China: A New Day by W. Stanley Mooneyham (Logos, 248 pp., $2.50 pb) is reviewed by J. D. Douglas, editor-at-large, CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

A British writer once pointed out about the Chinese that their ancestors were examining the stars while his were keeping pigs. Perhaps this is why the Chinese themselves traditionally regarded themselves as having two eyes, while dividing the rest of the world into the one-eyed and the totally blind.

In this book the president of World Vision International is rightly concerned that contemporary developments in China be regarded against the background of 5,000 years of history. The old patience is now coupled with opportunistic pragmatism. A false euphoria could be built up, for example, unless one remembers the current Chinese rehabilitation of an ancient slogan: “Make foreign things serve China.”

Mooneyham outlines the direction taken so far in the new relationship with America as the aging Vice-premier Teng accelerates as much as he can in pursuit of the prosperity dreamt of by his mentor Chou En-lai. All this in a land with almost five times the population of the United States but with only one-fifth the gross national product, and a per capita income of less than $400 a year.

Mooneyham is convinced that China cannot be understood without noting the “solidly entrenched sense of place [that] has given the Chinese a deep-seated personal identity”—of being each a member of the “Middle Kingdom,” and not of some vague region dismissed airily by us Westerners as “the Far East.” Not only did the Chinese develop a certain xenophobia: such an attitude was totally justified because of the frightful treatment suffered at the hands of the British and other Europeans (who then were the barbarians?). It ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.