Touching China

Touching China, by Leona Choy. Golden Morning Publishing.

The book begins with a chapter defining the audience to whom Mrs. Choy was writing. She goes on to describe China: its history, its people, its cultural trends. Mrs. Choy does this with a healthy mix of objective praise for the good aspects of China and loving criticism of the ways in which China falls short of Biblical standards.

One very helpful section in the book is a chapter on Chinese xenophobia. The author’s discussion of the exploitation and, therefore, humiliation that China received at the hands of Westerners shows the very valid reasons behind China’s suspicion of Western Christianity. Understanding this aspect of China’s culture will help Westerners treat Chinese people with love and compassion rather than confusion and condescension.

The five chapters on the different generations of China’s multitudes, though somewhat outdated, are still invaluable in helping the reader to understand each Chinese age group in the context of history and politics. When one looks, for instance, at the great tragedy of the Cultural Revolution, one begins to see how it shaped those who grew up during its most violent years, and also how different the perspectives of the younger generations must be, having never experienced it.

Mrs. Choy also does the reader a great service in explaining the effects Communism, and now capitalism, have had on the Chinese worldview. She stresses the lostness of many of today’s Chinese, who have tasted the pleasures capitalism can bring and have yet found them empty, and thus the readiness of many to find true meaning in life. This meaning was found by many Chinese in the beliefs of Christianity. The author traces the development of the Chinese church from early missionary efforts in the 19th century to the vibrant, indigenous house churches that now make up the vast majority of China’s believers.

The book concludes with a few chapters giving suggestions on how most effectively to reach the people of China, whether that involves actually going to China as a student, tourist, or professional, praying for China, or befriending Chinese who are in another country visiting or studying. She stresses the necessity of a humble attitude, of disentangling our Christianity from our Western political ideals, and of maintaining integrity in our motives as we share Christ with China’s people.

Touching China should certainly be read by anyone who wants to have a Christian impact on China. The principles it contains are applicable to any cross-cultural missions situation, but the wealth of information on China’s people in particular makes it a very valuable resource for anyone interested in China in particular.

(The end of the book contains an overview of the Chinese language, a political “Who’s Who” of China’s history, a glossary, and several pages of ‘sources and resources’ for those wishing for more information on service opportunities or just on China in general.)

This fine book is also available from Ambassadors for Christ 1-800-624-3504