But the return of Christianity was not welcomed by most Chinese at that time, as it came accompanying aggressive wars waged by Western powers, which once triggered heated conflicts between Christian churches and locals. Religion, with its goal of spreading love and blessings, unfortunately became the tool of certain colonists. For this reason, Christianity left a bad impression on the Chinese people. This situation persisted until 1949, when China had only around 700,000 Christians.
After the founding of the People's Republic of China, Chinese Christians initiated a movement of "self-administration, self-support and self-propagation," hoping to change the position of Christianity in China. In 1954, the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches of China was set up, with an aim to ridding Chinese churches of interference from foreign religious organizations.
Adding value to life
Most Chinese Christians say they believe Christianity has enhanced their love for China. "When I read the Bible, I found that patriotism runs through the entire book, and there are many sacred images with the spirit of self-sacrifice in the Bible, " said Christian Hu Xiaoxiao, a junior student in a Beijing-based university.
Hu said that the teachings of the Bible always guide her deeds. "Christianity preaches that we should treat others with love as we treat ourselves," she explained.
However, two years ago, the Bible was just one of a range of reference books for learning English to Hu. But as she reads the Bible, she has been deeply impressed by the courage, belief and love of Jesus and has come to admire him more and more.
Now, she believes that the gospel of Jesus directs her how to live her life. In her eyes, the Bible is a key to comprehend everything in the universe.
Many Chinese are engaged in the translation of the Bible. Feng Xiang, a non-Christian Chinese writer who lives in the United States, sat down to translate the Bible from English to Chinese some six years ago.
He said that the language of the original version is simple, saintly, forceful and impassioned, but in some Chinese translated versions the literary beauty of the original is missing. This spurred Feng on to help spread the message of the world's most popular book.
The Bible is not only a source of inspiration to Christians. Even to those Chinese who are not Christians, the Bible, like ancient Greek fables, has opened a window to view the history and religious culture of the West. The wisdom, myths and philosophical tales that wind their way through the holy book is today influencing a growing number of Chinese from all walks of life.