For the first time in nearly 40 years, Christians outside of China are being openly encouraged to send funds, material, and personnel to contribute to the modernization and social welfare of China.

China’s newly formed Amity Foundation is preparing to receive and distribute money and personnel from churches and church-related organizations overseas. The new openness surfaced in December when Bishop Ding Guangxun, president of the China Christian Council, welcomed gifts and personnel from Christians outside China. He stipulated, however, that overseas gifts could not impinge on Chinese national sovereignty, noting that they should not be seen as a “return to the past missionary era.”

Following Ding’s statement, the China Christian Council formed the Amity Foundation to promote health, education, and social service projects in China. Although some money for the foundation is expected to come from Chinese Christians, one of the foundation’s primary responsibilities is to receive funds and personnel from abroad.

In March, it was announced that the Amity Foundation and the United Bible Societies had reached an understanding that could lead to the establishment of a modern printing facility in China under the foundation’s ownership and control. The plant would give priority to the printing of Bibles, New Testaments, and Christian literature. However, it also would be used for printing other materials to be determined by the foundation. Funds for the multimillion dollar project would be arranged by the United Bible Societies in consultation with the foundation.

The Amity Foundation also has arranged to receive 10 to 20 teachers sponsored by church-related institutions in Germany and North America. Three North American teachers will ...

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