the subject, but it does offer several intriguing interviews from a diversity of Chinese Christians. The author is an intrigued unbeliever, and for that reason he's not alw ...more
Titus Hjelm
If I was I cynical person, I'd say this book is perfectly pitched especially for the American Evangelical audience for whom the story of Christians fighting the Godless Commies is one the last martyr narratives available in the modern world. But because I'm not, I'll just say that it's a sensational and sentimental bricolage of interviews. The atrocities of the authorities are well known, no denying that, but there is zero attempt at contextualising the stories, which makes this 'inspirational' ...more
Sarah
This was a very interesting read, with both weighty and humorous passages. Each chapter contains a bit of history and also an interview with a professing Chinese Christian. Liao also gives a brief history of some of the horrors of communist China as he tells the people's tales. My eyes were opened to the massive hardships Chinese missionaries and Chinese Christians faced under the Cultural Revolution. Highly recommended.
Jennifer
This is stunning. A series of interviews with Chinese Christians by a nonbeliever written with respect and awe. Religious persecution is alive and well.

Most books have a certain momentum, such that I read through to finish the story. This one, like some other really good ones, I might not have finished--not because I didn't love it, but because reading any amount was thought provoking and each section was satisfying.
Jan
I was fastinated by this book. It's a series of interviews with various Chinese citizens ( most of them Christians). Christians of Catholic, Evangelical, and Episcopal denominations are interviewed. Some are members of the illegal house churches, and some are members of the state run church. There are some amazing stories of heroism. I've always been interested in the underground church in China.
Tammy Webb-witholt
I had to read this book for a class so I bought it for my husband as a Father's Day present. Each chapter is a separate story that explains stories from history of christians who survived the various revolutions. Such a beautiful and inspiring book written by a, not-yet-redeemed journalist. Opened my understanding about the Cultural Revolution. Incredible what these Christians lived through.
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Liao Yiwu is a writer, musician, and poet from Sichuan, China. He is a critic of the Chinese regime, for which he has been imprisoned, and the majority of his writings are banned in China. Liao is the author of The Corpse Walker and God Is Red. He has received numerous awards for his work, including the prestigious 2012 Peace Prize awarded by the German Book Trade and the Geschwister-Scholl-Preis ...more
More about Liao Yiwu...
The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories, China from the Bottom Up For a Song and a Hundred Songs: A Poet's Journey Through a Chinese Prison Die Kugel und das Opium: Leben und Tod am Platz des Himmlischen Friedens The Corpse Walker Real Life Stories: China From the Bottom Up For a Song and a Hundred Songs: A Poet's Journey Through a Chinese Prison: A Poet's Journey Through a Chinese Prison

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“In these remote corners, I have discovered a center point, where East met West, and although there has been a collision of cultures, there is now a new Christian identity that is distinctly Chinese.

The circuitous mountain path in Yunnan province is red because over many years it has been soaked with blood.”
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