Ramsey Hootman's Reviews > God Is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist China

God Is Red by Liao Yiwu
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Jul 09, 2011

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Read from October 09 to 24, 2013

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 counterpoint to the commonly held assumption that Christianity in China has been a largely negative imposition from foreigners - what this book reveals is that such beliefs are essentially manufactured propaganda put out by the CCP. What emerges here is a vibrant, self-sustaining Christianity embraced by surprisingly large portions of the Chinese population, most often by minority groups.

My only criticism of the book, I think, is that the stories come only from about three areas of China, so after a while the various interviews tended to blend together and seem very similar. I would have appreciated a broader view, but I understand that the author's resources were limited and conducting any of these interviews was done at the risk of his own personal safety.

Overall, I think this is an important record of how everyday people in China have experienced Christianity - a distinctly different view than what is commonly believed.
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