HONG KONG (UCAN): It seems that baptism received during relatively short stays overseas does not travel well when returning across the borders back into China.
A study of Chinese students baptised while studying in English-speaking countries reveals that among the tens of thousands involved, the homecoming tragedy rate is quite high.
The Christian Daily website reported on February 2 that there are difficulties readjusting to the religious environment in China, which can differ radically from the environment in which they received baptism overseas.
Church personnel that have worked with Chinese students in the United States of America estimate that around 80 per cent gradually drift away from the Church after returning to China.
Wu Yutong said that she experienced some difficulties finding a Church community in Shanghai that was similar to the one she attended back in London, where she came to Christianity.
She kept on moving from Church to Church, because she found Christian teaching in China incongruent with the faith she had come to love and believe in in London.
Like Wu, many other Christian converts find something amiss in the Churches in China, partly because the state monitors religious groups closely and local believers have learned to act cautiously and defensively toward outsiders.
China Aid recently released a summary of religious persecution in China last year, claiming that 2016 ushered in major changes in the country’s religious environment after the president, Xi Jinping, ordered religions to comply with an ever-tightening government agenda.
To prepare for the implementation of the Revised Regulations on Religious Affairs, House Churches have been targeted, forcing them to register under the state-run Three-Self Patriotic Movement, one of the official Christian organisations run by the Communist Party to monitor the activities of religious groups.
The authorities have also enacted measures against unregistered Churches in order to push them into compliance.