Second of Two Parts

Reports from visitors on politically arranged tours that everybody is happy in the New China simply do not square with the fact that “freedom swimmers” by the thousands readily risk their lives to exchange the glories of Mao’s utopia for the thirty-five square feet of resettlement space that Hong Kong provides for each refugee. Most flee in fear of reprisal for their own extreme deeds in local situations during the Cultural Revolution.

China has currently become a funding “sales point” for evangelical enterprises. But veteran China-watchers disagree sharply over the range and depth of evangelical effort, and they question the propriety of some promotional claims. Remarkable reports have been dispersed, including estimates that perhaps millions of evangelical believers survive in China, and that the underground Christian population may number as high as one in forty. Some Christian workers directly accuse others of exaggerating evangelical penetration and potential in Mao’s China, while those so accused insist that their critics distort the facts and know better.

The journalist George N. Patterson, former missionary to China, contends that reports of mass conversions and baptisms in China, and of the smuggling in of hundreds of thousands of Bibles from Hong Kong, are spurious. Patterson argues that most of these Bibles, promotionally funded as destined for Red China, are stored instead in church and school basements in Hong Kong and environs, and that reports of vast multitudes of secret believers are self-refuting.

The China Bible Fund, established in Kowloon by George and Ruth Fox Holmes, claims to have distributed 380,000 Scripture portions and Bibles in Chinese during the past nine years to churches and ...

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