Civilizing Missions: International Religious Agencies in by M. Hirono

By M. Hirono

Because the early Nineties, China has witnessed an inflow of foreign NGOs, a lot of that have Christianity as their origin. The presence of foreign Christian companies in China, although, isn't really new. Christian missionaries went to China within the age of imperialism. Historians argue the paintings of missionaries was once inextricably associated with the assumption of a ‘civilizing mission’. This ebook significantly assesses the assumption of a Christian ‘civilizing venture’ over the years, and explores the relevance of the belief to the modern context. via analyzing the non-Han people’s belief of foreign Christian organizations, this publication advocates the significance of engagement via in-depth discussion among overseas Christian NGOs and ethnic groups.

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Since the Han period, Chinese culture (jiaohua) has been waning day by day; and all European countries have reached the stage that they are all in command of the heights of culture, customs, and manners. They see China as barbarians, just as the three dynasties of Xia, Shang and Zhou at their peak saw yidi. There are no Chinese gentry who know the significance of this. How terrible! ” Instead of the term wenming, he “Civilizing Missions” and Ethnic Communities 25 uses jiaohua (transformed by education) to explain civilization.

Or in some cases, a peripheral people that has no ethnic consciousness may develop one in response to the pressures of the civilizing project. The new consciousness frame resonates in the work of Richard White (1991). In his analysis of the relationship between whites and “American Indians” in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, White proposed the notion of the middle ground as a way of moving beyond the simple dichotomy of “cultural persistence” versus “conquest and assimilation” (ix). A similar dichotomy exists in my analytical frame—that of conflict and adaptation.

As will be explained later in this book, much has depended on the way in which international Christian Introduction 15 agencies have selectively engaged with members of particular local communities while downplaying other local community members within the same village. As the chapters reveal, among the three contemporary NGOs it was, perhaps paradoxically, Oxfam Hong Kong, a secular NGO, that made more of an effort to engage with members of religiously oriented ethnic communities, even though such engagement was inconsistent with their secular values and beliefs.

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